From Bryan Camp (thanks Bryan!) comes this notice of a legal ruling against an internet-based church. The ruling denies the group's status as a church, saying that it does not meet the standard of association because it does not hold regular meetings. The court decides instead that live-streamed sermons on the internet are primarily about information dissemination, not communion.
My church agrees: "Virtual reality is no substitute for the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, the sacramental reality of the other sacraments, and shared worship in a flesh-and-blood human community. There are no sacraments on the Internet; and even the religious experiences possible there by the grace of God are insufficient apart from real-world interaction with other persons of faith."
Professor Camp wonders, what if the church was in Second Life?
What is association? What is communion? Does a virtual meeting accomplish one and not the other? Does the dimensionality of the space matter? Why does the body matter, especially when it comes to religion?