Second Life is a land for evangelization

A recent article [1] of the official journal of the Jesuits focused on the opportunities offered by virtual worlds for evangelization. Jesuit Father Antonio Spadaro said that “The best way to understand (the Second Life phenomenon) is to enter into it, (and) live inside it to recognize its potential and dangers”.

Father Spadaro looked also at the risks to which users of this new medium might be exposed: users might experiment their virtual appearance with less inhibitions of their real appearance, “but on the other hand one can also get caught up in a spontaneity that knows no limits or discretion,” he said. Another big danger he pointed out is to become alienated from the real world and begin to identify oneself according to one’s self-created myth.

Another problem is that virtual world users play with a low level of responsibility. As many actions can be reverted or easily erased, users are exposed to a “low level of risk,” he said. While this might be good in some situations, it can yield negative psychological and spiritual consequences, like having fear of getting engaged in real-life actions, with an higher level of risks. “This has worrying emotional and affective consequences,” noted the article. In the virtual world everything is “under control and reversible,” making the real world look frightening.

Si va espandendo in internet il fenomeno della Second Life, cioè la possibilità di vivere in maniera simulata una sorta di ‘seconda vita’ digitale. L’articolo descrive il fenomeno, valutandone rischi e opportunità, e segnalando anche la presenza di elementi religiosi. Ogni iniziativa capace di animare positivamente questo ‘luogo’ è da considerare opportuna: la terra digitale è, a suo modo, anch’essa ‘terra di missione’. Occorre, comunque, essere attenti al bisogno ormai diffuso di un ‘altrove’, nel quale l’uomo pretende, in modo talvolta scorretto, di ritrovare se stesso.

[1] Antonio Spadaro S.I. “SECOND LIFE”: IL DESIDERIO DI UN’ALTRA VITA – La Civiltà Cattolica, 2007, III, pp. 266-278, quaderno 3771-3772.

More: [2] – [3] – [4] – [5]

Church Second-Life

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