An avatar can receive the bread and wine of the Eucharist within the logic of the virtual world and it will still be a means of grace, since God is present in a virtual world in a way that is suitable for its inhabitants. We may expect that the grace received by the avatar will be shared in some way by the person behind the avatar, because the person in our everyday world has a complex relationship with his or her persona.The discussion of this radical proposal by Second Lifers in the comments is as fascinating as Paul's neat "solution" to the theological issues. Wilfried for example was quick to object to the reification of the avatars that Paul seems to suggest. Rather, "We do not pray indirectly, through the avatars; the avatars are simply useful in providing an enhanced feeling of proximity..." In short Second Life is not a "virtual world" but a communications medium, presumably like any other. So, the question ceases to be: Is "virtual communion" a real communion? But becomes: Can communion opperate at a distance? Just like the question of whether a pastor can celebrate communion with congregants over a telephone or radio link - e.g. when the recipient is serving in the International Space Station.
He also pointed to the 2005 Concilium on "Cyberspace – Cyberethics – Cybertheology". So, it is only fair to add the 2005 issue of Colloquium, to which he and I both contributed! It also has the advantage of putting all the articles online (and at least for now!) open access:Theology as Virtualising Enterprise
New Zealand Christian Churches Online: Websites, and Models of Authority and Participation
Mary Griffiths and Ann Hardy
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