Essay: Atheism, food science and bland food

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Portrait of the Frenchman Paul-Henri Thiry, Baron d'Holbach (1723 - 1789). He was an early advocate of atheism in Europe.

Despite France developing some of the finest cuisine over hundreds of years of theistic culture, you will see below that French atheists did transfer this knowledge to their fellow atheists in other countries.

Atheism, as defined by the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, the Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, and other philosophy reference works, is the denial of the existence of God.[1] Paul Edwards, who was a prominent atheist and editor of the Encyclopedia of Philosophy, defined an atheist as "a person who maintains that there is no God." [2]

The Institute of Food Technologists defines food science as "the discipline in which the engineering, biological, and physical sciences are used to study the nature of foods, the causes of deterioration, the principles underlying food processing, and the improvement of foods for the consuming public".[3]

Question 1: Within the field of food science, how much experimentation is occurring within atheistic countries in order to improve the quality of their food in terms of making it less bland?

Question 2: Are there spices that have health benefits? Is putting spices on food in an intelligent manner a healthier lifestyle?

Atheistic cultures with bland food

Soviet Union and bland food

Claude Lewis wrote in The Philadelphia Inquirer about the food is the former Soviet Union which had militant state atheism:

Many people in the Soviet Union have grown tired of institutionalized food in state-run cafeterias found at state-run cafeterias such as Stolovaya No. 22 and Stolovaya No. 23 where the menus seldom change and often lack variety. Most food in the Soviet Union is unimaginative, tasteless and bland.[4]

Atheistic Nordic countries and bland food

Sweden is one of the most atheistic countries in the world.[5]

Nordic food is often depicted as being bland.[6]

Nordic countries have high atheist/agnostic populations within them (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden).

Sweden is one of the most atheistic countries in the world and in secular Europe. The website adherents.com reported that in 2005 46 - 85% of Swedes were agnostics/atheists/non-believers in God.[7] Sweden also has the 3rd highest rate of belief in evolution as far as Western World nations.[8]

Denmark has the highest rate of belief in evolution in the Western World.[9] In addition, in 2005 Denmark was ranked the third most atheistic country in the world and the website adherents.com reported that in 2005 43 - 80% of Danes are agnostics/atheists/non-believers in God.[10]

Finland was ranked the 7th most atheistic country in the world in 2005.[11] Finland has the 17th highest rate of belief in evolution in the Western World.[12]

Iceland is one of the most irreligious countries in the world according to Gallup International.[13] A Gallup International poll conducted in 2012 reported that 57% of Icelanders considered themselves "a religious person", 31% considered themselves "a non religious person", while 10% defined themselves as "a convinced atheist", which places Iceland in the top 10 atheist populations in the world.[14]

Nordic food is often depicted as being bland.[15]

Godless Britain and bland food

The British new atheists Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins. The late Christopher Hitchens was known for his heavy drinking.[16] Please notice the utter lack of plates filled with tasty food on the table. See also: Britain and alcoholism

A Eurobarometer poll in 2010 reported that 37% of UK citizens "believed there is a God", 33% believe there is "some sort of spirit or life force" and 25% answered "I don't believe there is any sort of spirit, God or life force".[17] See also: British atheism

International food authority Andrew Zimmern said of Britain's food: “Twenty years ago the food of the British Isles was universally considered to be among the world’s worst—boring, bland and boiled.”[18]

(In the last 20 years, Britain has seen a large influx of immigrants many of whom eat spicier food. No doubt that is why Zimmern said "twenty years ago".)

Godless Germany and bland food

Germany is one of the most atheistic countries in the world and the website adherents.com reports that 41-49% of Germans are agnostics/atheists/non-believers in God.[19]

Germany is one of the most atheistic countries in the world and the website adherents.com reported that 41-49% of Germans are agnostics/atheists/non-believers in God.[20]

Parlour Magazine reported about German food:

From a young age the German palate is adapted to enjoy the simple flavors of salt, wurst (sausage) and breadcrumbs, shunning anything too sweet, too spicy or too complex.

...I do occasionally enjoy a bit of spice and this is the dilemma. I grew up in a West Indian household led by my grandfather who was a chef, to say I was spoiled in terms of flavorful food would be an understatement. The pepper, the curry, the jerk – all flavors that fueled my youth and make me feel at home. How I survive in Germany, the land of bland, is a mystery to most who know me.[21]

Irreligion, Eastern Europe and flavorless food

Eastern Europe was under about 70 years of atheistic, Soviet communist rule (see also: Atheism and communism). For example, Albania was an atheist state from 1967 to 1991.

The Czech Republic, Estonia, and East Germany have some of the lowest levels of religious belief in secular Europe.

