If you could have dinner with 3 living people (1 celebrity, 1 atheist, and 1 Christian), who would you choose?
Find out why I picked the three people above, and see who just missed the cut.
Celebrity: Charles Barkley
Barkley, also known as “The Round Mound of Rebound,” is a basketball legend and an entertaining NBA analyst. He’s known for saying WHATEVER is on his mind, like when he said there are some “big ol women in San Antonio”—and then didn’t apologize. He’s also starred in ridiculous cell phone commercials.
My favorite introduction to Chuck, however, is a great music video somebody made of him: “I May Be Wrong (But I Doubt It).” It features the moon, him spouting his basketball knowledge, and cats. What’s not to love?
Having dinner with Charles would be an adventure. You’d never know what he’d say, but you know he’d be honest.
Atheist: Massimo Pigliucci
Pigliucci has THREE doctorates! Who in the world has doctorates in philosophy, botany, and genetics? Fun fact, I know how he was able to learn so much. I found some footage of Massimo studying.
For real, though, Pigliucci is a great thinker and writer. If you haven’t checked out his new blog, you’re missing out.
Pigliucci would bring a wealth of knowledge to dinner.
Christian: Conor Cunningham
Cunningham is a theologian and philosopher who teaches at the University of Nottingham. He wrote the best book I’ve ever read on evolution and Christianity, which he also turned into a BBC documentary. (Seriously, if you only read/watch one thing on this blog, check out his awesome documentary.)
Right now, he’s working on a book about neuroscience and the soul. I’ll give you a sneak peek: “It’s not the soul in the body. Rather, it’s actually the body in the soul.”
I think he’s a brilliant guy, but his humor made me choose him as my last dinner guest:
- He uses European slang I don’t understand.
- He chooses funny illustrations to drive home theological points—like talking about his wife’s “bum.”
Cunningham would bring great wisdom and humor to the dinner table. I think Charles and Conor would get along very well, or at least have some hilarious moments.
It was tough choosing only three people. I’ll share a few other candidates I considered, and why they’re rad:
Celebrity: Nic Cage
For obvious reasons. Fun fact: A new Cage trailer came out this week, and it looks glorious. Check out the movie’s IMDb summary:
A mysterious warrior teams up with the daughter and son of a deposed Chinese Emperor to defeat their cruel Uncle, who seeks their deaths.
As you’ve probably guessed, Cage plays the “mysterious warrior.” Nic’s a former Crusader (with a strange British accent?) who is also known as “the White ghost.”
Oh, and this movie also features Hayden Christensen, of Star Wars fame. Feast your eyes on the trailer.
Atheist: Chris Stedman
As I’ve already written, Stedman is the bomb.com. Unfortunately, I don’t think he’s related to Chet Steadman, Gary Busey’s character in Rookie of the Year.
Christian: Krista Tippett
Tippett is an award-winning religion reporter who hosts a wonderful podcast: On Being with Krista Tippett. I’d love to see her interactions with Cage.
7 thoughts on “Pick 3 for Dinner: 1 Celebrity, 1 Atheist, and 1 Christian”
I think I would pick one of those YouTube atheist guys who answer a bunch of random loaded questions with a response that was plagiarized from atheists who actually think critically. These guys get millions of views, and thus have a huge impact on society, but probably aren’t actually all that intelligent. (Note: this would be me if I tried to do philosophical videos on YouTube. Hence the reason I don’t.)
Here I am probably going to go with David Bentley Hart. The dude is really smart. He is also kind a major d-bag (for good reason…usually). If I’m looking for a guy to put one of those YouTube clowns in his place, I want a guy who can add a little saltiness to the wound. I’m picturing Matt Damon taking it to that pony boy in the bar in Good Will Hunting (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ymsHLkB8u3s). Meanwhile I get to play the role of Casey Affleck–pop some snacks and say “My boy is wicked smaat.”
(Note: I was going to pick Matt Chandler here since I’m a fanboy and all. But then I would’ve wanted to talk to him. DBH, on the otherhand, would allow me to focus on my real plan…)
The beautiful, brilliant Natalie Portman. While DBH drones on endlessly about god-knows-what, Natalie would most definitely get bored. Clearly a woman of her conversational caliber would not desire to sit and be lectured by Al Borland’s twin brother — these types of goddesses need stimulating conversation and attention. She simply wanted to enjoy a nice dinner and when all hope seems lost… I swoop in. Game. Set. Match. The way I see it, I get a clean hour with my future-wife to win her over while DBH and YouTubeGuy have diarrhea of the mouth. She’ll have no choice but to fall in love with me. Then we’ll go do crazy ballet and stuff together.
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I have no response, since that was perfect.
But really, I do have a response.
I love that you made not one, but two ’90s references: Good Will Hunting and Al Borland. That last one, Borland, really got me. I think I’m going to steal it for my next round of atheist/theologian doppelgängers.
Celebrity: “Weird” Al Yankovic
-Most successful parody artist of all time
-Longevity – He has survived almost 40 years in a brutal, ever-changing industry, and has maintained relevance. Achieved his first overall #1 album THIS year.
-Methodical songwriter – Many dismiss his job as “easy” because the originals are already written. I’ve written songs (including parodies) for years, and parodies are HARD.
-Good-natured, humble guy from all I can tell.
-There is so much I would want to discuss with Al, I think I could have dinner with him every day for a month straight and not get bored.
-Interesting fact – He’s also a church-going Christian, even though he doesn’t wear it on his sleeve.
Atheist: Michael Shermer
-Founder of Skeptics Society & Skeptic Magazine
-Intelligence – When he speaks in public or publishes text, it’s always very well researched, thought out, and scientifically backed.
-He embraces skepticism as a filter through which he views everything, including scientific claims, not just religion, with the ultimate goal of countering innate psychological biases and practicing and promoting accurate thinking.
-He has publicly changed his stance when presented with sufficient evidence (e.g., global warming).
-He’s an active advocate for skepticism without at all being a jerk. He brings across powerful, poignant points without being rude, arrogant, or insulting towards religious people:
Christian: Perry Marshall
-Professional Digital Marketer (Google Adwords & Facebook Ads Expert), Former Engineer, Writer / Speaker on Faith, Science & Theology
-Breadth of professional expertise – As an engineer, Perry designed the speakers on cars like the ’94 Ford Probe & ’95 Jeep Cherokee. He wrote a technical book on industrial ethernet. Now he’s a top consultant in online marketing. I love cross-pollinated ideas from various fields.
-Breadth of life experience & interests – He has written about adopting a child from China, about traveling to Africa (his experience with stark poverty, charity work, micro-loans & entrepreneurship). Big fan of prog rock group Rush.
-Faith & Science blog – CosmicFingerprints.com – has a fantastic video & articles addressing mechanisms of evolutionary mutation, questioning the notion that “DNA copying errors” drive meaningful change, using insights from evolutionary biology experiments, Google ads, communication theory, linguistics, etc.
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Great list, Eddie! Man, I LOVE the Weird Al pick.
I’m familiar with Shermer, but I’ll have to look more into Perry Marshall.
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