The show began with the dramatic confession to students that it was not simply a magic show, it was a human experiment meant to make students re-evaluate their perceptions of reality and how they were being deceived. Students were given the option of leaving the show if they did not want to participate in the experiment. Of course, the audience was riveted, and no one left.
After about 45 minutes of intriguing and mind-boggling magic tricks, the magician then told students that the next portion of the show would be about perception and reality, specifically about his personal Christian beliefs and fight against leukemia. At this news, a large number of students left, many muttering that they thought they were attending a magic show, not an evangelical sermon.
It is quite understandable that many people left 8212; the true nature of the show was well concealed in many ways.
The first area of confusion was due to the misunderstanding about which student organization was sponsoring the event.
Predominantly advertised through Facebook, the event was hosted by the Facebook page for The CRU, which some people know stands for Campus Crusade for Christ. However, many students, especially freshman, mistook The CRU, for theCrew, the SGA events committee, and did not know the spelling differentiation.
Secondly, the advertisements simply described the show as something that would make one wonder, “How can I know what is really true?” There was nothing that would suggest that the show’s answer to this question was Jesus.
Before I saw the show, it took 10 minutes of Google searches for me to even ascertain that “Maze” supports Christianity.
Although this element of dishonesty made me uncomfortable about the event, the implications of what these tactics meant for Christianity are what I found most troubling.
First of all, I must state that I do align myself with the Christian church. I feel that is important to know, so as to present my natural bias.
Although I am a Christian, I do not feel like these tactics of tricking people into faith are at all effective or ethical. What does it say about faith and Christianity if gimmicks have to be used to gain the attention of the nonreligious? Is the religion really so weak that it cannot stand alone?
Moreover, for those who have an evangelic stance, why would one think that this would make nonbelievers want to find a faith? “Maze” was purposefully intimidating, and the best word I can use to describe it is, well, freaky. If anything, it most likely scared people and reaffirmed their negative stereotypes of Christians.
Although the entertainer’s story about his survival after being diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia was inspiring and all could find a common ground in his ideas, the rest of the message, that the only truth was Jesus Christ, must have been somewhat of a turnoff.
Had “Maze” been truthfully advertised, it would have most likely been a great event for some to attend. Sadly, however, its usage of trickery and gimmicks reflected poorly on Christianity and faith and left me feeling more deceived than I had beforehand.
Emily Atteberry is a freshman political science and journalism double major from Olathe, Kansas.