What the Tech: Exploring Bible sites virtually - WPSD Local 6: Your news, weather, and sports authority

What the Tech: Exploring Bible sites virtually

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Over a million Americans will visit the Holy Land this year to see where Jesus walked and the historical places that you read about in the Bible.

It can cost thousands of dollars to visit for a week and many people don’t feel safe enough to travel to the Middle East.

Life Church is providing a solution with what it calls the first Bible study in virtual reality. The experience is new addition to the popular YouVersion Bible app that currently has over 268,000 downloads.

The first VR Bible study is features a walk through the last few days of Jesus leading up to the crucifixion and resurrection.

Produced by a film production company, the Octogon Project uses a 360-degree virtual reality camera that literally walks the viewer through the 7 Stations of the Cross, the Via Dolorosa and the Mount of Olives.

“Thanks to this partnership with The Octagon Project, the YouVersion community can experience the same steps Jesus took in Jerusalem” said Bobby Gruenewald, Life.Church Innovation Pastor and founder of The YouVersion Bible App. “We’re thrilled to leverage technology like virtual reality to help people become more immersed in Scripture.”

I took the app and a virtual reality headset to pastor Bill Overstreet who has visited the Holy Land and took a personal tour of the places shown in the app. The first thing he said was ‘Wow’.

"When you turn your head, You felt like you were right there in the presence of the relics and the stations of the cross,” Overstreet said. “The only thing that's missing are the smells."

To view the tour in virtual reality you need a virtual reality headset such as the Google Daydream, Google cardboard or Oculus Rift. You can view the tour in 360-degrees on a smartphone or by watching the video on YouTube.

The YouVersion Bible app is a free download for iPhones and Android devices. It is also accessible on any other web connected device or computer.

“With this reading plan believers from all over the world now have the ability to visit Israel in three ways- physically spiritually, and virtually,” said Dr. Gary Crossland, founder of The Octagon Project.

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