Going to Hell

I had met Nok (not her real name) at a party hosted by a Thai friend.  I don’t remember how we came to chatting but it turned out that she was a graphic artist and somehow the conversation took off from there.

Over the next week or so we tried to arrange a time we could meet up and hang out but our schedules just didn’t seem to cooperate.  Finally, a day or two before I departed we met at the sky train station near Paragon.

It was early evening and so we went and got a coffee at Starbucks and continued the getting to know you process we had begun at the party.  She was a very intelligent girl but she suffered from the disease called low self-esteem.  She was new to Bangkok, had very few friends here, and was from Isaan (gasp).

I could tell she didn’t feel comfortable hanging out in this shrine to the hi-so lifestyle so we finished our coffees and began meandering around Bangkok.  We passed the outdoor temple near Central World and she asked if I would mind if she went inside.

We entered and I gave her some money to buy two packages of incense.  She showed me how to pray/meditate at each station and then to place three incense sticks beneath the Buddha statue.

As we were leaving me she took notice of the crucifix on my necklace and asked if I was Christian.  I told her that I was and she stopped, looked up at me like a small child, and asked “But I had Christian friends at university and they said that they could never pray in a Buddhist temple because they would go to hell.”

I laughed, which I know didn’t help the situation any as she would likely feel I was laughing at her but I had no other way to respond.  I told her that Christ would have respected Buddha.  I explained that they both taught many of the same things.

I then tried to articulate the difference between showing respect to Buddha and worshiping him.  I can pay homage to Buddha without worshiping because I’m confident enough in my own spirituality that I don’t have to constantly threaten myself with going to hell to know that I’m basically a good person.

I think she understood.  At least she told me she did.

When I returned home we chatted a few times on IM but things more or less fizzled out and we haven’t kept in contact much.  I wonder how she’s doing.

2 thoughts on “Going to Hell

  • January 5, 2009 at 6:59 am
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    Good reply, but I would wonder why a sensible person like the author could believe in “christ” that provides salvation just for believing in “him” anyway.

    The christian bible clearly states that only followers of christ will be “saved” and that those who don’t believe in him will not be saved. A believing paedophile goes to heaven and a non-believing philanthropist goes to hell. You either believe in that foolishness or you don’t. Which is it?

    Fortunately, most people realise that the bible is just a book of fiction anyway.

  • June 21, 2009 at 7:45 pm
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    Steve, whatever your views on Christianity, to claim that “most people realise that the Bible is just a book of fiction anyway” is a bit of a broad statement. Is that based on your own empirical evidence, have you done the research, or are you merely projecting your own, ill-informed, views onto “most people”? Fact is, the Bible is the one book that has sold the most copies in the world and been in print the longest. So I would hazard a guess that “most people” don’t actually have a problem with it. In any event, there is plenty of evidence, provided by non-Christians, for the truthfulness of the Bible. Archeology has for years been proving its veracity. That you have a problem with Jesus claiming to be God, I can accept, or the virgin birth or Christ’s resurrection from the dead. But to claim that the Bible is a book of fiction is pretty stupid.

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