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Home > Culture and Society

WAWIBF...The Church of Fools

27 May 2004

You may remember about a year ago a website calling itself the Ship of Fools set up something called The Ark. Billed as 'the world's first internet reality gameshow', the Ark was where you went if the idea of 'Big Brother meets the Bible' appealed to you. And - in a kind of 'let's give the Christians a bit of credit for at least trying to be cool' type way - it was almost fun. Bless them.

Their latest attempt to bring in the heathens is called 'Church of Fools', which, it has to be said, sounds a lot closer to the mark. As you might suspect, what we're talking about here is an online church, or as the people who created it rather grandly (and wrongly) put it, 'the UK's first web-based 3D church'.

Sadly, once you enter the church of fools, you very quickly realise that there is only one thing in the world more boring than a real church, and that is an online church. In this particular online church, you can walk around, kneel, sit down, stand up, pray, cross yourself and say Hallelujah. Or you can wander into the crypt by the vending machines and have a good old chinwag about God.

Apparently it used to be a lot more interesting. Earlier this week there was also a 'shout' function, designed no doubt for those Christians overtaken with the desire to loudly proclaim their love of the Lord to the assembled congregation.

Unfortunately a few bad apples took this as their cue to holler wholly inappropriate phrases such as, "Satan loves you". You have to laugh. The shout function has now been removed. You can still talk to people apparently, but only your immediate neighbour will hear you. And should you choose to curse the Baby Jesus, you will apparently be smote by church wardens.

So really, at the end of the day, what you have is a badly animated chat room set in a badly animated church with badly animated conversation. Dull dull dull and dull. There is a sign in the church. It says, 'This may feel like a chat room, but please do not swear, practice your chat-up lines, or harass others. People come here to pray, talk to others and find quiet.'

Bor-ing. Add to this the fact that nine times out of ten the site crashes before you can even set foot through the church door and you might as well dispense with the crappy graphics and go find an ordinary chat room. Or of course, if you're up to leaving the house, you could always pop along to your real-life local church.

But don't forget your 'Satan Loves You' placard. And your walkman.

Comment on this article: letters@thefridaything.co.uk

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