Soft spots

A lot of you might be wondering if, since I went on this trip, and because I’m supporting a Christian effort, that I would either, (one) become a Christian or, (two) perhaps, take a lighter stand toward Christianity and religion.

I mean, look at me. I’m blogging on another web site to avoid having Jimmy and Pieter’s friends and family search here for information about the trip. I’m risking health. I’m making quite the personal investment into a Christian cause. It’s as if I’m not proud of my station in life.

You might say, “Look at ol’ Witteveen … he’s got a soft spot for Christianity.”

Well, yes and no, I don’t think I have a soft spot for Christianity at all. I have a soft spot for many Christians, they happen to make up many of my friends and family.

There’s been an ongoing discussion between Jimmy and Pieter about how god is working on this trip. How he is working to free the Montagnards who are living in destitute situations to avoid being imprisoned by local authorities. They focus on how this trip materialized very quickly. The money was raised fast.

Both Jimmy and Pieter see the hand of providence in all of this. And I understand their perspective. But it’s not how I see it.

I see two men, impassioned by a cause, with contacts who are impassioned by a cause. I see Pieter’s and Jimmy’s hands at work to free the Montagnards, not god’s.

My Christian upbringing taught that god was all powerful. That if he could create the universe in six short days, surely he could do the impossible, like free Montagnards from their situations.

The way I see it, if this were the case, god wouldn’t need Jimmy and Pieter. God could do this handiwork on his own, take all the credit, and fall asleep in front of his god-sized mirror flexing his muscles.

I’m a humanist. I see humanity’s work.

I mean, look at an even bigger picture. There are about nine million people in Bangkok. There are 66 million people in Thailand. The super majority of these people are Buddhist. These are happy people. Calm. Warm. Welcoming. Hospitable. By Christian standards, all 66 million of these people will roast in hell for eternity. There are a few Christians here. Yay!

There’s another 14 million buddhist living in Cambodia. All of these people are hell bound. For what? Because they were born in the wrong religion?

That fact alone is a breaking point for me. It has been since I traveled the world before. Once I saw how many different people lived throughout the world who could care less about Christianity, it just kind of fell off like a leprous limb.

I know Pieter and Jimmy would disagree with me. That’s not my problem. My dad is thrilled that he could spend two weeks with me traveling around Asia working for a greater good. I am thrilled too.

I have no doubt that Christianity is real to Christians. When I was a Christian, I was damn sure of it too. If you were a Christian before, I bet you were convinced too.

No one has tried to convert me while I have been on this trip. Both Jimmy and Pieter have been very respectful. And I hope it shows that I’ve been respectful toward them.

I’m not miserable listening to their religious discussions. I get it. There was a time when I talked like that, too.

Jimmy’s head would explode if I explained my views to him.

Besides, Tina told me before I left that if I came back a Christian, she’d leave me.


In the hospital

If we’re not friends on facebook, you probably don’t know that I’m in the hospital right now in Bangkok.

I had a rough night last night. Fever and diarrhea.

My dad came in my room this morning, and I said, “There is absolutely no way I’m getting on a plane today for Cambodia.”

He said he’d get a doctor. We ended up in an ambulance, and I was admitted immediately into a hospital. I’ve been on an I.V. drip all day and taking antibiotics.

I should get some sleep, but I wanted to update here, since I’ve been so quiet lately.

The doctor said I have a gastric infection. Jimmy says the devil is trying to get me. I’m pretty sure I’m going with gastric infection. There’s nothing like western medicine to get a man back on his feet again.

I already feel tons better.

I really am having a great time. And despite being in the hospital, I’m in a great mood. I knew I was sick for some time. And it took ruining my sheets this morning to prove to my dad that I needed more than rest.

The hospital is nicer than any of the rooms that we’ve stayed in so far here.

I update the r25 productions blog here. It gives more details of what we were up to before the devil got me.