Book

Virtually Sacred

Robert M. Geraci

Published in print July 2014 | ISBN: 9780199344697
Published online April 2014 | e-ISBN: 9780199374731 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199344697.001.0001
Virtually Sacred

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Video games and virtual worlds can rearrange or replace religious practice as designers and users collaborate in the production of a new spiritual marketplace. Online communication provided new opportunities and new stumbling blocks for traditional religions and even permitted the growth of new kinds of religion. Virtual worlds, however, go well beyond webpages, and they are an important part of our religious landscape. They allow us new ways of expressing old religious practices and beliefs and also provide new ways of circumventing those traditions. Using World of Warcraft and Second Life as case studies, this book shows that many residents now use virtual worlds to reimagine their traditions and work to restore them to “authentic” sanctity or replace religious institutions with virtual world communities that provide meaning and purpose to human life. For some, virtual worlds are even keys to a philosophy of transhumanism in which technology can help us transcend the human condition. World of Warcraft and Second Life are thus “virtually sacred.” They do religious work, and hence they are sacred. Yet they often do it without regard for—and frequently in conflict with—traditional religious institutions and practices; as a consequence, they are “not quite” religious but are an emergent aspect of contemporary secularism. Their virtuality is so not only because they are on computer screens but also because of that persistent “not quite.” Ultimately, World of Warcraft and Second Life are virtually sacred because they participate in our sacred landscape as outsiders, competitors, and collaborators.

Keywords: Online communication; Religion; Second Life; Secularism; Transhumanism; Video game; Virtual world; World of Warcraft

Book.  352 pages.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Christian Theology

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Table of Contents

Introduction in Virtually Sacred

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A Cultural Adventure in Virtually Sacred

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Polite Society in Virtually Sacred

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A World with Meaning in Virtually Sacred

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The Flow of Faith Online in Virtually Sacred

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Another Life for Religion in Virtually Sacred

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Sacred Second Lives in Virtually Sacred

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Reassembling Religion in Virtually Sacred

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