Scenario Two: Dan
Dan had finished his packing early. He had his clothing, his wallet, and his new Apple MacBook Pro. Last of all he had carefully packed his Bible. He often read and studied the Bible on his computer, but he still liked to have a “real” Bible. One he could hold in his hand or lay on his heart when he prayed. You see, Dan was a Christian, and Jesus was his best friend, like he often told people.
Today was a big day, and Dan could hardly wait for his father to come home to pick him up. He was starting university next week, the next step toward his dream of someday becoming a missionary doctor.
While he waited, his mother came into the living room and sat on the couch beside him. She looked him in the face and smiled at his anticipation. But her smile faded as she shared a concern with him.
“Be careful, Dan,” she said softly. “There’s a lot of danger out there. You will meet girls who will throw themselves at you, and boys who will try to get you hooked on drugs. And you’ll meet teachers who will do their best to destroy your faith.”
Dan smiled at her intensity. Intensity was his mother’s trademark.
“Yes, Mom, I’ll be careful.” He looked out the window, but his father still hadn’t arrived. “It can’t be that much worse than high school. Besides, I picked up a book in town last week, meant for new college and university students. It’s by Josh McDowell, and it’s called ‘Don’t Check Your Brains at the Door.’ You’d like it. He talks a lot about all of those things.”
He jumped to his feet as his father drove in. “Don’t worry Mom. I’ll be okay.” He leaned over and gave her a quick kiss.
Dan had often imagined witnessing to his classmates and teachers. Maybe he could start a mini-revival at the university. But things didn’t work out quite as he had hoped. His first inkling of this came when he was unpacking his belongs and getting to know his roommate. His roommate, Steve, was lounging on his bed as they chatted. But he sat up with a start when he saw Dan place his Bible on his desk. “Hey, is that a Bible?” Steve looked as incredulous as he sounded. “You’re a big boy now. You won’t need that here.”
Dan tried to witness to his new friend about his faith, eager to make his first convert. But Steve brushed it aside and responded, “Look, it’s fine if you want to believe that; it doesn’t bother me. But it will go a lot better for you here if you don’t say a lot about it. Some of those professors can be nasty. I’ve seen what they do to Christians. If you want to pass, you’ve got to stay on their good side.”
Dan soon found out how right Steve was. The whole class erupted in laughter the first time he raised a question about God’s part in developing the world. He quickly discovered that he was just making a fool of himself, and it became harder and harder for him to take his stand for what he believed. Besides, now that he had taken his stand as a Christian, several of his professors took great pleasure in ridiculing him in front of the whole class and asking questions to which he had no answers.
He had day-dreamed of people admiring him for his faith. Instead, boys refused to have coffee with him and girls refused to date him.
Because of this, Dan was grateful when one of his professors took pity on him and befriended him. It felt good to be treated kindly after the scorn he had faced. But Dr. Beasley’s friendship was poison because he had secretly made it his goal to indoctrinate Dan in the areas where he disagreed with his teachers. Because of this friendship, Dan started to stray from his beliefs. By the end of the first year, he doubted a lot of what he had learned at home. By the end of the second year, he openly professed to be a skeptic. And by the time he was through medical school, he was a dyed-in-the-wool agnostic and atheist.
His mother seldom smiled anymore when he was around. He still smiled at her, but his smile had become condescending. It was too bad that his mother still held to her old-fashioned beliefs. He knew now how foolish they were. He could out argue any Christian in his town. And he did whenever he got a chance. Besides, he knew all their faults. They were just a group of hypocrites, and he found great delight in pointing that out to them.