Friday, June 08, 2007

Virtual Immorality

This is scary. The world of virtual reality that allows one to train, to feed and to entertain sordid, illegal, sadistic and utterly disgusting fantasies. "Second Life" web site is a place which is proudly promoted as being "imagined, created and owned by its residents". On the right, are some statistics as of today (8 June 2007) on its popularity since its launch in 2003. Is it merely another virtual reality invention? Not really. It is a sign of onimous and more sinister times to come. While many have use it as a platform for earnest creativity, web sites like this can similarly be abused.

Washington Post, in its headline, poses a question about policing cyberspace. Apparently, it asks the question whether it is illegal to commit virtual crimes online without ever committing a physical act. Is it illegal to 'mug a video character online, to murder a virtual character deliberately?' For those who say yes, then why do we have video gaming that allows killings and mass genocide? For those who say no, then how do we ensure that such virtual activities do not increase physical crimes. Isn't it true that people do not commit crimes suddenly? Often, most horrid crimes are premeditated and planned. I am convinced that any forms of feeding the sinful desires in us, is like nourishing the wolf of sin, and shattering the lamb of innocence inside us. Jesus has said that one need only use the eyes and lust to commit adultery with another woman, indicating to us that it is not merely the physical act but the entire chain of process of thinking, contemplating and behaving. A world that does not adhere to teachings of Jesus like these, is like exposing its fuse to a world of sparks. It can trigger a regrettable explosion at any time. Of course, there has been other use of Virtual reality online for religious purpose here. Even then, I doubt its effectiveness as Christianity in its essence is still relationship based between people rather than with machines.

We need to guard out hearts and minds in the virtual reality world. We cannot reduce ourselves to a virtual entity, and to entertain sinful fantasies online thinking that it is perfectly alright. Remember that what is revolting at first will become 'normalized' after repeated exposure. Just like the frogs that get cooked in a warming pot of water. The gradual acclimatization of the bodies to the small increase in heat deceives the frogs about the impending danger of being heated alive. A frog that jumps from the cold outside into a hot inside will immediately jump out. A frog that has been swimming in water with gradual increment will not sense much need to jump out. Likewise, if we continue to swim in the warming atmosphere of virtual reality sins, we are tempted to allow ourselves to soak in that unholy environment, not wanting to get out anytime. We become less discerning of right/wrong, justifying our subsequent acts on the basis of neutrality ("everything is neutral, just a matter of how we use it"), of feelings and of self-deception. Am I too harsh? No. If my harsh position can help prevent one premeditated rape, one act of violence, one fiery dart of sin against any one person of God, it is worth it. Do not let the sin crouching outside our door have a foothold into our house. Regularly do housekeeping in our hearts, in our minds and in all our daily living as we present our bodies a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God. It is our act of worship to Jesus whom we love.
"Summing it all up, friends, I'd say you'll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious--the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. (Philippians 4:8, MSG)"
Note that providing links below does not necessarily mean I endorse or oppose their views
1) Popularity of virtual reality (LegalWeek)
2) Does Virtual Reality need a Sheriff? (WashingtonPost)
3) Is Virtual Rape a Crime? (DNAIndia)
4) Virtual Rape, Child Sex and Mugging (Asiaone)
5) Virtual Rape (a research article)
6) Religion online

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