Often my mind doesn’t work fast enough to say interesting things in real time. I need to think about things a short time and then let them shift down into my sub-conscious where they stew and then I finally can put things together that might seem very obvious in hindsight.
The story of the disturbed young man who died in an attempt to bring Christianity where it wasn’t wanted is a case in point. I read a story or two and googled a few minutes and it seemed like a waste of a young life and I put it away behind issues of first contact and the great physical danger he must have known he posed to the natives.
The Welcome Wagon….
Then I realized what might have been going on. He had a death wish but his religion made conventional suicide a mortal sin (or whatever his evangelical equivalent of that was). Described as an ‘adventurer’ or ‘explorer’ there was a pattern of what seemed like reckless and foolhardiness that seemed counter to valuing one’s own life.
So the reason he wasn’t worried about contaminating the natives was that he was counting on not being a danger to them. They probably didn’t want to kill him if they didn’t have to which is why they first aimed at his bible but he wouldn’t stay away and so they did what he had to know they would do.
I’m not sure if this was all consciously worked or if it was subconscious but if I’m right it was a win-win situation for him. He ended the life that had been vexing him in the service of his religion and escaping the no suicide clause of the salvation contract. Yeah, I could be wrong but I don’t think I am. Just don’t ask me to bet my life on it….