Most people would never throw religion and virtual reality in the same sentence. Things always have an odd way of working themselves out in the world of technology. DJ Soto is convinced virtual reality is the digital Holy Grail of Christianity. More specifically, he has built up a VR mega-church which attracts believers from all over the world. Seeing young preachers embrace VR for religious purposes is both worrisome and intriguing at the same time.
Worshipping Christ in Virtual Reality
To the average person on the street, it would sound off to go to church in virtual reality. For DJ Soto, it makes perfect sense, as he wants to create an inclusive church first and foremost. Founding one’s own church is certainly something anyone can pursue right now, but that doesn’t mean these ventures will prove to be successful. In the case of Soto, his church even attracts a few atheists, which is rather exceptional. Something like this never happened when the preacher still had his own physical church in Reading, Pennsylvania.
After getting acquainted with AltSpaceVR, Soto immediately saw the potential of this new medium. Fewer people attend church in person, but doing so in VR seems to be less of a problem. Although embarking on such a mission has proven to be rather difficult, Soto eventually managed to deliver his first sermon without too many issues. He has been hosting regular services for several months now, and his following has gradually grown.
Due to this unexpected success, Soto eventually founded VR Church. It is an official house of Christian worship, yet it only exists in virtual reality. Whether or not this VR church will continue to attract new followers, is very difficult to answer right now.Social VR certainly seems to be thriving, as we see an improved global interest in this particular venture right now. This will not be the only religious venture in VR, though, that much is evident.
As one would expect, there are a few hurdles to overcome. VR Church can only survive if it gains traction outside of AltspaceVR as well. To do so, Soto will need funding. That in itself will prove to be one of the biggest problems to overcome, as it remains doubtful people will willingly contribute to such a virtual venture. When religion tries to gain a foothold in virtual reality, one has to be somewhat worried as to what the future may hold in this regard.
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