Home News Religious services move to metaverse amid COVID-19 concerns

Religious services move to metaverse amid COVID-19 concerns

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Many religious faiths now offer interactive digital sites to augment conventional services, but COVID-19 is unique in that it allows attendees to experience spirituality in a realistic 3D setting using virtual reality (VR) technology.

According to the NZ Herald, during their quarantine for COVID-19 exposure, Garret Bernal and his family were reportedly absent from a recent Sunday service. So he put on a virtual reality headset and went metaverse praying.

Furthermore, he was quickly taken to a three-dimensional virtual universe of pastures, cliffs, and rivers, where he and others were escorted through computer-generated visuals of Biblical texts that came to life. Bernal, who is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, explained:

“Sitting in my pew, I could not have experienced such a full-fledged church experience. I was able to gain a fresh perspective on the scriptures.”

Human self-realization

D.J. Soto, a preacher in Fredericksburg, Virginia, has championed the benefits of VR. And sees it as a step toward human self-realization. According to him, the metaverse holds the future of churchgoing. Since “it reaches those who can’t physically go to church” because of COVID-19 or other factors. “Conversations concerning technology and faith must coexist,” according to Soto:

“We have people that come because of COVID-19 or because their actual church is inaccessible. We are a Web3 church, the first of its kind, that will take Christianity into the brave new world of cryptocurrencies, decentralised autonomous organisations (DAOs), blockchain, and other next-generation technology. The two topics of technology and spirituality must coexist. We are living at the most opportune of times to witness such innovation, and we eagerly await the trip ahead.”

The virtual reality church

According to Soto, the virtual reality church is wholly centred in the metaverse. And aspires to create loving spiritual communities throughout the virtual world.

According to the Herald, attendance was low throughout the first year. And Soto often found himself speaking to a tiny group of people. Most of whom were atheists and agnostics who were more interested in discussing religion than in believing in God. His club has subsequently grown to roughly 200 members, according to the document.

Reverend Jeremy Nickel, a Unitarian Universalist pastor who lives in Colorado and refers to himself as a VR evangelist, mentioned in the study. When he founded SacredVR in 2017, his goal was to create a community and “move away from the brick and mortar”. The group’s membership rose from a few dozens to hundreds of persons only after the COVID-19 pandemic.

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