Johnson tried hard to hold back the tears as he hugged his family for the last time before they began the long trip back home without him. His mother wasn’t so wrapped up in appearing tough and independent, so her tears freely carved channels down her face and onto her blouse. The younger siblings each received a rather self-conscious hug and the dad a firm handshake. Johnson turned, grabbed his last suitcase full of college necessities, and thus began his college career.
Johnson knew his Bible. And he knew the reality of what life was going to be like at a state school. Thankfully he’d been able to get himself transferred away from the original dorm he’d been placed in. The whole progressivist co-ed dorm thing declared itself to be “more exciting” than normal dorm life. Johnson would take dorm life as known to humanity since two guys named Cain and Able invented sharing the bedroom 8,000 years ago, thank you very much.
As he arranged his small collection of family pictures and mementoes of high school success, he thought about the life he was entering, and the life he was now stepping beyond. Gone were the fast friends he had made through youth group, as they were cast about by the wind to different colleges throughout the country. You go where the scholarship money leads. Gone was the church that had taught him how a felt board operated, that had heard his testimony before he was buried into the waters of baptism. Gone was the pastor’s office whose walls would speak of special times of counsel and direction, of words of prayer for protection while beginning this new life. And gone was the Christian high school that promised to prepare its students for life beyond its walls. The preparation was done. It’s show time. New church to choose, new friends to make, and new perspectives to dismantle.
Warily Johnson eyed his biology professor from the fourth row. This was the moment that he had been prepared for. As an infant he had grappled with Gerber creamed carrots in his stomach, and complex arguments for the dating of the Noahic flood in his mind. His school books had all dedicated themselves to debunking Darwinists as foolish and misled, parasites who longed to feed their parasitic egos on the souls of the young and the naive. Darwinists were fools, hardly more competent to draw rational conclusions from scientific data than the monkeys they claimed to have descended from.
And then the professor opened his mouth and addressed the class. He welcomed them, warmly, to their first day of class. Nervous laughter greeted his jokes about first-day experiences. He opened the door of his office to anyone who wanted to talk with him. And then he began to teach. And it didn’t sound as crazy as when Johnson’s pastor had described it in his Sunday morning series on Genesis.
Enter the war in Johnson’s heart. Those who love Jesus have told him that everyone who believes in Darwinism is a fool, a chest-beating buffoon who knows nothing of fairness nor decency. Those Darwinists he has encountered have proven to be none of those things. In fact, it’s the pastor who’s beginning to look like he doesn’t know what he’s talking about, for his representation of the insanity of Darwinism and the coherent thought that is marched out every Tuesday and Thursday from 12:20 to 1:50 resemble each other as much as his mother and a howler monkey.
Six months later, Johnson’s mother is overcome with tears before her son again. Only this time there is no joy mingled in the cup of sadness. Just fear. Her son has come home from college, riddled with doubts about everything he had been raised to believe. Not just about the age of the earth, but of the reality of the cross and the existence of God. After all, how could there be a God who orders events so that little Japanese children are swept away by tsunamis and their parents are radiated by exploding nuclear power facilities, doomed to the slow surrender of their bodies to cancer.
“How did this happen?” she cries to her husband. “How does everything we taught him for 18 years get swept away by the current of everything he was taught to beware of?”
If we content ourselves with teaching caricature, we’ll accomplish nothing more than to create an army of people who desert what we’ve taught them for what we fear most they’ll believe.