A virtual reality helmet is beginning to be the instrument that unites believers to the different churches, but without leaving home.
Churches, temples, synagogues, mosques and others have been, for centuries, meeting places for believers of any religion.
However, in times of Covid-19, like other places, these religious buildings were forced to close.
The medium NZHerald made a report showing how expressions of religiosity have changed since then and how the metaverse has become an alternative space to traditional temples.
The media reports that, under quarantine due to exposure to Covid-19 Garret Bernal and his family missed his church service, so he put on a virtual reality helmet and explored what it would be like to pray in the metaverse.
Without leaving his home in Richmond, Virginia, he was soon in a 3D world of pastures, rocky cliffs and rivers as a shepherd avatar guided him and others through computer-generated illustrations of biblical passages as they prayed.
“I couldn’t have had such an immersive experience in church sitting in my pew. I was able to see the Scriptures in a new way.” said Bernal, a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or Mormon Church.
This is one example among many who have found a place to live their faith from the metaverse.
Virtual churches as an alternative
Dice NZHerald From spiritual meditations in fantasy worlds to traditional Christian worship services with virtual sacraments in hyper-realistic church-like environments, devotees say the experience offers a version of fellowship that is as genuine as that found in a brick-and-mortar church.
The service he attended was organized by VR virtual reality (VR) technology is used to simulate an immersive artificial world that can mimic or transcend reality. V Church which was founded in 2016 by D.J. Soto, a former high school teacher and pastor of a non-virtual church. VR Church announces itself as a spiritual community that exists in the world. “totally in the metaverse a metaverse is a digital universe that contains all the aspects of the real world, such as real-time interactions and economies. It offers a unique experience to end-users. to celebrate God’s love for the world.”
Soto had previously felt called to build new physical churches. But after discovering the social virtual reality platform a place to buy, sell and store cryptocurrency AltSpaceVR, realized the possibilities of connecting in virtual reality. He set out to creating an inclusive Christian church in the metaverse an immersive virtual world that has been gaining popularity since Facebook said last October that it would invest investing is when you put money in a financial scheme with the intent of making a gain. billions of dollars in Meta.
According to the report, attendance was sparse during the first year, as Soto often found himself preaching to a handful of people at a time, most of them atheists and agnostics who were more interested in debating the faith. Since then, his congregation has grown to about 200 people, and he has ordained other ministers remotely from his home in Virginia and baptized homebound believers due to illness.
“The future of the church is the metaverse.” Dijo Soto. “It’s not an anti-physical thing. I don’t think physical meetings should go away. But in the church of 2030, the main focus will be its metaverse campus.”
The Rev. Jeremy Nickel, an ordained Unitarian Universalist who is based in Colorado and calls himself a KJV evangelist, also saw the potential for community building and “move away from bricks and mortar. “when he founded SacredVR in 2017. Then changed by EvolVR.
Inspired by his experience meditating with Tibetan Buddhists, he began to do the same virtually, but it wasn’t until the pandemic hit that he became better known.
“One of the reasons we’ve become so popular is that you get the meditation you need, but you also get the community and deep relationships.” dijo Nickel a NZHerald.
Virtual Reality Anonymity Can Help people feel safer to share deeply personal issues, said Bill Willenbrock, who leads a Christian community in VRChat with worship and counseling services for a group of mostly teenagers and young adults in their twenties.
“I can’t even count the number of times I’ve heard, ‘I’m considering suicide. It’s helpful that we’re in virtual reality.'” Willenbrock, a hospital chaplain and longtime Lutheran pastor who recently became a “digital missionary,” said Willenbrock.
A person with the username Biff Tannen said it was convenient: “For example, here in Scotland it’s cold, it’s wet, it’s not very nice outside, but here I am sitting in this beautiful church with the heating on.”
Other, represented by a robot-shaped avatar and the user name UncleTuskle said that “as a person with social phobia, it’s easier for me to be here.” than in a physical church.
Without judging others
Virtual reality can enable people come together without judging or being judged, regardless of physical ability or appearance, said Paul Raushenbush, senior adviser for public affairs and innovation at the nonprofit organization. Interfaith Youth Core and who hosted a virtual reality talk show last month with religious leaders using the technology.
“What I love about this is that it takes whatever technological opportunity is offered and leverages it to bring people together in positive encounters.” , dijo Raushenbush. “ And they are changing lives “.
You can read the full report in English here.
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