26. Prison Christians
Prison Christians is the continuation in a series of hubs in which I discuss my life of rebellion, dabbling in the Occult, drugs, crime and prison to life-changing conversion through Jesus Christ. Click here to read it from the beginning. In this hub, I will discuss Christianity in prison.
Finding Jesus on the Inside
One who converts to Christianity in prison is often referred to as a “prison Christian”. The term does not have good connotations. Most inmates think that accepting Jesus is a sign of weakness. They say that inmates who do so are trying to hide behind Christianity or use it as a crutch. Even members of my own family though that my conversion to Christianity in prison was just a phase.
If I were to divide prisoners up into castes, Christians would not be at the top. The top of the food chain in prison consists of gangs. Then there’s the “others”. Members of the general population, which just do their own time. Christians are equal to and sometimes even below them. Then again, many Christians are "others". Also, you have your homosexuals, snitches and child molesters (pretty much in that order). Sometimes, those casts intermingle, with many snitches and child molesters calling themselves Christians. This is one of the reasons Christianity is sometimes lowly regarded in prison.
Hard-core gang members, homosexuals and Atheists seem to have the most animosity towards prison Christians. Many gang-bangers look down on Christianity because they feel it is a crutch. It’s probably more of an issue of pride more than anything else, for them. They rely on their strength and their gang in order to be safe in prison (which doesn’t even work that well, most of the time, in my opinion). They’re not willing to take that step of faith to trust in God’s protection: "The angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear Him, and delivereth them." - Psalm 34:7, 21 Cent. KJV.
I noticed that homosexuals get really bothered over the fact that the Bible condemns their lifestyle. I think that is one of the reasons that many of them (that I have known in prison) deny the existence of God. They are either powerless or unwilling to change their life in order to conform to God’s standards; so they just reject the existence of God, altogether. They even go so far as to adopt Atheism. Problem solved, right? Not exactly; because in Lompoc FCI , there was no shortage of Bible-thumpers to remind them of their sin.
God Makes People Gay?
I am reminded of when I wrote an article to share in prison, entitled, “God Made Me this Way”. It was based on a conversation that I had with a gay man who rationalized his homosexuality, saying that God made him gay so it was acceptable. However, the Bible teaches that we are all born with sinful natures that need changing. We are not born in an acceptable condition to God. They were mad at me for that one.
I heard some new convert got a hold of my article and confronted a homosexual with it, threatening him that if he didn’t change his ways he would go to Hell. That is not the most effective form of witnessing; and I do not recommend it. New, zealous converts can be that way, sometimes. I was kind of like that; so I can relate. I learned a lot since then. Nevertheless, the new convert and homosexual got into a pushing match! A correctional officer noticed them and took them both to the hole (solitary confinement).
I heard the gay car (group) was so upset over that, that they wanted to beat me up. It never happened, though. A couple Christian neighbors of mine told me that they overheard some gays plotting on how they could get me, and they confronted them about it. They told the homosexuals, “That’s not a good idea, because X-Con is one of us. If something happens to him, it will happen to you ten times worse.” The Christians far outnumbered the gays, so nothing ever did happen.
Now, I don’t know if I agree with my brothers’ methods, fighting violence with violence. That is not the Christian way; but at least I didn’t get mobbed by a bunch of homosexuals. That would have been embarrassing. I don’t know whether I should thank God for that or not.
What is Your Faith in?
I have known a few rather devout Atheists in prison; and they tend to get pretty upset when confronted with all of the inconsistencies of the theory of evolution. They believe so blindly in evolution. I poked at them, sometimes. Once, a Christian neighbor of mine and I were having a debate with our Atheist neighbor. He was criticizing us for basing our faith in the writings of a man-made book (the Bible). My neighbor then made a good point. He told the Atheist: “You’re doing the same thing! Where did your information about evolution from? A man-made book!”
In our defense, though, I would like to add that our man-made book is more reliable than the writings of Richard Dawkins (which my neighbor happened to be reading at the time) or Charles Darwin, because it has the backing of God. It was inspired by God; and godly men were used to write it. In other words, to say that it is merely a man-made book is not correct. God is the true author of the Bible. There’s all kinds of biblical evidence for that, as well (having mostly to do with Bible prophecy).
Education Leads to Atheism—Not!
I once had a discussion with an Atheist in the chow hall who claimed that when individuals educate themselves is when they discard the Bible, because the educated man could see through the fallacies of it. I told him, “That’s funny, because I grew up in secular schools being taught evolution. It wasn’t until I became older, gained a college education and started reading the Bible that I became a Christian.”
My experience was totally the opposite. Not to mention, try telling that to Sir Isaac Newton, considered by many as the greatest physicist that has ever lived. He was a devout Bible-believer. Apart from being a physicist, he was also a theologian and author of Bible literature. Atheists who want you to believe that Christianity is an ignorant man’s religion aren’t going to tell you that, though.
In all of my time in prison, I only ran into a small handful of Atheists. The fact of the matter is, there really aren’t that many Atheists in the world, relatively speaking. A 2005 Cambridge University poll revealed that approximately 88 percent of the world said they "believe in God". The fact that society and schools are bombarded with Atheistic propaganda on a regular basis is because that small group of Atheists hold big positions of influence. This is by design.
Accepting Jesus in prison has its challenges; but it is better than not accepting Jesus at all. There are forces that work against prison Christians, like the opinions of some gang members, homosexuals and atheists. However, this is to be expected. Even the Bible tells us "that we must through much tribulation enter into the Kingdom of God" (Acts 14:22). These aren’t the only challenges that I experienced as a prison Christian. Other religions and divisions within Christianity made matters more complicated, too. I’ll go more into that in my next hub. Click on the link below to read it.