Jesuits say take word of God to Second Life

ROME Sat Jul 28, 2007 1:15am IST

Related Topics

ROME (Reuters) - Catholic missionaries have always trekked to dangerous parts of the Earth to spread the word of God -- now they are being encouraged to go into the virtual realm of Second Life to save virtual souls.

In an article in Rome-based Jesuit journal La Civilta Cattolica, academic Antonio Spadaro urged fellow Catholics not to be scared of entering the virtual world which may be fertile ground for new converts wishing to better themselves.

"It's not possible to close our eyes to this phenomenon or rush to judge it," Spadaro said. "Instead it needs to be understood ... the best way to understand it is to enter it."

Second Life is a simulation game where players can create a virtual version of themselves -- an avatar -- and interact with other people in the three-dimensional world.

According to its Web site, it has a population of more than 8 million residents and millions of dollars change hands there every month.

"Is there (cyber) space for God?" Spadaro aaka in his article which says there are already virtual churches and temples serving countless religions. He quotes a Swedish Muslim who says his avatar prays regularly as he prays in real life.

Spadaro warns the uninitiated that "the erotic dimension is very present" in Second Life, that people can buy genitalia for their avatars in a world that is "open to any form of erotic stimulation from prostitution to paedophilia".

While the virtual world might be a refuge for some people seeking to flee the real one, it is also full of people seeking something more from life, including, possibly, religious enlightenment, he said.

"Deep down, the digital world can be considered, in its way, mission territory," he said. "Second Life is somewhere where the opportunity to meet people and to grow should not be missed, therefore, any initiative that can inspire the residents in a positive way should be considered opportune."

FILED UNDER:
  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

Expanding Ties

REUTERS SHOWCASE

U.S. in Afghanistan

U.S. in Afghanistan

Obama signs order expanding U.S. Afghanistan role - NY Times  Full Article 

Portugal Graft Case

Portugal Graft Case

Portuguese police arrest ex-PM Socrates in corruption investigation  Full Article 

Islamic State

Islamic State

Canadian vets plan to join Kurdish fight against Islamic State.  Full Article 

Rewriting History

Rewriting History

Fears grow about Hindu "Modi-fication" of education.  Full Article 

Ebola Outbreak

Ebola Outbreak

International Ebola fight helping but more work needed - U.N. chief  Full Article 

Nuclear Iran

Nuclear Iran

U.S., Iran discussing new ideas to break nuclear impasse - sources  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device  Full Coverage