In 2005, the Czech Republic placed second in the world in alcohol consumption.[22] See also: Atheism and alcoholism

From a historical perspective, the Czechs have been characterised as "tolerant and even indifferent towards religion".[23] According to the 2011 census, 34.2% of the Czech population declared they had no religion, 10.3% was Roman Catholic and 10.2% followed other forms of religion both denominational and nondenominational. Furthermore, 45.2% of the population did not answer the question about religion.[24] From 1991 to 2001 and further to 2011 the adherence to Roman Catholicism decreased from 39.0% to 26.8% and then subsequently to 10.3%.[25]

Estonia is one of the least religious areas in the world. Merely 14% of the population declared religion an important part of their daily lives.[26]

The Guardian reported in 2012 about Eastern Germany:

A recent study called Beliefs About God Across Time and Countries found that 52.1% of people asked whether they believed in God identified themselves as atheists. This compared with only 10.3% in western Germany. Indeed, the survey was unable to find a single person under the age of 28 in eastern Germany who believed in God.[27]

The Maverick Traveler reports:

Eastern Europe isn’t known for its variety of exquisite dishes. Most of the dishes are a combination of three ingredients: bread, potatoes and meat. While it’s very hearty, it’s also very flavorless. If you’re there on a short trip or in the beginning of a more extended sojourn, you might find the food interesting and even exotic, but I can guarantee that you’ll quickly get tired of it.

Once you get tired of going out and eating bland local food, you’ll have two options: go to restaurants that serve international cuisine or cook your own food. The problem with the first option is that the international restaurant scene is rather limited in Eastern Europe.[28]

Spices, health benefits and potential health benefits

Jesus Christ ate a healthy and flavorful diet

See also: Jesus Christ, the apostles and the Mediterranean diet/Mosaic diet

Susan Lewis wrote:

What comes to mind with the word Mediterranean? Blue sparkling waters? Warm and friendly people? While a common association is the region’s popular travel destinations, the traditional eating patterns from this area of the world have also been long recognized for health benefits and enjoyable flavor profiles. (emphasis added via bolding)[29]
Christ And The Rich Young Ruler by Heinrich Hofmann (1824–1911), 1889.

In addition to the Mosaic diet, Jesus Christ ate a Mediterranean diet.[30]

The Mayo Clinic describes the Mediterranean diet thusly:

If you're looking for a heart-healthy eating plan, the Mediterranean diet might be right for you. The Mediterranean diet incorporates the basics of healthy eating — plus a splash of flavorful olive oil and perhaps even a glass of red wine — among other components characterizing the traditional cooking style of countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea.

Most healthy diets include fruits, vegetables, fish and whole grains, and limit unhealthy fats. While these parts of a healthy diet remain tried-and-true, subtle variations or differences in proportions of certain foods may make a difference in your risk of heart disease.

Benefits of the Mediterranean diet

Research has shown that the traditional Mediterranean diet reduces the risk of heart disease. In fact, an analysis of more than 1.5 million healthy adults demonstrated that following a Mediterranean diet was associated with a reduced risk of death from heart disease and cancer, as well as a reduced incidence of Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases...

The Mediterranean diet emphasizes:

  • Eating primarily plant-based foods, such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts
  • Replacing butter with healthy fats, such as olive oil
  • Using herbs and spices instead of salt to flavor foods
  • Limiting red meat to no more than a few times a month
  • Eating fish and poultry at least twice a week
  • Drinking red wine in moderation (optional)

The diet also recognizes the importance of being physically active, and enjoying meals with family and friends.[31]

In terms of physical activity, Jesus Christ worked in a carpenter shop until He was thirty years old. Jesus had no electric power tools as carpenters do today, but worked with hand tools made of iron. Then for about three years, Jesus was an itinerant preacher.[32]

Chuck Norris: What would Jesus eat?

The Christian Chuck Norris wrote in his article entitled Chuck Norris asks, 'What would Jesus eat?':

In his excellent book “What Would Jesus Eat?” Dr. Don Colbert does a great job of explaining what the Master would have eaten and drank during his day.

Colbert told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: “I thought I’d go back to the training manual – the Bible – and see what Jesus ate. Lo and behold, Jesus ate the healthiest diet ever developed, the Mediterranean diet.”[33]

Mosaic diet is a healthy diet in terms of weight management

For a large segment of their lives, the apostles of Jesus not only ate a Mediterranean diet, but ate according to the Mosaic dietary laws. The Mosaic dietary laws are in accordance with a healthy lifestyle in terms of weight management as evidenced by the fact that one looks at the pictures of modern Orthodox Jews, most have a healthy body weight (See: Google image search of the term "Orthodox Jews").

