I don't mean that it's harder for me to believe in Christ's divinity or want to live my life with Him and for Him, like I'm finding it factually difficult to believe Biblical accounts. No, nothing like that. The difficulties come from the negative feelings so many people I encounter have towards Christianity. As I've seriously considered my faith and become more active in pursuing a stronger relationship with Christ, my eyes have become more open to the hostility. Maybe it's always been there and I was too calloused to notice, but whatever shielded me before is no longer working. God Is Not Great is #3 on the NY Times bestsellers list for hardcover non-fiction, and is only the latest in several anti-religion/anti-God books to come out in the past few months. (Atheist Manifesto and God: The Failed Hypothesis come to mind.) This anti-religion mindset seems to be a major part of a lot of peoples' reasoning right now; when talking to people at school or work they are not merely 'not Christian' which would be understandable, but 'against Christians' which surprises me.
Part of that does come from the fact that for years high-profile evangelists have built themselves up onto highest pedestals, only to fall off in a fantastic display of hubris and sin. I get it. Jerry Falwell is not a popular man, and to many he embodied the fundamental evils of organized religion. But the way many people talked about his death really saddened me, because it seemed as if many folks couldn't separate one man's organization and decisions from an entire religion, of which he represented only a most extreme view. Falwell, Jim Bakker and Jimmy Swaggart are not the faces of all of Christianity but they are the first thing many people think of and it's difficult to get past that perception.
After the negativity stirred by these televangelists and others, it's difficult to talk about my faith with other people. I'm not even talking about “You should covert to Christianity because you'll go to hell if you don't!” They've heard faith-spiels like that before and certainly I don't need to be the one recycling those words. But I can't even say something like “I went to church last Saturday and the pastor had a sermon about relationships. The breakdown of the family unit and the frantic pace of modern life has led to a emptiness in our generation, because we have trouble forming and maintaining friendships. I thought that was an interesting perspective.” From there comes the assumption that I'm trying to convert everyone to Christianity, when really I just want to talk about an idea I thought was neat. It's hard to find someone my age willing to talk about spiritual matters; many people seem to be too busy thinking about parties or concerts or money or school to think about it.
Many people – at least in this area – just seem so opposed to the idea of Christians because they think they're judgemental, pushy, etc. etc. that if you are a Christian they absolutely won't talk to you about it. That's frustrating.