Partake Virtual Church 02 – Virtual Reality
G’day and welcome to Partake Ministries. We continue our investigation into Virtual Church, and this week, briefly introduce Virtual Reality.
1. Virtual Reality
Since the advent of the Internet in 1957 and the subsequent arrival of the home Personal Computer and the World Wide Web (WWW), people have been using these tools for a myriad of reasons including research, education and communication.
With this increase of communication, it was not long until Internet communities were formed. These communities could be broken down into three kinds: subjective (people gathering with similar interests); objective (a gathering of people affected by similar interests); and defining authority (people gathering whose identity was formed by allegiance to a common authority). However, some critics dismiss the concept due to it being by definition, word-based and full of self-interest. Others argue that they can become closed and subjective. However, that is true of any kind of community – virtual or not. Juxtaposed to these concepts is the knowledge that technology is advancing with greater methods of interaction becoming available and global barriers collapsing which make communication and understanding between global citizens possible.
With these virtual communities came the world of ‘Virtual Reality’, to coexist with physical reality (all the properties of fundamental physics).
Virtual Reality, according to The New Penguin English Dictionary is “a computer-simulated environment with which a person can interact almost as if it were part of the real world.” This Internet, or Virtual Reality, is a model of social interaction, whereby time, space and body are transcended in which to form relationships. However, these relationships are not limited to the virtual world, but have some links to the world offline, in so far as they cannot be precisely divorced from each other due to the import of offline interest to a Virtual Reality. In doing this, people of similar interests, or enquiring after spiritual matters, are able to bring offline interests to the world of Virtual Reality. It is here that a virtual church can thrive, educate, inform and satisfy.
As the Church continues through the twenty-first century, and as technology marches inexorably onwards, a new kind of church has been birthed. This is a church that does not meet in a specific locale, but gathers in Virtual Reality. So – in our next study, we shall explore if God can interact with humans in a Virtual Reality Environment.
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