Saturday, December 23, 2006

Second Life: Shameless, Sinful

It only gets worse, it seems. I wrote of the dangers of virtual worlds in The Soul in Cyberspace a decade ago. What was once in the perverted vanguard is now mainstream muck.

There is nothing wrong with virtual adultery or flaunting it before millions, according to "My So-Called Second Life." Joel Stein writes of his venture into Second Life (a virtual reality role playing environment) in the December 25-January 1 issue of Time. He recounts his "relationship" with a sexy virtual character, whose real-life counterpart is pictured (trying to look wholesome) and described as married and a mother of three. The word that describes it all is "shameless."

Mr. Stein, who sadly has no moral discernment (especially considering a previous article, which confessed that he could not live one week without television), enters the Second Life "world" amorally and navigates it as such. His world--and, apparently the world of Second Life denizens as a whole--is one without morality, without sexual decency, without soul, without consequences, and a world without God, without the audit of Eternity (Kierkegaard)--or so they imagine. The article betrays no sense guilt or of even wondering if this cyber-activity is somehow debasing or dehumanizing or demoralizing. I'm sure the avatars in Second Space cannot blush (although they can activate and wield genitalia).

Those reveling in Second Life should consider finding a life worth living, a life embodied in and edified by Truth. This is a world where "love of neighbor" become a reality day by day, a reality that has demands, rewards, and joys enough...without the surrogate and vain imaginations and high-tech perverseness of Second Life.


Jeff Burton said...

Thank you professor. There is so much bearing down on us at with the weight and velocity of a locomotive.

Douglas Groothuis, Ph.D. said...

For a deeper analysis of the problems of living a virtual life, see my book The Soul in Cyberspace--although you probably won't.

I don't assume that every in Second Life has virtually adultery, but it must be pretty common. Even if one doesn't, what redeeming value could this "life" have?

Tim said...


Read a book? You mean one of those ... those ... paper things? You must be kidding!

Douglas Groothuis, Ph.D. said...


I'm sure they don't read books in Second Life!


Bromo33333 said...

Reading what is essentially a polemic, I cannot get past the thought of the person that looks at a pornographic magazine, then condemns all magazines as pornographic.

While there are many people that use this virtual playground as a way to role play a number of silly fantasies, there is a growing number of positive life-affirming things taking root - a number of churches, activist organizations, and some healthy fantasies (such as a thriving Star Trek based group as one example).

This whole condemnation reminds me of the Dungeons and Dragons critcisms in the 1980's - that somehow it led to Satan Worship and Suicide which proved untrue and silly in the final analysis.

And unlike Dungeons and Dragons - if you think it is a corrupt place - you can (and indeed, SHOULD) have a presence there and turn the tide - since Second Life certainly does not create the sin in people's minds, though it gives them a playground in which they could play it out.