In Christianity, baptism is a symbolic initiation where one cleanses or purifies themselves of sin to gain admission to the church. Now, with the power of virtual reality technology, Pastor DJ Soto is performing the ceremony with those who can’t show up in person.
Soto runs a service called VR Church that is dedicated to helping people access faith when they otherwise not be able to obtain his services in person.
He claims that he’s assisted many hopeful practitioners, including a woman whose physical disability prevented her from leaving her home and a recovering drug addict who was barred from entering his local church.
In order to demonstrate what he does, Soto baptized YouTuber Drumsy by performing the ritual on his pink-haired anime girl avatar. After discussing the nuances in a heavenly, reflective pool of water wreathed in pink clouds, the two VR users moved things to a Japanese style indoor pool.
After outlining the symbolism and significance, Soto commanded Drumsy to submerge the anime girl in the water and then rise. Except for taking place outside of the physical world, it seemed to many like a pretty standard baptism. Oh, there were also plenty of colorful witnesses, including Winnie the Pooh and Tigger avatars and a dancing banana.
Soto admits that other spiritual leaders “get really wigged out at the idea” of performing such important holy acts virtually. He says that for “some people it’s such an unknown, that it freaks them out.”
Soto believes that since his religion acknowledges that the body is a shell for the spirit, VR can be used to carry out meaningful relationships.
While it may not catch on in this era, the pastor’s devoted his life to spreading the word of the Lord by challenging the physical boundaries most churches are used to existing within.