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The link between religion and video games

Multiplayer video games are not just a means of self-expression; they require obedience to rules “in order to advance toward a greater transcendence of the mundane world.” In that way, fantasy games are more like religion than like other art forms, argues sociologist William Sims Bainbridge in a working paper posted on the website of the Association of Religion Data Archives, or ARDA. Some computer scientists believe artificial intelligence “can be spiritual in all the ways humans may be,” according to Bainbridge, and that it might eventually be possible to upload human personalities into computer systems, providing a form of immortality. Is the fictional religion in these games a new evolution of human fantasy, Bainbridge asks, or a new evolution of human faith? Analyzing religion as a genre of fantasy fiction may provide valuable insights and prepare us to understand the diffuse quasi-religious dimensions of emerging post-Christian culture,” he writes. The ARDA is a website that curates high-quality research data sets.

 

 

 

 

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Review rank-ordered data on religion in the U.S. and around the world. Includes the latest data from the Religious Congregations & Membership Study, 2010

 

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