Virtually Sacred: Myth and Meaning in World of Warcraft and Second Life

Hardcover | June 18, 2014

byRobert M. Geraci

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Millions of users have taken up residence in virtual worlds, and in those worlds they find opportunities to revisit and rewrite their religious lives. Robert M. Geraci argues that virtual worlds and video games have become a locus for the satisfaction of religious needs, providing many userswith devoted communities, opportunities for ethical reflection, a meaningful experience of history and human activity, and a sense of transcendence. Using interviews, surveys, and his own first-hand experience within the virtual worlds, Geraci shows how World of Warcraft and Second Life provideparticipants with the opportunity to rethink what it means to be religious in the contemporary world. Not all participants use virtual worlds for religious purposes, but many online residents use them to rearrange or replace religious practice as designers and users collaborate in the production ofa new spiritual marketplace. Using World of Warcraft and Second Life as case studies, this book shows that many residents now use virtual worlds to re-imagine their traditions and work to restore them to "authentic" sanctity, or else replace religious institutions with virtual communities that provide meaning and purpose tohuman life. For some online residents, virtual worlds are even keys to a post-human future where technology can help us transcend mortal life. Geraci argues that World of Warcraft and Second Life are "virtually sacred" because they do religious work. They often do such work without regard for - andfrequently in conflict with - traditional religious institutions and practices; ultimately they participate in our sacred landscape as outsiders, competitors, and collaborators.

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Millions of users have taken up residence in virtual worlds, and in those worlds they find opportunities to revisit and rewrite their religious lives. Robert M. Geraci argues that virtual worlds and video games have become a locus for the satisfaction of religious needs, providing many userswith devoted communities, opportunities for e...

Robert M. Geraci is Professor in the Department of Religious Studies at Manhattan College. He is the author of Apocalyptic AI: Visions of Heaven in Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, and Virtual Reality and many essays that analyze the ways in which human beings use technology to make the world meaningful. He was the principle investig...

other books by Robert M. Geraci

Format:HardcoverDimensions:368 pages, 9.25 × 6.12 × 0.98 inPublished:June 18, 2014Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199344698

ISBN - 13:9780199344697

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Table of Contents

AcknowledgmentsIntroduction: Real Stories in Virtual Worlds1. A Cultural Adventure2. Polite Society3. A World with Meaning4. The Flow of Faith Online5. Another Life for Religion6. Sacred Second Lives7. Reassembling ReligionAppendix: On Method in the Study of Virtual WorldsReferencesNotesIndex