Through the heart of my Alma Mater’s main campus runs a railroad. A slow freight drags through a few times a day, typically, covered in weathered graffiti. Whistle wailing and detuned bell chiming, it shakes the library where I lived most of my college days.
As a student, I wore a lot of dark eye-make-up and went around with my backpack slung over one shoulder, which was bad for my back. I was there for academics only and typically sat in the back of the class avoiding participation. I made good grades and no friends, but I didn’t really care. I had an idea for a new book.
The idea was born under vaguely hostile conditions. The vagueness, in fact, was part of the inspiration. As it turns out, mainstream society, even in my small town has some kind of a problem with Christianity. There were a few occasions when this was very obvious, but most of the time it was just subtle enough to make me wonder if I was imagining it. Maybe I just have that “Christian Persecution Complex” they talk about. That weird paranoia that evangelicals have where they suffer from delusions that the world is out to get them. No idea where such absurd thoughts would come from.
And yet, why did so many professors feel the need to use their classes as platforms to spread their anti-Christian beliefs? In Ethics, Christianity was an outmoded faulty guide to right and wrong, in Logic God was impossible and ridiculous, in History we watched a video on the Scopes trial that took up a disproportionate amount of class time and portrayed Christians as truth-hating loonies. I learned that Christianity was an enemy of art, science, progress, personal responsibility and free thought. It promoted racism, sexism, slavery and fear and hatred of other cultures.
And it wasn’t just on campus. I remember one incident in particular on a chat-group on Goodreads. It was one of those groups where sophisticated adults have sophisticated discussions about world events. There was a thread about Islamic terrorism. Almost immediately, the topic was hijacked and changed to a slightly different subject—the increasingly relevant problem of “Christian terrorism.” Someone mentioned the Crusades and how it was probably “in their DNA” by now.
Everywhere I looked, I could see the true face of Christianity being hidden from the world and a grotesque caricature replacing it. Christians are told to keep their religion to themselves or else they’ll be discriminating against those with other beliefs. But Christianity isn’t going to be forgotten. If God’s people keep their heads down the rest of the world will have no problem building a hideous strawman in the void.
How long will society emphatically deny that they have a problem with Jesus Christ, his truth, and his followers? How long will the post-Christian world insist Christians are delusional for noticing the world is hostile to them and their God?
That's what I wondered in that train-rattled library during my college days.