The Anglican Cathedral of Second Life

Saturday Discussion at the Cathedral Jan 3, 2009

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January 3, 2009

What is your expectation of religion in SL?

The first question posed this first Saturday of the new year was not the above, but the following:
“are there any actual Anglican or Roman Catholic priests operating in SL?” While the answer was affirmative, and the Cathedral numbers several in its membership and leadership,the specter was raised of inauthentic credentials.

The gathered group consisted of both newcomers to sl, experienced residents who were new to the cathedral, and some discussion regulars. This mix inspired me to ask the above question about expectations. I will try to do justice to the further questions that followed!

Reality or pretend? There is both here in SL, and our expectations of religion seems to parallel our expectations of SL overall. Reality based missionary groups like the Jesuits maintain presence here, and we are reality based here at Epiphany Island. But the question is ubiquitous in SL, and lead to others! Do our actions in SL “mean as much” as our actions among flesh and blood humanity?

SL residents sometimes “partner” and sometimes “marry.” How do these relationships compare to flesh and blood relationships? Do these SL relationships have any impact on RL relationships? Unfortunately for our discussion, no one present was or ever had been married within SL, so the ramifications could only be described as we had observed them from outside the relationships. But there is no doubt that some RL relationships have been impacted by online relationships.

Some residents consider their time in SL to be role-play. Some are acting out personal fantasies. Some use SL to try out alternative lifestyles and choices in relative safety – physical safety if not emotional! One comparison was made to historical re-enactments. Some even consider SL to be an important part of their expanding social network within the flesh and blood world! With all the possibilities, and all the motives, the specter was raised of whether a person’s representation of those attitudes and motives can be expected to be their actual attitudes and moties.

Then we were off on the naming conventions of SL! And then SL in General. And among the regulars we usually wind up with personal exchanges about life in general.

Lots of questions. Care to give us your answers?

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