A member of the Blacktip Island Ecumenical Community Church, under the guidance of a church elder, gets a taste of the afterlife with the church’s new Faux-Ever headset. (photo courtesy of Justraveling.com)
The Blacktip Island Ecumenical Community Church Thursday unveiled ‘Faux-Ever,’ a virtual reality headset that allows churchgoers of any religious tradition to experience the afterlife of their particular faith.
“Users input information about their personal belief systems,” the former Reverend Jerrod Ephesians said. “It’s like a Buzzfeed quiz, only with a religious focus, and draws on the teachings of classic theologians as well as popular novels and cinema.
“We tried to be as inclusive as possible,” Ephesians said. “The headset provides more than 128 different versions of the afterlife,” Ephesians said. “You can get anything from sitting on lotus pads to hunting buffalo on the Great Plains to being at one with an expanding universe. We even have a Cthulu option, but that didn’t end well for the congregant.”
Church officials hope the devices will strengthen users’ faith.
“We see it as sort of a trainer, like what pilots use before they get in an actual airplane,” church elder Harry ‘Scratcher’ Wrasse said. “There’s no telling what the afterlife will be like. You want to get a hint of what to expect, maybe even a nudge to change your ways.
“A lot of times people’re surprised what they see after programing the headset,” Wrasse said. “One person expected milk and honey and instead got a wasteland and his mouth stuffed with clay.”
The program is not without its critics.
“Jerrod and his cohorts are making a mockery of religious faith,” said the Reverend Pierre Grunt of the Our Lady of Blacktip cathedral. “There is no way that gizmo can provide a glimpse of anything like Heaven. They’re turning religion into a video game.”
Faux-Ever has proved popular with early testers
“I filled out the survey, slipped on the visor, and the next thing I knew I was floating around the reef,” said divemaster Marina DeLow. “The reef’s pretty much my church, so that made sense. And was kinda comforting.”
Others were underwhelmed.
“I expected something nice, the whole 100 virgins sort of thing,” Lee Helm said. “Instead, I wound up sitting on a cloud, playing a harp, surrounded by chubby little angels wearing diapers. I just felt . . . depressed.
“James Conlee, he got eternity at the Sand Spit bar with unlimited beer,” Helm said. “It’s not fair.”
Ephesians is encouraged by Faux-Ever’s successes.
“We’re working on adding more options,” he said. “Going forward, atheists will see a black, blank screen. And for a small donation to the widows and orphans’ fund, we can throw in a séance so you can talk to dead relatives.”
First there was Jefferson Airplane. Then there was Jefferson Starship. Then there was just Starship. Then they were all gone. My question is, who was Jefferson? – Slick With Worry
Jefferson was Jefferson Beaumont. Beaumont, Texas’s named after him, too.