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1-29-2009 @ 9:30PM
Hmm... That sociologist's definition of organized religion you mention in your article ... doesn't sound quite right to me. Corporations can be said to feature community, ethics, culture and emotion. High school students often show these traits peculiar to their school, as do politicians peculiar to their chosen political parties and programmers peculiar to their favorite programming languages.In my layman's understanding of sociology, I'd argue that specific and topical community, ethics, culture and emotion are traits which define societies. When it comes to organized religions, you need to dig a little deeper and find something that resembles faith: will I have a healthier spiritual life or gain salvation through (either silent or overt) worship, either in this or the next life or in the afterlife? Morals--not ethics--are also important in religions: live life this way, and you'll be rewarded in some way.The Colorado Daily article delivers a better amount of information than the WoW Insider expansion on this topic: Zijderveld's thesis claims that WoW is a quest for enlightenment, something that works more on a spiritual level, not the organized religion shelf your article tries to put WoW onto. And sure, a spiritual quest it is. WoW allows players to do things they can't do in real life. I'm certain some of them would readily trade places with their heroic characters. But is this a religious experience? I don't know. I don't think so. Players don't worship at the altar of Warcraft to receive absolution--they want to have fun (even though, seeing some hardcore raiders, it looks like an awful lot of work) in a world that doesn't too closely resemble our own.And fun is something I wouldn't claim any organized religion is primarily concerned with. I dare say that as an atheist. Rather than comparing World of Warcraft with an organized religion, with worship structures and morals, I think WoW is more akin to a bridge club: people having a good time while doing something within a framework of rules, ethics and cultural parameters.
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