2 January 2024 • (Updated 26 January 2024)
The self-image ethics of a Christian VTuber.
This blog post has been updated to include the Novum Testamentum Graece version of Romans 1:23, alongside Textus Receptus. The highlighted words of these two Ancient Greek versions are exactly the same.
Today, many of the “Virtual YouTubers” we know are based on Japanese media culture. And because the culture itself heavily rely on their traditional ways of worship and beliefs, together with the evolution of Japanese fantasy storytelling, not every elements of VTubers today are correct, if we solely rely on the Word of God.
We have discussed the six main rules of being a “Christian VTuber” before, and to celebrate what could be possibly the new best year of our life (OMG, it’s The Year of Great Shifts and Miracles!), we’d like to re-discuss our ethical values as Christian VTubers, and why should you consider, too.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.Psalms 139:14 NIV
Your avatar is a representation of your self-image. Even the word “avatar” originally meant “an incarnation of a Hindu deity”, before shifting into SNS profile pictures, computer-generated pictures and more. If I can recite correctly, an avatar is a manifestation of yourself; a representation of yourself and your characteristics.
Remember that God has created us fearfully and wonderfully, and He even created us in the same image and likeness to Him!
So let’s be wise about who we actually represent. Some prefer to represent a sexually-inflated version of themselves, but it is clear that we’re here to become the salt and light of the world:
“You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless.”
“You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.”Matthew 5-13-16 NLT
Being a salt and light of the world has its own consequences: we cannot simply hide our identity inside virtual avatars! To be an effective salt and light to others, your true identity must shine out, both in real and virtual life. And there are moments when our virtual selves must reveal our real selves, and otherwise.
At The Shift of Worlds and Nations, we still involve Reinhart’s physical presence alongside Shift and Shiftine. At the same time, Reinhart often features Shift and Shiftine during his conversation with his communities. We are doing all of this because our mission is clear: encouraging our virtual audiences to live a real life, with others with a real life.
The dangers of VTuber’s false self-image.
When a VTuber decided to present their identity as an anthropomorphic animal, or a video game-inspired character (e.g. Genshin Impact), remember that God has put this specific consequence for people who do so:
 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.  Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools  and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.
 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another.Romans 1:21-24 NIV
Well, I know, some people would point out the exact verses in different Bible translations, like this one in NLT, that proves that this verse is “only for those who worship idol statues”:
 Yes, they knew God, but they wouldn’t worship him as God or even give him thanks. And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like.  As a result, their minds became dark and confused. Claiming to be wise, they instead became utter fools.  And instead of worshiping the glorious, ever-living God, they worshiped idols made to look like mere people and birds and animals and reptiles.
 So God abandoned them to do whatever shameful things their hearts desired. As a result, they did vile and degrading things with each other’s bodies.Romans 1:21-24 NLT
I understand that some Bible translators added the context that what Paul meant was about worshipping idols, commonly in the form of statues, because they were popular over the Roman Empire. However, the original versions of the Bible simply mentions “changed the glory of God”, not “create and worship idols instead of God”.
καὶ ἤλλαξαν τὴν δόξαν τοῦ ἀφθάρτου θεοῦ ἐν ὁμοιώματιεἰκόνος φθαρτοῦ ἀνθρώπου καὶ πετεινῶν καὶ τετραπόδων καὶἑρπετῶνRomans 1:23 TR
καὶ ἤλλαξαν τὴν δόξαν τοῦ ἀφθάρτου θεοῦ ἐν ὁμοιώματι εἰκόνος φθαρτοῦ ἀνθρώπου καὶ πετεινῶν καὶ τετραπόδων καὶ ἑρπετῶν.Romans 1:23 NA28
Textus Receptus (TR) and Novum Testamentum Graece (NA28), the two, prime Greek sources of today’s well-known New Testament translations, also used the word “changed the glory”. Even if you don’t understand Greek or don’t want to get your hands dirty with cross-language Bible study, this specific Word still applies into our self-image, as intended by God since the beginning, as our body and works is made to glorify God:
 Then God said, “Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us. They will reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the livestock, all the wild animals on the earth, and the small animals that scurry along the ground.”
