Religious leaders debate going to church in the metaverse

When the first radio and television broadcasts began to trickle into homes around the world, religious programming was among the early mainstays of both new mediums. Now, as the world pivots away from flat, 2D screens and frequency-bound audio broadcasts, religious practitioners from around the globe have begun adopting metaverse, Web3, spatial computing, and artificial intelligence technologies as conduits to faith. 

However, there are still naysayers who believe there are dangers associated with these technologies, faith leaders who wonder if modern technological trappings are necessary, and billions of traditional religious followers awaiting guidance.

On the supporting side, Sreevas Sahasranamam a Professor at the University of Glasgow, recently expounded on the positive potential for a metaverse for practitioners of the Hindu faith in Swarajya magazine:

“Imagine getting Geetopadesha straight from Lord Krishna. No, I am not talking about being on a Sci-Fi time machine to take me back in time to the Kurukshetra war. Rather, I am talking about being in my living room, donning the role of Arjuna, seeking answers to my internal battles through Geetopadesha from Lord Krishna’s avatar on a Ray-Ban Meta glass.”

Many see the immersive qualities of the metaverse, especially when experienced through virtual reality, as a method to bring them closer to the scriptures and stories surrounding their religions.

Sahasranamam also wrote about using the metaverse as a meditation aid, saying that the immersion it offered could lead to deeper and more meaningful experiences.

Not everyone is as pumped about the potential for the metaverse as a religious tool. Gavin Ortlund and Jay Kim, theologians and Christian pastors from the United States, see it as something that could add to the current fellowship paradigm, but both men appeared to agree that it wasn’t a replacement for physical churches.

The two discussed the issue in a recent video. During the talk, Kim wondered aloud if the idea of “church in the metaverse” was…

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