D.J Soto (pictured below), a former megachurch pastor, had the vision for a church one day that would surpass the limitations of a physical church building. You can access this Church on a free virtual reality social networking site called AltspaceVR. This is one of the first experiences of its kind for the church world and has many interesting aspects and ideas. This idea has the ability to reach people who would not necessarily come to church otherwise. People are interested in this innovative experience and want to learn more about it.
Not only is this a virtual church, but it also creates a virtual application for reading the Bible itself. This moves the paper version of the Bible to an immersive adventure of reading scripture. You can go to a specific verse and have your virtual reality set to take you to the exact place that these verse were once intended to be read in. This opens up a whole new realm of possibilities for people who want to truly understand the context and history of biblical times.
Both of these experiences create a judgment free zone where people can feel welcome and show up in whatever form they want. In virtual reality you get to create your own character which allows people to show their personalities in whatever way they want or in whatever form they feel the most themselves. “People feel comfortable opening up in that environment,” Soto says on Megyn Kelly TODAY. In virtual reality, there is no room for judgmental stares, so it creates a space that people would want to show up too. This space also allows for a certain level of vulnerability.
This vulnerability could be groundbreaking for lots of people who feel like outsiders. The comfort provided through virtual reality can help with people overcome mental health issues and other intense realities. Often times outsides feel like they cannot find a good outlet to talk about their problems and end up surprising them and not healing from them. The Virtual Reality Church would aim to eliminate this dividing wall.
I personally do not know if I would want to go to a virtual reality church just because I think there is still immense value in going out of your comfort zone. I also think that it is still very important to connect with real life people in a real life place. I can totally see where this new idea could reach a generation that’s currently obsessed with technology, but should we be moving past that notion or leaning more into it to connect with people? Change and advancement will never stop in society, but that does not mean our core values and main interactions need to change as well. In the end, we are all still human and need other humans to do real life with.
For more information on the Virtual Reality Church you can check out this article: https://www.wired.com/story/virtual-reality-church/
Check out D.J Soto’s YouTube channel and see what he has to say about his idea.