Monday, April 2, 2007

Religion, Avatars and Virtual Community

Now is the holy season for the world's Christians and Jews — on Earth and in the parallel cyberuniverse, Second Life.

In the real world, Palm Sunday began the Christian holy week that leads believers into the Easter story of salvation through Christ.

Monday night, Jews celebrate Passover's ceremonial Seder meal, retelling the story of God freeing the Israelites from bondage in Egypt.

Meanwhile, in Second Life, avatars (animated characters that serve as users' "in-world" identities) will join in online prayer and praise.

Second Life was created by Linden Lab in San Francisco in 2003; its founders imagined a social platform for an idealized online society. Membership has soared to 5 million; it has established a thriving economy and become a popular venue for politics and education. (more)

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