Who Am I?

Toney, Alabama, United States
Software Engineer, Systems Analyst, XML/X3D/VRML97 Designer, Consultant, Musician, Composer, Writer

Friday, August 24, 2007

Worlds of Worship

I was reading an article about YetAnotherVCFinancedVirtualWorld. Like so many others, it emphasized social networks hybridized with game play. It was a bit smarter in emphasizing entertainment instead of the virtual economy. It indicated why social bonding environments should be the focus.

I agree. But bowling isn't the most common social experience.

The social experience most common in most cultures and most amenable to immersion technologies is

.... worship.

Build Worlds of Worship (TM).

There is enormous potential. The business model isn't even difficult.

The problem of the metaverse mavens is like the early VRMLers, they are too fond of theory but not very good observers of the mundane or the extraordinarily common. Being overfocused on wealth they miss the opportunities for service from which follows a good life and a fair living.

Build churches not in Second Life (too much noise), but in privately hosted worlds financed by donations and sponsored by real world churches and organizations. Create a new generation of temples, synagogues, cathedrals and even the small wooden house of worship. Invite ministers, invite parishioners, invite the Pope. Be sure to make them every bit as formal and dramatic as the real worlds houses. Invest them with beautiful music, stirring sermons, lessons from life and even the private confessional. Give people places to pray.

See what difference it makes when the houses of the holy come to the wild wild web.


Reed Hedges said...

And, like the real world, a virtual church could serve as a center point to a surrounding community, or just serve as a base point for meeting people and making friends.

Jordi R Cardona said...

I sometimes was in some church worlds, and there was always some moron anoying them. Specially when we talk about christian churches.

Jordi R Cardona said...

I would be very happy to be able to include churches of SOME religions (not all, some are very untolerant) in my future 3d community, but I hope not to face too many 3d trolls annoying them. Your idea seems good.

IQpierce said...

The problem is that being with other people isn't required to worship. I think many people who go to a common place to worship can often worship privately just as effectively.

If there is value to worship being shared with other people, it comes from the energy of being there, in a crowd that's caught up in the worship. Sorry, but a virtual world will never impart the same social energy. It's the same reason why online rock concerts would never catch on.

Of course there are other elements of churches for which being with other people is relevant. But again, I think that many of them are very dependent on the face-to-face togetherness.

Len Bullard said...

VR worlds don't replace physical worlds. True statement. On the other hand:

1. The cassettes of services sent to shut-ins and the elderly don't replace the real service either, but they enable them to enjoy the service that was held.

2. People who have to travel find themselves hotels far from home but they have broadband in their rooms.

3. Icons were once forbidden and cathedrals were considered sinful extravagance.

4. People watching a Billy Graham sermon on TV or any other televangelist is not physically in the same space, but they are still hearing the good word.

The point of using the VR world is to extend those aspects of worship that can be extended. Worship is very ritualistic, that is, very sequenceable and that is something that can be done. VOIP, music, sermons, all of this can be presented. And it can be done in real time such that the person in the world may not be enjoying the energy of physical presence but they are worshipping to the same music and service at the same time; just in a different space.

Consider a beautifully done world of worship just as you might a beautiful stained glass. It cannot replace being with the Saints but that opportunity is not there for you anyway, is it?

It is the mindfulness that it engenders that is important and just as worship adopted the contemporary service along side the traditional service, VR worlds are just one more medium for the faithful to share in. Done well, it is a blessing.