The VR Church, which exists only (for now) in the AltspaceVR platform, recently performed what they claim to be the first-ever VR baptism after holding the special ceremony to two of their church attendees in front of a congregation of over a 100 people from all around the world. Normally a baptism in the real-world takes about 10 seconds, but in VR, the individuals stayed under the virtual waters for over a minute, allowing them to really take in the moment for an even more impactful experience.
The article does quote another pastor as saying that “technology, although helpful to reach the masses, should not be used to substitute important events in a believer’s life.” And I would tend to agree that this is rather unconventional, even a little shocking. Is a virtual baptism the same as one in real life? Many people would argue that it’s not, but the more interesting question is, why do they feel that way? If the real-world event takes part in a community, then you could argue that the virtual church space in AltspaceVR where this event took place is a sort of community.
Or does being in a VR headset make the spiritually significant act of baptism too easy to access, something more of a commodity, a “leveling up”? Is this profaning something meant to be sacred?
What do you think? Please feel free to leave a comment on this blogpost.