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When Soto entered, he found a virtual world that was practically empty: just a few avatars attending quiz shows or cheesy comedy performances. In the months since he’d quit his job as a pastor at a branch of his local megachurch in Reading, Pennsylvania, Soto had been looking for a way to create a radically inclusive church.
After all, he had embarked on a career in ministry to introduce as many people as possible to God’s love.
As VR has shifted from 2-D to 3-D, the experience has grown closer to the kind of “embodiment” that’s ideal for fully experiencing the sacraments.
As the price of headsets drops and VR technology becomes more accessible, Soto sees virtual churches as a way to bolster flagging church attendance, particularly among the young and others who feel alienated by real world churches.
As soon as Second Life, one of the earliest two-dimensional virtual worlds, began offering free accounts in 2006, churches, temples, synagogues, and mosques built virtual outposts to host prayer groups, build meditation gardens, and engage in missionary work.
But building an institution in a virtual world requires a loyal set of users.
Now atheists regularly came to listen to him preach about divine love, and they talked openly about their own faith. The people who never felt comfortable walking into a house of worship were happy to join him on Alt Space VR.If you like the imagery in this newsletter, you should follow new tumblog to get a daily dose of queued glitch, procedural, and cyberpunk goodness.I once read an interesting article about how by acquiring Nest, Google annexed the homes of those who already had Nest.As Second Life’s membership declined, so did church membership.The congregations that have lasted have had to migrate often, as users grow tired with the faddish platforms.