Explosive growth of Christianity in China and the Chinese preference for flavorful food

See also: Growth of Christianity in China

In front of the Great Hall of the People in Tiananmen Square in Beijing.

Rapid growth of Evangelical Christianity in China

The current atheist population mostly resides in East Asia (particularly China) and in secular Europe/Australia among whites.[34] See: Western atheism and race

According to Slate, "Protestant Christianity has been the fastest growing religion in China."[35] Evangelical Christianity is especially growing sharply in China.[36] See also: Asian atheism

On November 1, 2014, an article in The Economist entitled Cracks in the atheist edifice declared:

Officials are untroubled by the clash between the city’s famously freewheeling capitalism and the Communist Party’s ideology, yet still see religion and its symbols as affronts to the party’s atheism...

Yang Fenggang of Purdue University, in Indiana, says the Christian church in China has grown by an average of 10% a year since 1980. He reckons that on current trends there will be 250m Christians by around 2030, making China’s Christian population the largest in the world. Mr. Yang says this speed of growth is similar to that seen in fourth-century Rome just before the conversion of Constantine, which paved the way for Christianity to become the religion of his empire.[37]

Chinese preference for flavorful food

Wendy Rotell reports at Restaurant.com: "In general, Westernized Chinese food is considered to be more bland and fattening than authentic Chinese food."[38]

The correlation is clear

There you have it! A positive correlation between preference for non-blandness and people fleeing atheism at a very rapid pace!

But is atheism bland and boring?

Atheism is bland and boring

See also: Atheism and inspiration

Atheist Francois Tremblay wrote: "One last problem that undermines any propagation of atheism is inspiration. Let's be honest here, "there is no god!" is not a very motivating call for most people."[39]

The ex-atheist Alister McGrath has repeatedly pointed out the uninspiring nature of atheism.[40][41] According to McGrath, atheism is "stale", "dull" and difficult to believe.[42]

John Updike wrote:

Among the repulsions of atheism for me has been its drastic un-interestingness as an intellectual position. Where was the ingenuity, the ambiguity, the humanity...of saying that the universe just happened to happen and that when we're dead we're dead?".[43]

The British columnist Giles Coren wrote in The Times:

But it’s not the nihilism, the soullessness, the lack of poetry, the moral and physical ugliness, the shallow iconoclasm or the vainglory of atheists that bother me most. It’s the boringness.

Is there anything more boring in the world than an atheist?[44]

Atheist Jerry Coyne said about atheist meetings: "But to me the speakers and talks have often seemed repetitive: the same crew of jet-set skeptics giving the same talks."[45] Coyne also said about the atheist meetings which he attended that quite a few of the talks were lame.[46]

Andrew Brown wrote in The Guardian in an article entitled You can't dance to atheism:

...a religion is a philosophy that makes you dance. It pleased me because the book itself can be read as a history of how philosophy grew from dance...

There aren't any overwhelming and inspiring collective atheist rituals...

If I'm right, then liberal, individualistic atheism is impossible as an organising principle of society because any doctrine that actually works to hold society together is indistinguishable from a religion. It needs its rituals.[47]

China has the world's largest atheist population.[48][49] National Public Radio's article Chinese Turn To Religion To Fill A Spiritual Vacuum declares:

One young evangelical Christian missionary travels from rural village to village in the Protestant heartland in eastern China to proselytize. She attributed her own conversion to the overwhelming pressures of China's education system.

"In high school, I felt very depressed," said the bright-eyed young woman, who gave her name as Nicole. "I felt people had no direction, and I felt life was dry and boring. I felt the pressure of school was very high. God helped me and liberated me." [50]

Atheist Jerry Coyne said about the atheist meetings which he attended:

But to me the speakers and talks have often seemed repetitive: the same crew of jet-set skeptics giving the same talks.

...a few things bothered me, most notably the air of self-congratulation (which I excused on the grounds of enthusiastic people finding like-minded folks for the first time), the “fanboyness” directed at some of the famous atheists (they hardly let poor Richard alone, and I’m not sure he liked that!), and the lameness of quite a few of the talks. Again, how much new can you say about atheism?[51]

Why is atheism so stale and boring?

See: Why is atheism so stale and boring?

21st century global desecularization and a worldwide, flavorful food revolution

See also: Atheism and science

Atheistic ideology is detrimental to science (see: Atheism and science and Atheism and the suppression of science and Christianity and science).

Food science, like all science, is a social enterprise. And bland and boring cultures stifle innovation within science.

