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Al & Lisa Robertson / Faith  / The Powerful Delusion of the Metaverse

The Powerful Delusion of the Metaverse

By: Al Robertson

During one of our recent “Unashamed” podcast episodes, Jase shared information about what has become known as the metaverse. He chased down the following definition for those of us who have no idea what that is:

The metaverse can be defined as a simulated digital environment that uses augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and blockchain, along with concepts from social media, to create spaces for rich user interaction mimicking the real world.

Still confused? Yeah, me too. But basically, the metaverse is a form of virtual reality that allows us to escape the things we don’t like about life. It’s fake, but apparently no one cares.

In a recent interview, Keanu Reeves was asked how he explains “The Matrix” to younger people who never saw the original. He answered by telling a story about a dinner date he had with a director friend and his family. The director asked Reeves to explain “The Matrix” to his kids. So, he explained that the movie was about a man who was living in a virtual world and was unaware that there was a real world out there. Once he found out about the real world, he began to search for it — for reality. The oldest daughter said, “Why? Who cares if it’s real or not?”

When the interviewer seemed shocked at the girl’s response, Reeves smiled and said, “No, It’s awesome!”

IS THIS THE NEW NORMAL?

It’s awesome that escaping reality is preferable to or indistinguishable from reality? There’s value in the metaverse? Do truth and reality seem unappealing to us? Would we truly be okay with living a lie?

Sadly, in 2022, the answer for many would be YES! It is where we are. Someone on the Unashamed podcast made the point that 21st century humans have committed themselves to living out their miserable days on Earth distracted by virtual reality until they take their last breath and are thrown into a six-foot hole in the ground.

Even though internet-driven virtual reality is a relatively new thing, living a life based on lies is not. Adam and Eve thought that they could live with greater purpose if they became their own gods. King David believed that he could find fulfillment in having sex with another man’s wife. Then he really believed he could cover up his sin by having her husband killed.

Lisa and I also lived in a virtual world for a long time. No need to rehash the details of our rejection of truth in our former lives, but everything we both did was based on a lie. We believed what we wanted to believe because we wanted to do what we wanted to do.

THE LIE NEVER DELIVERS AS PROMISED

One thing that we all had in common — David, Adam, Eve, and Lisa and me, is that it never turned out good for a single one of us. And I suspect that the metaverse will fail to deliver too because meaning is always rooted in a love of truth.

Rejecting God’s commandments and purpose for our lives in hopes of finding meaning is a fantasy. It is a lie — straight from the lips of the liar himself.

As I’ve alluded to, he never delivers though. It’s not just that he is unwilling to pay us what he promised, but that he is incapable of following through on his promises.  He knew the minute he convinced you to embrace your own reality that he would renege on his promises. It’s just what he does. He always lies; you can count on that.

I’ll admit that I live a fairly sheltered life, so when I become aware of the odd and depraved practices of the masses, I’m usually months behind the rest of you. If I’m late to the party, you’ll have to forgive me.

Recently, someone pointed out a new variation of the lie.

Apparently, there is a trend where people are identifying themselves as animals. They call themselves “furries.” They don cartoonish animal costumes (dressing as puppies, cats, squirrels, etc.) and often meet at conventions (called furry cons) or in smaller groups within their communities (furry meets). Students at some public high schools wear collars and ask other students to lead them to their next class by holding their leash (as they walk on all fours). One parent in Texas told me that his child had been barked and hissed at repeatedly over the course of this school year.

OUR RESPONSE?

Some might find this amusing, but not me. There’s no humor in it at all. In fact, I am disturbed by it. What could be so broken in a young person’s mind that this would be appealing to them? Are they so disconnected from the reality of the God who is eternal, all-powerful, and all-loving that they are compelled to embrace cartoonish alter-egos in order to stand out from the crowd in a way that says, “Look at me! I’m unique! I matter!?”

The answer is YES! Some are that disconnected. But this is what happens when we convince people that either God isn’t real or that he is too mystical and detached from the daily lives of mankind to really give us direction. Did we really think that we could persuade the masses that we were not, in fact, created in the image of God but instead are products of blind, impersonal forces and still maintain our sense of value and worth?

If so, we were wrong! And rather than poking fun at people who embrace this special kind of mental and spiritual depravity, Christians who really are Christ-followers should kindly but boldly speak truth into the delusion.

And speaking of delusion, the Bible is plain about the source of it.

They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. For this reason, God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness. (2 Thessalonians 2:9-12)

It’s not that God is imposing the lie on us. Rather, it is us inviting the lie into our hearts and minds by our refusal to love truth. Because of God’s commitment to our free will, he gives us what we want — the lie! The delusion! The metaverse!

In response, I’m advocating that we do what the apostle Paul did when he said, “Since then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade others.” (2 Corinthians 5:11).

Our argument can’t be argumentative but should be an appeal to others to evaluate the consequences of rejecting God. We should encourage them to instead seek the blessings that flow out of a life dedicated to running after God. We aren’t trying to annihilate those who have embraced the lie, but to persuade them to turn to God.

Two thousand years ago, Satan tried to destroy the Messiah with a Roman Cross, but God turned the tables and used the cross to destroy Satan.

In 2022, he’s not using a cross but the power of the internet and social media to spread his lie that we can be our own gods by eating the fruit of the alternate realities. But that same social media engine that he uses is available to us as well to retell the story of the Cross.

Embrace reality! Then embrace those under the powerful delusion. Persuade them to come to Christ, to love truth! To seek it! To go to the one who was on the cross as the only reliable source of truth. It’s a powerful message, I am sure of that!

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written:

“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise;

    the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.”

                                                                                    (1 Corinthians 1:18-19)

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