Years ago, the online game Farmville became a craze. I remember working a job that allowed me to hop onto the game periodically during the day, and plant crops, feed cows and set up a town. My husband was unaware of the game, and one night he said to me "I am so proud of my nieces and nephews. Several of them have been posting about their farms- they are out there raising vegetables." I still laugh about that the look on his face when I told him the only vegetables they were planting were virtual.

The newest craze, Pokemon Go has become an international sensation in a little over two weeks time. Pokemon Go is an app that you can download to your phone in which you can catch invisible imaginary creatures that can only be seen through the eyes of virtual overlays. It super imposes images into the real world, so that people think they are seeing objects that are really not there. It works with the GPS app that enables the player to find Pokemon balls and retool on certain things and these areas are identified with a hovering, spinning cube. In the past week, we have seen and read stories of people walking off cliffs, being hit by cars, and even trying to gain access to prisons in search of the Pokemon monsters. There have also been reports of gamers being robbed at gun point when arriving at the destination on their phone.

Besides the obvious physical dangers of the game, there is another danger that people must be aware of. That is the reality that you are searching for something that does not exist. Augmented reality has become a part of our world and we are close to no longer living in "reality." Through the innocence of this game, they are getting people familiar with blending virtual technology with the world we live in. The virtual world and the physical world are going to become even more meshed together. The danger is that our world will no longer hold the excitement that a virtual world can offer, and people could lose touch with reality.

Through games and technological advances, society will be used to seeing things that our minds used to say were not possible. Could this technology be used to help usher in the demons that will be present in the end of age? Will our minds be so conditioned that we will no longer question anything we see? Will we, at some point, lose the ability to differentiate between what is real, and what is not? Some articles I read stated that this technology is now available in our cell phones, and should quickly spread to a device that people can wear as eye gear so that they are not "staring down at their phones", but have the ability to have the visuals on a device right in front of their eyes. The jump would not be a long one to having a computer chip that could be implanted into a person that would free their hands and their eyes, and would enable to them to "switch on" a game or program anytime they want. Remember the holograms on Star Trek, where the crew could "jump into a reality" and play a virtual game or visit a land just by the click of a switch?

These technologies seem far-fetched today, but they already exist. 25 years ago, no one owned a cell phone. Today, we are chasing creatures through parks and interacting with things that are not there. This technology seems harmless. I may take flack for saying this, but I believe that anything that takes us away from reality is dangerous. Why do you think "they" want us playing a virtual reality game? Because our economy is failing. We are on the brink of war. Our planet is dying. Evil is playing out before us daily. Our response? Close our eyes to the world, and chase a Pokemon demon. I see a danger in that. The Bible commands us to Stay Alert. Stay Watchful. Stay Sober. In other words, stay in reality.

WGON op ed writer Cindy Gore 7.21.16

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