Virtually Sacred
Fig. 1. Virtually Sacred. Courtesy of Oxford University Press, 2014.

Oxford University Press published a book titled "Virtually Sacred: Myth and Meaning in World of Warcraft and Second Life" written by Robert M. Geraci.

Publication Data

Geraci, Robert M. Virtually Sacred: Myth and Meaning in World of Warcraft and Second Life. Oxford University Press, 2014. ISBN: 978-0-19-934469-7.

Description

- Explores how virtual worlds are a part of contemporary religious practice
- Helps explain why virtual worlds and videos games have become such a powerful part of contemporary life
- Combines interviews, observations, and survey data to lend empirical evidence to its theoretical claims
- Uses both religious studies and the social study of science and technology to appreciate how religion works in contemporary life

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 Geraci argues that virtual worlds and video games have become a locus for the satisfaction of religious needs, providing many users with communities, a meaningful experience of history and human activity, and a sense of transcendence. Using interviews, surveys, and his own first-hand experience within the games, Geraci shows how World of Warcraft and Second Life provide participants 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 of a 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 to human 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 forand frequently in conflict withtraditional religious institutions and practices; ultimately they participate in our sacred landscape as outsiders, competitors, and collaborators.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Real Stories in Virtual Worlds
1. A Cultural Adventure
2. Polite Society
3. A World with Meaning
4. The Flow of Faith Online
5. Another Life for Religion
6. Sacred Second Lives
7. Reassembling Religion
Appendix: On Method in the Study of Virtual Worlds

About the Author

Robert M. Geraci is Professor in the Department of Religion 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 investigator on a National Science Foundation grant to study virtual worlds and the recipient of a Fulbright-Nehru Senior Research Award (2012-2013), which allowed him to investigate the intersections of religion and technology at the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore.

To order the book online visit the Oxford University Press website.