For this post, I decided to include passages from two journal entries. 16 years ago, I wrote this in my journal:
I officially joined 1st Baptist Church of Nowata last Sunday. Afterward, I and several others went to Pat’s house where we ate and talked for a while. I’m growing a lot socially, especially when praying out loud with others. It was a great experience. Pat is also aware that Y2K will be a serious problem for our economy. We didn’t talk much about it, but they’re making some preparations too.
The latest on the net: a retired naval office (Jim Lord, a reliable Christian minister) has a friend in the navy who leaked to him a survey that the navy did on cities with naval bases to see how prepared they are for Y2K. It’s about half and half. Some will have electric and gas, but no water or sewer. For others it will be vice versa or some other combination. It looks bad. And many other countries in Europe may have no utilities. The navy later said that the report was worst-case scenario and if that’s true then the best-case scenario would still kill our fragile economy.
— August 22nd, 1999
Everything on the Internet shows that Y2K still looks really bad. Many utility companies who said they’d be done by July now say they’ll be ready be December. This is all so crazy! What if nothing happens? Even in that case this country is still in serious trouble! I’ve been reading more about communist countries and how Christians are persecuted there and I see it happening here. People here have no concept how wrong and evil communism really is. How they hate the family, Christians, and any kind of organized worship and how the people basically become slaves to the communist party. It will happen here in America someday. Maybe then, the church will open her eyes and revival will come, but I’m certain that judgement will come first.
— August 29th, 1999
Dear Former Self,
I think it’s funny how you immediately referred to Jim Lord as “a reliable Christian minister.” How do you know he’s reliable? How long have you been following his work? Have you been fact-checking his articles? Do you know anything about him other than that he’s a Christian minister? I didn’t think so.
This Jim Lord character could be lying and you would have no idea. He says he has a “friend in the navy” who leaked to him a classified document? Come on. You need to be more skeptical than that. But of course, it never even occurs to you to be skeptical when it comes to Christians. You just assume that if someone is a Christian, he or she must be an honest person. So naive.
As you get older, you’re going to learn something about people: they lie. I know, it’s hard to believe, but sometimes people lie. Especially Christians. Since their lives are all about walking the line between fantasy and reality, they have a tendency to exaggerate. Some of them do it for attention, while others actually convince themselves of their own lies. But either way, it’s bullshit.
One reason people fall for conspiracy theories is because they think to themselves, “Why would anyone make all this up?” Someday you’re going to spend a lot more time on the Internet, and you’re going to discover “leaked documents” about how the government is planning on rounding up dissenters and putting them in FEMA camps, and it’s going to scare the Hell out of you. The reason you’ll be scared is because the documents look so real. Who would go to the trouble to make fake documents? I’ll tell you: a compulsive liar. The sooner you figure out that some people are liars, the better.
I also need to comment on something you said: “I’ve been reading more about communist countries and how Christians are persecuted there and I see it happening here.” Tell me, in what way are Christians being persecuted in America? Specifically? In many communist countries, Christians were rounded up, imprisoned, and even tortured. When is the last time an American was arrested and tortured just for being a Christian?
Because of Bible verses like John 15:18 and 2 Timothy 3:12, you like to think that you’re being persecuted, but you’re not. If Christians were truly persecuted, you’d be desperately praying for it to stop. The reality is that 3/4 of America is Christian and you almost have to be a Christian to get elected president.
As always, you’re living in a fantasy world–one where you’re a fearless Christian living in a dystopian society where Christianity will be outlawed as soon as the economy collapses. The truth is much more boring: You’re a white Christian man in a country where white Christian men are in charge. Stop playing pretend and look around.
— Matt, January 27th, 2016
This is part of an ongoing series called Letters to My Former Self.