Good times, noodle salad.

Remember this exchange from As Good As It Gets?

Carol: “OK, we all have these terrible stories to get over, and you-“

Melvinl: “It’s not true. Some have great stories, pretty stories that take place at lakes with boats and friends and noodle salad. Just no one in this car. But, a lot of people, that’s their story. Good times, noodle salad.”

There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio…

Ross Douthat does just a bit of musing on Christopher Hitchens’ God is not Great, or rather, on Michael Kinsley’s review of it. His criticism: Kinsley makes no call on the effectiveness of Hitchens’ argument. One of the commentors (and it’s great fun to see atheists and believers mix it up in the comments), fires off this little bit:

“Ross totally misses the point here. The reason Kinsley does not evaluate the persuasiveness of Hitchens’ argument is because how persuasive it is depends entirely on what your religious faith is. The fact is, no atheist writer– not Hitchens or anyone else– is going to convince a devout believer to give up his or her beliefs. Similarly, Rick Warren and Joel Osteen and Pope Benedict aren’t going to convince atheists and agnostics who have really thought about these things to become Christians.”

It’s a tempting claim; there are times when I’ve felt the same thing with regard to abortion: the line has been drawn, and nobody is going to read/think/talk their way across the line in either direction. But, at least with regard to religious belief, it simply isn’t true. Most of the converts I have known (not that I’ve known a great many) have read their way into the Church. I’m sure that’s not the whole story, but the books do seem to matter. So while some people may never convert, other people have good times and noodle salad.

Comments

  1. AnotherCoward says

    I remember a long time ago when we first started talking here your brother or sister-in-law saying that perhaps the time for apologetics is dead for similar reasons (i.e. we’re so ontologically estranged and entrenched).

    I will not abandon hope that words/ideas and passion will influence and change people. Sure, it may not happen over night, but then these kinds of changes are not deterministic. It really does take some measure of Grace and personal willingness for chinks in the armor to emerge and unravel – perhaps more today than ever.

  2. People may talk not talk “others” over the line, but they can still, if they’re honest, talk/think/read THEMSELVES over the line.

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