My friend, Chad Nuss, recently entered the blogosphere and posted some interesting thoughts on the cultural phenomenon of on-line gaming and viritual Internet interaction. He mentions an article in the Wall Street Journal that recently reported the impact these virtual realities are having on our society. The article went on to say that there are now around 30 million people involved in on-line gaming within virtual worlds. One such site called Second Life boasts over 8 million registered users. Chad says,
Second Life allows users to enter into a virtual world where they can create and control an online personality. Many of the features of Second Life mirror the characterisitics of real life. The article notes that within Second Life users can get jobs, attend concerts, own pets, pay mortgages, or any number of other activities experienced in reality. Second Life users can form long-term friendships and enjoy dating relationships with other users. In fact, as the article reports, it is common to find users getting married, divorced, and engaging in cyber sex.
Why are so many people seeking out these virtual worlds through on-line gaming? Chad shares this important incite:
Our love for online gaming reveals to us our inherent longing for the Garden. Virtual worlds imitate the purity of life before the Fall by pretending to remove the immediate consequences of sin. However, we must remember we will not find an ideal world apart from the crucifixion. The cross guarantees for us a coming new world removed of every hint of sin. (Rom 8:18-30) In the meantime, everything we touch will continue to be affected by sin–even it is by the click of a mouse.