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The Sacred and the Virtual: Religion in Multi-User Virtual Reality

TitleThe Sacred and the Virtual: Religion in Multi-User Virtual Reality
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1994
AuthorsSchroeder, R, Heather, N, Lee, RM
JournalJournal of Computer Mediated Communication
KeywordsChurch, Interaction, Sacred, Virtual

This paper explores the social interaction among participants in a church service in an online multi-user virtual reality (VR) environment. It examines some of the main features of prayer meetings in a religiously-oriented virtual world and also what sets this world apart from other virtual worlds. Next, it examines some of the issues of research ethics and methods that are raised in the study of online behavior in virtual worlds. The paper then analyzes the text exchanges between participants in a virtual church service and some of the ways in which these compare with the content of a conventional church service. Finally, the paper draws out some implications for our understanding of the relation between interaction in the virtual and in the “real” world.