I needed a Bible quote, so I Googled it. I needed a specific verse from the Bible, so, of course, I looked it up online.
I wanted to quote the verse precisely, word for word. I didn’t want to look silly by quoting scripture from the wrong book (e.g. Luke or John instead of Matthew).
So I searched for the quote. Google offered me options. One of them was at Christianity.com. I thought, “What better place than Christianity.com to get my answer?”
I clicked on the link and was immediately notified: to get access to Christianity.com I needed to disable my adblocker. The popup offered a weak apology for the annoyance. It explained how its Christian content alone wasn’t enough to “keep the lights on.”
“Strange,” I thought. “Even God and his scripture aren’t sufficient to keep a website up and running on its own?”
Yeah. Strange. I keep my site up for around 10 bucks a month, without any ads. Though, to be fair, I get no traffic.
Still, I found this ironic. Even the porno sites get by without demanding I disable my adblocker. Somehow XHamster gets by without demanding my exposure to its ads, but Christianity.com can’t. And I couldn’t help but wonder what kinds of ads God promotes. Does God (or maybe Jesus) want me to buy my running shoes from Zappos rather than DICK’s? Like Facebook, does The Almighty want me to know more and more about methods for hair loss prevention and restoration and how to easily obtain pills for erectile dysfunction without a prescription? Does Jesus want me to subscribe to The Daily Wire? Will he offer me a better rate on my car insurance? Can he offer me a deal on fresh, frozen crab legs or 15% off menstrual pads at Walgreen’s?
And how would I be sure it was God guiding me toward any of that stuff? How could I be sure it’s God and not some soulless algorithm trying to exploit my wallet through my insecurities about being bald and chronically flaccid?
I decided I needed faith. Faith that within something as representative of his religion as Christianity.com, God wouldn’t allow that to happen. I mean, he’d go ahead and crash that website if it was anything less than a fully approved, fully sanctioned vehicle for his words and will, right? Isn’t it implied by the mere existence of Christianity.com that God’s cool with it?
I decided there was no way God would allow me to be exploited through Christianity.com. I decided if he wanted to suggest I see Journey and Toto this summer, that’s probably what I needed. If he offered me some magical method for removing dental plaque at home, then obviously it was my destiny. I decided there was no way God would allow a soulless, exploitative algorithm to corrupt the purity and sanctity of his website by directing me toward shit I neither wanted nor needed.
Further, I came to understand that if God needs ads to keep his website going, he must be a Capitalist. It seemed to me there was the option, surely, to keep the site ad-free while keeping it up and running through donations (like Wikipedia). Churches, anyway, seem to be fine with asking for donations and handouts. But God wasn’t keeping his website ad-free. He must want advertisements instead of donations, so I can only interpret this as his explicit advocation for free markets and Capitalism.
So I clicked on the button to “allow ads”. I had the option to “join” but I knew that would open me up to a bunch of spam for shit I neither wanted nor needed. I chose the lesser of two evils by allowing the ads.
When I clicked, instructions popped up for how to disable my adblocker.
I cursed. It seemed like it was going to be a pain in the ass to disable my adblocker. So I decided to pray. I prayed to God to disable my adblocker for me. I figured it would be a simple enough thing for God to do if he wanted to give me access to his website.
I prayed. Then I closed the tab. I opened it back up and went to Christianity.com again. My prayer hadn’t work. The site still wanted me to disable my adblocker or submit my email in order to join and give them the holy privilege of spamming the fuck out of me.
I was dismayed and still am. I don’t know why God continues to forsake me. I don’t know why he wants to make it so damned difficult to get access to Christianity.com. If he can’t do something as simple as disable my adblocker for full and bullshit-free access to his scripture, then why should I imagine he cares about me at all?