The Metaverse Gives Us Metachurch

The Metaverse Gives Us Metachurch January 28, 2022

We’ve blogged about the “metaverse” (here and here), reportedly the next big thing for the internet, in which users will put on virtual reality goggles, craft an avatar of themselves, and enter into a computer-generated landscape where they can interact with the  avatars of other users.  The effect will be as if you were transformed into a cartoon character in a video game, but the simulations will be of your workplace, shopping sites, and entertainment venues.

It was only a matter of time that cutting-edge churches entered the metaverse, but it is happening even before tech titans like Mark Zuckerberg–who renamed his FaceBook empire “Meta” to reflect its new focus–have perfected the technology. Locked down congregations have already gotten used to going to church via the internet, but this is taken to a new level with the new “metachurches.”

Here in Oklahoma, the Life.Church–a megachurch known for its pioneering use of technology (including the You.Version Bible app)–has started, along with its live and online ministries, a church in the metaverse.  To see how this works and what it looks like, see the website.

There is also at least one congregation that exists wholly in the metaverse.  It’s called VR Church, or Virtual Reality Church.  Go to the website to learn all about it.  Here is a YouTube version of their Easter service.  The different characters are actual attendees, represented by their avatars, so they can chat with each other before the service and then take their seats for the worship service:

But what about sacraments, you Lutherans may ask?  God comes to us physically, not virtually, in the incarnation of Christ.  And since we are physical, not virtual beings, He reaches us by means of physical things, such as water, bread, wine, and the pages of a book.  And even if a church body does not share the Lutheran’s high view of the sacraments, all Christians, whatever they think of it, practice Baptism, don’t they?

Well, we are now having virtual baptisms in the metaverse.  Read this account.  The minister, D. J. Soto, is the “bishop” of the VR Church, which has also spun off other metachurch virtual congregations.  The video below shows the “baptism” of a pink anime girl, the avatar of a male YouTube journalist named Drumsy.  In the first part, the minister justifies the practice, referring to a young woman whom he baptized virtually who is confined to a wheelchair and so cannot be baptized in the regular way.  That is, in the mind of this minister, by total immersion.  So her avatar was immersed in virtual water.

But baptism doesn’t require total immersion!  A single drop of water would be enough, if it is accompanied by the Word of God, the name of the Triune God, which is what makes baptism efficacious!  Here we see the erroneous requirement for total immersion used as a pretext for eliminating all water altogether!

But see it for yourself.  Here is the video.  The minister first talks about what is happening.  The actual “baptism” happens around 7:00.  The “baptism” is witnessed by other avatars, in this case, a big cat and a giant green banana.

Trigger Warning for Lutherans:  The bad theology, baptismal and otherwise, may make you apoplectic.  (I normally don’t hold store by trigger warnings, but this is an exception.)

 

Illustration:  Screenshot from embedded YouTube.

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