Virtual Church for Kids

Reading Digitoday a few days ago, I noticed how the Evangelical-Lutheran Church of Finland is trying to reach kids in cyberspace by launching a new Flash-based virtual world called Lastenkirkko ("Children's Church").

Like in Habbo, "the hangout for teens", in Lastenkirkko kids can create their own avatar, dress it up and chat away with friends. The church is open for kids' chatter only from 3 to 5 pm when the moderator is present. On other times kids are only allowed to use smileys to communicate with each other.

A juvenile Cyber-Christian can also listen to the stories of Bible, read prayers or just play games. Kids can also have their avatar blessed at the altar, play the organ or visit the grave yard.
Lastekirkko is a laudable move from the Church. It hints towards religion becoming less serious and conservative. Moreover, it is yet another interesting sign of the cultural dynamics of digital age. Virtual worlds are not seen merely as games or something unreal anymore but places of real and useful societal action. It seems like even the most conservative organizations have to have a virtual world entity nowadays. Or maybe the Church has started taking advice from Big Tobacco and catching them while they're young?
But when are the cyborg priests coming?
Pics: the virtual altar from Lastenkirkko, Futurama's robot priest from Futurama and Religion.

1 comment:

  1. Virtual church?? you have got to be kidding!!!! that is an awful idea.