It's safe to say that God doesn't live on the Internet. Where cathedrals, temples, and houses of worship succeed in providing the sensation that God might feasibly hang out there, websites fail miserably. The translation from stone and stained glass to ones and zeros is clumsy at best, partially because so many of the websites are built by volunteer designers and partially because those designers insist on building websites as though no website has ever existed in the history of the Internet. To their credit, most of them seem to grasp importance of holding on to the short attention spans of accidental visitors, but they don't have a really solid plan for applying that information.
Yep, looks like heaven.
Even on the websites that clearly took months to produce, you can see the internal struggle of the designers with a newfound skill-set, trying to marry their love of God with their love of being awesome. The following are five examples of that struggle; they are genuine and earnest stabs at being both epic and pious at the same time. You'll notice that all of them are denominations of Christianity, not as a knock against the religion but because they just ended up being the most hilarious. Besides, if I'm going to throw stones it might as well be at the glass houses of people who built them around a belief system of forgiveness.
Warrior Bride International
If you're a woman who loves God but also loves stabbing stuff with a broadsword then this is probably your website. Every page features a woman in a bridal gown wielding a double edged sword, like she just carved her way through a wedding party to have these pictures taken. In terms of a hook, I'll admit to spending over an hour exploring the site for the pictures alone, so in that respect it's successful. However, if you're the type of person who is hung up on logic, and you're looking for the correlation between prayer groups and a bride prepared to kill something, you will be sadly disappointed. The closest the website offers us in terms of an explanation is this:
Then it takes a turn toward the ominous.
That's it. That passage from the bible and offhanded mention of Satan making three attempts to end her life is apparently all we're allowed to know. The relationship between the images and the text on each page is so disjointed that I wouldn't be surprised if someone handed the creator some stock photos and challenged her to make a church around them. That or the author just has a fundamental misunderstanding of the world "Warrior." And "Bride." Also, "International."
Though, there is something distinctly Eastern European about this.
Other highlights include a Warfare Store that only sells one book entitled "Breaking Open Your Alabaster Box" (which I'm loosely hoping is a guide for a warrior brides consummation of marriage) and a year-round events schedule with only one event: Tea with God. To the site's credit, if there is one event to have on a church calendar, that's certainly it.
Internet Church for Christ
As someone whose only brush with religion comes at wedding and funeral services, I'm amazed at how accurately the Internet Church for Christ elicits the same confusion and anxiety I would feel at a real church; nothing is intuitive, the imagery is confusing and it's impossible to tell what on the site is intentional and what's just broken. The home page alone is an exhausting experience; out of context quotes float across a blue sky, "John 3:16" blinks in the upper left corner like a broken VCR clock and a hive of angry butterfly-crosses follows your cursor wherever it goes.
Then all subsequent pages feel like an experiment in man's capacity for reason. They are a maze of false walls with no constants; some buttons only work once and then never work again, and all the backgrounds are tile-patterned duplications of one another providing the sensation of running across the landscape of a cartoon.
I feel like I've been here before.
Finally, the 36 menu buttons running down the side of the page are a true testament of the Church for Christ's dedication to acceptance and equality; the "Bible Study" menu button takes no precedence over "Anti-Aging Secrets," and each button is the same size regardless of whether the text fits or not. Ultimately the entire site is as close to a fever dream as you could imagine except with more GIFs and different Elvis music.
Jesus Is Savior
The Jesus is Savior website is essentially the same as the Internet Church for Christ if it were created by a furious schizophrenic. There are so many fonts, photos and hate-filled, incongruous pieces of information on the homepage that at a certain point the human eye just gives up and stares into the vast expanse of the background. The only unifying theme of the site seems to be contempt and a psychotic distrust of literally everything.
Even the links that look like they could lead to a page of genuine enthusiasm prove to have some terrible message attached.
The site antagonizes anything it can think of, and when it runs out of ideas, it starts to attack its own opinions. It's fitting that the background of the site is outer space because Jesus Is Savior feels very much like a star consuming itself out on the fringe of some galaxy.
In fact, it's surprisingly gratifying to just imagine the website creator enjoying stuff, like warm laundry or a really good sandwich on a Saturday. Sadly, even that is probably out of the question.