“…But that leads to the tricky question of whether pretending to be immoral is actually immoral.”

August 1, 2007 at 1:31 pm (frightening things)

Here’s an interesting article about religion, Second Life, and whether pretending to have sex counts as having sex, among other things. Apparently, a “Jesuit scholar” has said that the virtual world could make a good place for missionary work.

If you’re a virtual missionary in a virtual world speaking to another virtual person, are you trying to convert the virtual person or the real person behind it?

This seems like it ought to be a fairly straightforward question. After all, as far as we know Heaven doesn’t even have broadband. There’s no point in trying to get a half-naked robot lady to take the Eucharist, half-naked robot ladies don’t really enter into God’s great plan. No, obviously you’re going to have to reach the person behind the keyboard, the sinner behind the symbol.

The problem with this is that virtual worlds are someplace where you can be someone else. In fact, you can be anyone else.

Not so much “the problem” as the part that one needs an basic understanding of fiction and abstraction to be able to conceptualize. And if you’re worried Harry Potter might lead your kids to Satan, you probably don’t possess the intellectual sophistication to understand make-believe.

From what I’ve been able to puzzle out, I think most sins are only sins if you’re actually doing them. There have been plenty of attempts to argue that violent video games encourage people to be violent in real life, but as far as I know nobody is arguing that shooting down gang members in a video game is, itself, murder. . . . However, some sins seem to be sins even if you’re just pretending. Most of these have to do with sex. If I log in to Second Life as Clorgo Codpiece and pretend to shoot up with my friend Sexxula Bodyoil, I don’t think I’m actually doing heroin from a religious point of view.

But if we pretend to engage in all sorts of unlikely and disturbing sexual acts with each other, apparently we’re actually committing adultery?

Goodddd question.

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