Wed. Sep 28th, 2022

Metaverse is also a means of evangelization

Reproduced from the Seung-wal Kim Peace Column

Click to view: Original article in Korean language
Click for: more news and updates on the SIGNIS World Congress 2022

by Francis Seung-wal Kim (General Evaluator of SWC Organizing Committee)

Published on March 27, 2022 [No. 1655]

How should we respond if we were to hold Mass or make a pilgrimage on a smartphone? Communication and communication technologies based on digital and Internet are being renewed day by day. New technologies are constantly pouring in, and some of them soon disappear. Expectations and concerns overlap with unfamiliar and mysterious changes.

One of the changes brought about by COVID-19 is the surge in new communication methods. Due to social distancing, online meetings and communication have increased. The scope also expanded from simple gatherings to conferences, education, and industry. Along with Zoom users, Metaverse users are also increasing. Metaverse is a three-dimensional virtual world in which users communicate and act through their avatars.

Metaverse technology is rapidly advancing to create a virtual world similar to reality. In the early days, it was mainly used by young people who are familiar with the [game] technology. After the spread of Corona, the use has increased and large-scale performances are also held in the metaverse world. The metaverse area [platform] has spread to various business fields as well as public relations and education.

The SIGNIS World Congress to be held at Sogang University in August of this year is also preparing [to be held using] the metaverse platform. SIGNIS is a Vatican-accredited apostolic organization of journalists and communicators engaged in the media. Due to the spread of the corona virus, face-to-face meetings with a minimum number of participants and non-face-to-face meetings via video conference will be held at the same time. It was realized when Han Seung-soo, chairman of the organizing committee of the SIGNIS World Congress, proposed and supported the metaverse [platform concept]. It is to show Korea’s digital technology to the world and attract young people.

In this SIGNIS metaverse world, not only general meetings, but also members’ meetings and various activities take place. An exhibition introducing the status of Catholicism in various countries around the world, Catholic films, and Catholic media will also be prepared in the virtual world of Metaverse. A space where the avatars of the visitors avatars pilgrimage while listening to the explanations of the guide avatars is also decorated by realizing the holy places of martyrdom in Korea in 3D. It will be an opportunity to bring Catholicism closer to the young people of the MZ [new] generation, and it will be an opportunity to experience new technologies and trials for those who are looking for a way to evangelize through the media.

There are also concerns about the metaverse. I worry that if I stay in the virtual world for a long time, I will get confused with the real world. It is not easy for a relationship in the cyber world to lead to a real human relationship. A church is a community made up of people. It is a place that reminds us of the importance of direct contact with people. The virtual church cannot replace the real church, but can the metaverse be used in the direction of helping the real church?

It is said that it is difficult to access because it is a new technology. There is an easy way to use it even for beginners. Choi Hee-jung, local secretary-general of the SIGNIS World Congress, made use of the Metaverse experience learned during the preparation process for the convention. We started a prayer meeting with parishioners on a metaverse platform called ifland. The metaverse is possible as an effective means of communication for the church for fellowship, sharing, and mission.

Metaverse is also known as the grandson of the Internet. Like the Internet, the metaverse is an inevitable trend. All technology has two sides, just as there is good and evil. If we avoid the shortcomings and find the strengths, wouldn’t it be possible to achieve harmonious activities in the cyber world and the real world? In particular, the metaverse is effective in attracting young people. With the evolution of technology, the conditions for popularizing the metaverse are rapidly being created. Now is the time to find a way to utilize the metaverse as a means of evangelization. The Lord is even in the cyber world.

Click to view: Original article in Korean language

Click for: more news and updates on the SIGNIS World Congress 2022

Catholic Peace Newspaper