So how boring is atheism? Does bland and boring atheistic ideology foster the creation of atheistic food scientists who wear bland white lab coats and suppress the use of spices and other flavor enhancers in food production? On the other hand, are atheistic food scientists endeavoring to make food even more bland in atheistic societies because they know that atheists and boring and bland? In short, a classic case of giving the customer what he wants.

Are atheists in atheistic countries with bland food trapped in a bland food bubble or will religious immigrants, the religious having a higher fertility rate and the religious engaging in evangelism burst their bland food bubble?

Will global desecularization ignite a global, flavorful food revolution the likes of which the world has never seen?

Atheism vs. Christianity and the available evidence

The available evidence and sound reasoning point to Christianity being true and atheism being false (see: Evidence for Christianity and Rebuttals to atheist arguments).

In recent years, there have multiple cases of prominent atheists being reluctant to debate matters related to the atheism vs. Christianity topic (see: Atheism and debate).

Christianity vs. atheism debates

Atheism vs. Christianity statistics

See also: Christianity vs. atheism statistics

See also

Comedy and satires concerning atheism and evolution

Notes

  1. Multiple references:
  2. Putting the Atheist on the Defensive by Kenneth R. Samples, Christian Research Institute Journal, Fall 1991, and Winter 1992, page 7.
  3. Heldman, Dennis R. "IFT and the Food Science Profession." Food Technology. October 2006. p. 11.
  4. Making A Beef About Soviet Food
  5. Top 50 Countries With Highest Proportion of Atheists / Agnostics(Zuckerman, 2005)
  6. http://www.npr.org/2013/11/13/244600582/new-nordics-cool-but-old-scandinavian-food-holds-its-own
  7. Top 50 Countries With Highest Proportion of Atheists / Agnostics(Zuckerman, 2005)
  8. Photo: Evolution Less Accepted in U.S. Than Other Western Countries, Study Finds
  9. Photo: Evolution Less Accepted in U.S. Than Other Western Countries, Study Finds
  10. Top 50 Countries With Highest Proportion of Atheists / Agnostics(Zuckerman, 2005)
  11. Top 50 Countries With Highest Proportion of Atheists / Agnostics(Zuckerman, 2005)
  12. Top 50 Countries With Highest Proportion of Atheists / Agnostics(Zuckerman, 2005)
  13. "Iceland Ranks High on World Atheist List". Iceland Review. Retrieved 2013-10-05.
  14. "GLOBAL INDEX OF RELIGION AND ATHEISM" (PDF).
  15. http://www.npr.org/2013/11/13/244600582/new-nordics-cool-but-old-scandinavian-food-holds-its-own
  16. Christopher Hitchens: Despite Cancer, I'd Drink & Smoke Again
  17. Special Eurobarometer, biotechnology, p. 204". Fieldwork: Jan-Feb 2010.
  18. Five myths about British food
  19. Top 50 Countries With Highest Proportion of Atheists / Agnostics(Zuckerman, 2005)
  20. Top 50 Countries With Highest Proportion of Atheists / Agnostics(Zuckerman, 2005)
  21. Black in Berlin: Surviving Germany’s Food Culture, Parlour Magazine
  22. Czech alcohol consumption figures highlight rising number of problem drinkers, 23-02-2011 16:29 | Chris Johnstone
  23. Richard Felix Staar, Communist regimes in Eastern Europe, Issue 269, p. 90
  24. Richard Felix Staar, Communist regimes in Eastern Europe, Issue 269, p. 90
  25. Population by denomination and sex: as measured by 1921, 1930, 1950, 1991 and 2001 censuses (Czech and English). Czech Statistical Office. Retrieved on 2010-03-09.
  26. Estonians least religious in the world. EU Observer (11 February 2009). Retrieved on 9 January 2014.
  27. Eastern Germany: the most godless place on Earth
  28. 13 Things They Don’t Tell You About Eastern Europe by James Maverick, Maverick Treveler
  29. Healthy and flavorful eating tips for a Mediterranean diet By Suzanne Lewis
  30. Chuck Norris asks, 'What would Jesus eat?': Discovers Christ ate 'healthiest diet ever developed' by Chuck Norris, Published: 03/29/2013 at 9:59 PM
  31. Mediterranean diet by Mayo Clinic
  32. One Solitary Life by Grahame Pockette
  33. Chuck Norris asks, 'What would Jesus eat?': Discovers Christ ate 'healthiest diet ever developed' by Chuck Norris, Published: 03/29/2013 at 9:59 PM
  34. A surprising map of where the world’s atheists live, By Max Fisher and Caitlin Dewey, Washington Post, May 23, 2013
  35. When Will China Become the World’s Largest Christian Country?, