If you watch much TV these days, you’ve probably seen commercials for products like the Samsung Gear VR. This little baby is a set of goggles that can immerse you in virtual reality games that make you feel like you’re in another world. I’ve not tried them, but the commercials are quite enticing.
I been on virtual reality rides at theme parks and find them to be every bit as enjoyable as the real thing—maybe more so. Having that capability in your own living room seems very tempting. It appears these things have taken gaming to a whole new level. Technology is an amazing thing.
“Don’t leave home without it.”
As we embark on the year 2017, the field of technology seems to become more and more invasive into our lives. It used to be we couldn’t leave home without our VISA cards. Now we can leave those at home as long as we have our cell phones. The VISA cards are on our phones along with everything else we need in order to survive the twenty-first century.
While virtual reality (VR) appears to be our next form of entertainment, it’s also fraught with spiritual danger. I don’t want to be one of those reactionaries who point to every new thing as a spawn of Hell. Christians in the past have done that with things like television and the Internet. Still, there seems to be something a little more insidious about the VR thing than might meet the eye.
The problem probably doesn’t lie in the current VR products on the market. It’s where these things are headed that might cause us to stumble. Think about how quickly technological advancements are made these days. What could be next?
I’ve heard talk of VR suits. How far into the future can these things be? If goggles can give us the perception of reality through our eyes, how encompassing might the new reality become if our bodies are encased in a suit that can touch each of our senses?
Think of it. If you’re some poor schmuck with no life to speak of, a dead-end job, and a bereft social life, a VR suit could seem like the answer to all your needs. You’re living in a small barren apartment, barely eking out the rent money. You save every extra dime you have (or use your credit card) to purchase your very own VR suit.
“You’ve entered your own Matrix.”
Each day after a dreary eight hours of toiling in a menial occupation,” you come home, quickly eat a Hot Pocket, and put on your suit. By doing so, you enter a new world—your own world…a world of your choosing. In it, you have a gorgeous mate (or harem), a myriad of entertainment choices, and you aren’t faced with the massive problems of reality. The possibilities are endless.
You’ve entered your own Matrix; and in it, you don’t need anyone or anything else. Your soul is satisfied. You don’t even need Jesus…until you die. Then it’s too late.
[Dave Zuchelli is a graduate of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and is currently the pastor of Smith Chapel, in Great Falls, VA.]