Two newly published articles about religion and/in Second Life
In June 2009 there was a conference at Umeå University in Sweden about "Changing Societies – Values, Religions, and Education". A selection of the papers presented there were published in "Working Papers in Teacher Education" No. 7/2010. The whole issue of the journal can be downloaded as a single (570 kb) PDF file from here. These two articles approach the issue of religion in second life from two different perspectives.
by Jim Barrett
This paper discusses three examples of rhetorical holiness from the online virtual world of Second Life. The rhetorical holiness is compared to the representation of beliefs and practices in physical settings. By examining representation of the holy in Second Life it is possible to discuss the shift from older to new media forms in established and therefore comparative contexts. How these movements reflect and affect practices and beliefs is argued as highlighting networks of power and meaning.
by Stefan Gelfgre
This paper discusses the relation between information technology and religious values and practices, with a specific focus on Christian communities/Churches in the three-dimensional virtual world of Second Life (SL). In SL people meet for social reasons, go to concerts and museums, educate themselves, experiment with roles and identities and much more. People also seek Christian fellowship, participate in Church services, pray together, hang out with fellow Christians and so on. Their digital representations of the self, their avatars, conduct “on-line religion”, to use Christopher Helland’s well-used characteristic, i.e. are involved and interact with religious activities purely online (2005). People participate in religious activities to a large extent in similar ways as in the physical world, but with some media-related characteristics, which will be discussed here.