Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – a Christian commenter comes slinking back, and a question: why believe one and not the others?

(Januaryy 22 – an addendum.  We have one Christian who answered the question at the end of this post.  You may find what he said here. He believes in other gods in addition to his god.  There are arguments for and, of course, against this in the bible.)

Happy New Year!  Welcome new “followers”.  I noted that some of you are theists, so this post might interest you. If you do decide to reply on your own blog, please do let me know.  Some of you might recall a lengthy exchange between myself and a self-described Christian commenter named KD on this blog.  After insisting that he was leaving, that this blog was pointless etc etc, he has slunk back to give me a lovely bit of glurge.

all images thanks to
all images thanks to

“I had been dating a girl for a month and a half. I was head over heels for her. I had prayed one night that I wanted to marry her. If it was God’s will.

Then December 20, 2007 came along. I had a meeting with a Staff member of the College Ministry that I was involved with. We planned on meeting at the mall but something came up and he couldn’t make it. So I had some time and decided to wander around a little bit.

I guess God took me seriously…as I was praying I was led to a Jewelry store. I figured I could find out about the 4 C’s of diamonds and get an idea of price of rings. I sat down with the sales woman and she explained what Cut, Color, Clarity, and Carat all meant and gave me pricing on a diamond and ring setting. The whole time I’m praying that God is leading me during this whole process and that as I’m looking at these diamonds and ring settings that He shows me the ring for the woman he desires me to marry.

Well, the sales woman was good. And the store had a good deal going on. And I walked out having bought an engagement ring…

A little over a week later. I’m watching a movie with my girlfriend and our conversation turned to marriage. We had both felt like we could see ourselves getting married one day. This was the first time we had this conversation with one another. As the days went on we talked about getting engaged and planning for a wedding. I asked her to start looking at rings and what she would like so I had some ideas of what to get her (she had no idea I had already bought a ring).

One night, when I got to her place she had been studying up on diamonds and looking at rings. I go with her and she pulls the ring setting that she liked up and started by saying “I don’t know how much you are looking to spend on a ring, I like this ring setting…but I don’t like the diamond…I would like it in this cut, color, clarity, and carat.”

After she was done showing me I excused myself and went in the bathroom. I began to cry over the ring she had picked out. We loved each other, we both wanted to get married to each other…but our first commitment was to honoring God. and I had made a vow to God when I bought the ring. That I would wait to marry the woman who the ring I bought was intended for.

So, I sat in the bathroom and cried. I was overwhelmed.

You see, the ring setting she showed me, the cut, color, clarity, and carat of the diamond she desired and described was identical to the ring God led me to buy in the store that day.

My wife’s wedding ring is more than a token of our love for one another, more than a symbol of our commitment to one another. Her ring, for me, is evidence of God’s love and grace. Of God’s promises and His answer to prayers.”

This is “how to respond to a theist 101”, so if you are new to the procedure, feel free to create your own rebuttal below in comments.   I’ve already done so in my response to his comment, which you can link to in the next paragraph.

You can read his entire post here and my response here. The question I want to ask everyone, especially theists, is:

This story is similar to so many others e.g. the theist claims that their god answered their prayer positively.  It was offered to impress an atheist with how “real” this god was and how it did things.  Would you accept this story if it invoked Allah or the Wiccan Goddess or any other of a hundred thousand gods? Why or why not?


From the Kitchen and Bar – goulash, more pork and a couple of wines

These past several weeks have been a blur thanks to me working retail over the holidays.  It was my first experience in doing so and the fact that I work in a meat department made it quite unique.  Here in the US, there are various traditions for what one eats for what holiday.  Ham and beef rib roast are usual for Christmas.  Here in Pennsylvania, pork cooked with sauerkraut is common for New Year’s Day, thanks to our Germanic heritage.  So we had hundreds, or maybe thousands of people desperate to achieve their ideal of holiday meat.    This makes people nuts as far as I can tell.  Suddenly, people who are assumed sane at any other time now buy $400 roasts, having never cooked anything like it before.   The reason for that ridiculous price?  I’m not sure if it’s common around the world, but the US has a beef grading system that has some beef considered “prime” which makes it about 3-5 times as much per pound than the next grade down, “choice”.  It’s from younger cattle and it has a greater amount of fat marbled through the muscle.  I personally find it far too fatty, but as always some are willing to pay to be seen to pay.

I did have a chance to cook a few things during the craziness, and of course found a few new things to drink.

goulash.  I love my la creuset pot

First up is beef goulash.  I have about half my ancestry as Hungarian but my relatives weren’t much on the cooking.  So I found a goulash recipe at one of the places we visited up in the Finger Lakes.  It was pretty much like the one at Saveur, so I saw what was common between the two and went with that.  The sweet taste of the paprika is very prominent, as well as the sweetness of the root vegetables.  One of those veggies was parsnips.  I remember trying them when I was young and finding them nasty.  I rather like their sweet muskiness now.  I did not use potatoes in my version.  I used the spaetzel noodles with it and of course, crusty rolls.

I used chuck roast, actually a cut called a “chuck eye”.  It’s one of the muscles in the chuck (shoulder) that doesn’t do much and is quite tender.  It also has a decent amount of fat so it cooks down soft and luscious.  It’s been called one of the butcher’s secrets. They aren’t very common to see in the states, so scoop them up when you see them.  Ask for them at the supermarket, there may be some in the back that they can’t get rid of since few are familiar with them.

roast porkThe other big meal I made was yet another pork shoulder.  These last us about 6 months, eating one meal from it and then freezing the roasted meat to make bao and whatever else I can think of.  I cut the skin in small diamonds so it would crisp up better.

The wine with this was a bottle from Greece.  From Boutari wines, it is a Santorini wine from the Assyrtiko grape.  I picked it up because it was one of the few bottles that mentioned the wine being good with pork.  It was very dry and had a nice honey scent.  It really did go excellently with fatty pork.  For around $12, I think it was a happily lucky pick.

I also got a bubbly wine for New Year’s Eve.  I worked until late afternoon and people were still wandering around looking for “a good piece of pork”.  The bubbly was a cava from Spain, Cintra Purpura SemiSec, from Juve y Camps (beware, autoplay music  and damn near impossible to navigate website). I was happy to find a demi-sec at the state store, rather than the usual brut or extra dry.  It was just sweet enough, but not like Asti Spumante, an infamously sweet bubbly.  A very nice wine to see out the old year.

That’s it for now. Eat well!  May you all have a fine 2014!