answer the following questions in one page each
1. Compare the theories of Marshall McLuhan (the medium as the message) and Neil Postman (the medium as the metaphor), as presented in Klassen’s text (pp. 174-175). In 1-2 paragraphs, summarize these and highlight the important differences between them. Then, in an additional paragraph (or 2, if needed), demonstrate which of the two you find more convincing, in light of the relation of these theories to the forms of religiosity Klassen explores in this chapter.
Note: You should not try to make reference to every aspect of digital/virtual/hyper-real religiosity Klassen discusses. Choose one or two that best suit the argument you want to make.
2. In Klassen’s discussion of Hyper-real Religion in World of Warcraft, she presents Lauren Bernauer’s discussion of “Christian Gaming” (p. 187). Here, it states that (much like Dungeons and Dragons), some who identify as Christian are uncomfortable playing World of Warcraft, because the game includes “occult” themes, magic, evil forces, and pagan gods. According to the text, some who feel this way have chosen to create guilds within the game that are specifically Christian-focused, allowing them to avoid these themes while still enjoying the game. This raises two interesting questions, which I’ll post below. In 1-2 paragraphs for each question, please respond to the following:
1. There is an assumption here that “play” in a fictionalized world has an impact on one’s “real-world” status as a devotee of a particular religion — i.e., that, say, casting a “spell” in a game like World of Warcraft is equivalent to actually casting a spell in the real world (which most – though not all – Christians would consider blasphemous). In considering the sometimes blurry, shifting, or unclear lines between “virtual reality” and “actual reality”, how would you respond to such a concern?
2. From another perspective, if we consider fictionalized play as mere play, then subversive, traditionally impermissible (for many varieties of Christianity) actions like spell-casting in a fictionalized world, using “spells” that are not based in actual religions, that are not copied from any real or historical magical tradition, and that are wholly fictitious and contained to the game world, may allow a “safe space” for natural feelings of rebellion that facilitate a sense of release while, perhaps, not endangering one’s mortal soul. Again, with regard to those lines between virtuality and actuality, how would you reflect on a possibility like this?
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