 So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.Genesis 1:26-27 NLT
Some VTuber personalities also went beyond than just being a “part human, part animal” or just being wholly an animal. They have attributed themselves into magic, ghosts, angels, werewolf, vampires, and other spiritual figures. If being animals is bad enough, how about faking being a ghost, devil, and so?
This is why our general guidelines concerns the use of certain attributes like cat ears (nekomimi). At the end of the day, we should not represent certain types of self-images that is considered bad by God. Also, that we should not ratifying ourself as sensually attractive virtual persons for the purpose of fanservice.
Virtual occultism means real occultism.
Another thing that we deeply concern about the VTuber media culture is about virtual occultism.
Some VTubers may declare themselves as witches, witch doctors, shamans, and so, while some are creating specific potions, charms, or amulets as a part of their identity. I am still reminded how a rain shaman (read: a Hololive-managed talent) from Indonesia suddenly became a music producer advertising for a local well-known e-commerce.
WAR, WAR, Tokopedia, tiap jam 2 siang di Tokopedia...
Yes, Indonesia as a lot of actual rain shamans, which is actually used to support many high school competitions like SKYAVENUE (Labschool) and SMAK 1 Cup (SMAK 1 BPK PENABUR). But should the virtual rain shaman be considered as one (read: potentially sinful, but we canʼt judge others that way, right?) of the real rain shamans?
 “You have heard that our ancestors were told, ‘You must not murder. If you commit murder, you are subject to judgment.’  But I say, if you are even angry with someone, you are subject to judgment! If you call someone an idiot, you are in danger of being brought before the court. And if you curse someone, you are in danger of the fires of hell.Matthew 5:21-22 NLT
 “You have heard the commandment that says, ‘You must not commit adultery.’  But I say, anyone who even looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart.Matthew 5:27-28 NLT
 Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast?  If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.”Genesis 4:6-7 NIV
Based on the above verses, Jesus told that sin is not about what you have physically done to others, but it all starts from your mind. And God counts what is already happening in your mind as sin, even before it becomes a physical act.
There are certain VTubers that describe themselves using charms, potions, or amulets to gain fictional powers. It’s already occultism, even though these were not real. People may argue that “occultism” only happens if they are interacting with the real evil spirits that occurs in the real life, not virtual. But is it?
Checking on Super Mario Bros.
Perhaps, the best way to describe how bad is virtual occultism, is by taking a concept out of Super Mario Bros.
One of the main takeouts in many Mario games is to embrace the abilities given behind these (actually hallucinating) mushrooms, in many different forms. And today, anyone in the Universal Studios parks are given the chance to “eat the Mario’s mushroom” in real life!
Because of the endorsements made from companies including Nintendo, people will less likely recognize this mushroom as a psychotropic and harmful one. Instead, they are more likely to recognize as a mushroom that brings joy, wonder, and superpowers, like in Alice in Wonderland and Super Mario Bros., and even becomes the de-facto mushroom emoji 🍄!
Just like how Mario influenced millions of gamersʼ and the publicʼs perceptions of those mushrooms, we can see a similar effect potentially happening in the world of VTubers. They are not just using specific potions, amulets, or charms, but they also start to convince others that they are powerful because of these things.
Some VTubers are also creative: creating their unique versions of amulets or charms that uniquely identify themselves. In this case, people are encouraged to recognize these VTubers by their charms, too.
What could happen next? Selling physical merchandises featuring these charms for profit? Then what about simps actually buying them wishing that they could gain the same kind of health, wealth, and happiness as the VTuber personality?
The Greatest in the Kingdom
 About that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who is greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven?”
 Jesus called a little child to him and put the child among them.  Then he said, “I tell you the truth, unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven.  So anyone who becomes as humble as this little child is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.
 “And anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf is welcoming me.  But if you cause one of these little ones who trusts in me to fall into sin, it would be better for you to have a large millstone tied around your neck and be drowned in the depths of the sea.Matthew 18:1-6 NLT
I know, maybe you donʼt need the following verse if you are truly rooted in Christ, but we also have a big responsibility to prevent our fans and followers becoming simps and worship ourselves. You know thatʼs a sin, so please donʼt.