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Virtually SacredMyth and Meaning in World of Warcraft and Second Life$
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Robert M. Geraci

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199344697

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199344697.001.0001

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Another Life for Religion

Another Life for Religion

Chapter:
(p.132) 5 Another Life for Religion
Source:
Virtually Sacred
Author(s):

Robert M. Geraci

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199344697.003.0005

Second Life enables a wide variety of religious practices that enhance the lives of its residents; churches, synagogues, mosques, temples, and other religious establishments dot the landscape, providing virtual counterparts of, supplements to, and competition for conventional religious institutions and practices. In Second Life, practitioners reconfigure their religious lives, keeping many of their traditional ideas but also experiencing their beliefs and practices in new ways. Procedurally, this requires that Second Life religious groups stabilize themselves through the virtual objects enabled there and create virtual content in a fashion reminiscent of Web 2.0 but also movements in popular religion. As seen in Christianity and Islam in Second Life, this creates added possibilities for religious groups, and thus virtual worlds are an important platform for thinking through modern religiosity. This chapter shows that religious practitioners in Second Life see it as a world where they can overcome intolerance; they envision the world as a place where ecumenism reigns and religious acceptance is possible. One aspect of virtually religious life in Second Life, then, is to ensure a group’s reality by objectifying the group in virtual objects, which are engaged through actor-network theory, and to use that stability in a spirit of religious ecumenism.

Keywords:   Actor-network theory, Christianity, Ecumenism, Islam, Popular religion, Second Life, Virtual world

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