Second Life to acquire Jesuit Missionaries
WeeDram made a comment in a previous post about people who a “hide in a cyberworld” and it reminded me of a news story about Jesuits being encouraged to get SecondLife accounts and try to preach to the unconverted there. But the academic Jesuit journalist warned them in advance; there’s a lot of sex in SecondLife.
Spadaro warns the uninitiated that “the erotic dimension is very present” in Second Life, that people can buy genitalia for their avatars in a world that is “open to any form of erotic stimulation from prostitution to paedophilia”. While the virtual world might be a refuge for some people seeking to flee the real one, it is also full of people seeking something more from life, including, possibly, religious enlightenment, he said.
“Deep down, the digital world can be considered, in its way, mission territory,” he said. “Second Life is somewhere where the opportunity to meet people and to grow should not be missed, therefore, any initiative that can inspire the residents in a positive way should be considered opportune.”
- IT News: Jesuits say take word of God to Second Life
Wired magazine writer Lore Sjoberg ponders:
The problem with this is that virtual worlds are someplace where you can be someone else. In fact, you can be anyone else. It would be ridiculous to go a comic book convention and try to talk someone dressed as Doctor Octopus out of robbing banks. Presumably animal-rights activists aren’t trying to convince Glenn Close not to make clothing out of Dalmatians. Why would you wander into a virtual world and pick out likely targets for conversion based on their avatars?
- Wired: Preaching to the perverted in Second Life
The rest of the Wired article is definitely worth reading as Sjoberg explores many aspects of this bizarre development. He correctly hints that in standard Christian doctrine, sexual fantasy is just as bad as the sex act itself.
some sins seem to be sins even if you’re just pretending. Most of these have to do with sex.
Here’s Jesus himself talkin’:
Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery:
But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.
- Matthew 5:27-28
Maybe this explains why so many Christian wingers are against video games, to say nothing of Harry Potter: the inability to distinguish between reality and fantasy is hard-coded right into their religion. I guess it is to be expected from a belief system that created an official national day for making telepathic contact with an invisible being.
So yes, there are people who get utterly lost in a cyber-world. They’re probably the same people who (if they are religious) get utterly lost in their religion, or (if they like Star Trek) show up for work wearing Star Fleet uniforms. Loss of contact with reality isn’t necessarily a property of cyber-gaming, religion, or TV fiction; you have to look at the individual. Some of them are just going to be straight-up loony, no matter what the subject.
Anyway, back to virtual evangelism. I hope the Jesuits will take their missionary work to World Of Warcraft, too. Can’t you just picture this scene?
Friar: “Hast thou considered granting access to thy heart for the Lord thy God, good sir?”
Orc draws sword. Swooshing noise, *SCHLUPP* *THUD*, wipes sword on grass, returns it to sheath.
Orc: “I came to the Realm to get away from clowns like you.”
Look for Second Life to include real-world job recruiting, even college recruiting, if not now, in the near future.
Update: online chat-based group therapy is comparing well to location-based.
Assessments were conducted at admission, discharge and 12 months after discharge. 12 months after discharge, chat participants showed a substantially lower risk (24.7%) for negative outcome than controls (38.5%). Furthermore, the low dropout rate and the high session attendance supported the expectation that this novel offer met patients’ needs, and thus, opens a new avenue for the optimization of care for patients with mental disorders.
Wonder if insurance companies will start paying for group therapy sessions in “Second Life?”