Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Not a Post about Goat Cheese

As I've said a number of times in the past, I'm not a friendly atheist; I'm a cantankerous one. I don't find it productive to debate with religionists about their beliefs and my lack of same. Wasting my breath like that makes me cranky. It's like my arguing with my wife over goat cheese: No matter what I say, she's never going to believe that it tastes good, and no matter what she says, I'm never going to stop loving it.

But my wife and I have learned to accommodate one another. I don't try to force or cajole her to eat the stuff, and she doesn't make disgusted faces when I gorge on it.

In the same way, I think atheists and moderate/progressive religionists can learn to accommodate one another. They must accept that they can't ram their supernatural goat cheese down our throats, and they also shouldn't attempt to sneak it into our meals when we're not looking. We have to agree not to try to ban it from their philosophical tables, and to stop sneering whenever they express a love that we find nonsensical and unpalatable.

Recently, I've been engaging in a dialogue with Chuck Blanchard, who calls himself A Guy in the Pew. I first found his blog through my Google News Alerts; Blanchard had written a post as hard on the creationists as anything I've seen coming from the Atheosphere. As I explored his blog further, I noticed that the one anti-creationist post was not just a flash in the pan; he'd even sent his readers to check out P.Z. Myers over at Pharyngula.

Blanchard is interested in the sudden outpouring of attention-getting atheist books. He and I had a few back-and-forths on this subject, mostly through comments on his blog, but also through private emails. Today, he posted his response to our conversations. I highly recommend that you read it. Be sure to watch the included YouTube video, which further supports his ideas.

Having said something nice about a Christian, I'll now return to my regularly scheduled deprogramming. Just as soon as I finish this hunk of goat cheese.


Chuck Blanchard said...


Thanks for the link. I look forward to our continued dialogue.

Anonymous said...

I've commented on Chuck's blog. It's nice to encounter open minded Christians. Thanks for the link.

Fran / Blue Gal said...

very cool I'm linking you both at Crooks and Liars tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

This is good. We really should spend more time on believer's blogs than on atheists blogs, for two reasons.

1.) It's all just mutual masturbation with us telling each other those things we already believe. We're preaching to the choir (I just made that phrase up. You may use it if you'd like).

2.) We need to keep our minds open to other ideas. We'll stagnate here in atheist blogland eventually.

I alluded to this a bit at the end of my last post. The trick is to keep the discussions civil. I've seen them degenerate to a level of embarrassment.

Anonymous said...

it is a link that I followed, but the idea of having a conversation with a religious person about religion is just too painful for someone that doesn't live in fantasy land. I can understand it if you are in training to be a diplomat, or work in a facility that uses tree nuts.

Anonymous said...

You can AFFORD to gorge on goat cheese or do you keep goats?
Damn, I wish I could!

The Exterminator said...


Apparently, you followed the link but you didn't get what Chuck and I were discussing. As I said clearly at the beginning of this post, I don't think there's any point in having a conversation about religion with believers. But that's not what we were discussing.

We were talking about, among other subjects, the sudden rise of media attention for atheist books. That's a literary/cultural topic, not a religious one. Yes, we each brought our own worldview into play when we kicked things around -- but we avoided kicking one another. Rest assured, however, that neither of us wasted our time in preaching.


No, I can't really afford to gorge on goat cheese, either financially or dietarily. However, atheists believe we only get one shot at existence. If I don't enjoy my occasional pig-out now, I'm not going to find it in some dairy-rich afterlife. So who am I to contradict metaphysics?

As the folks say: What a friend we have in Cheeses.

Anonymous said...

It's a quote, I know, but I have also heard it said, "Blessed are the cheesemakers..."

I guess that the Chinese statesman who claimed that patriotism is mainly the habit of eating certain things for breakfast.

It's a matter of faith. I've known people who didn't like goat or sheep cheese. If it was mentioned, they made the revulted face and utterd words of considered first hand knowledge, like, "Yuck!" They didn't like it. Oddly, none of these people had ever eayen any, but: THEY KNEW IT TASTED AWFUL. It was a matter of faith, I guess.

Goats milk and sheeps milk have to be handled a bit differently than cow's milk, I know that will effect the taste of any end product. I have, in my life, milked cows, sheep, goats, and one horse.

You're right, T, we only go around once. Most people like their comfort zone, explore nothing.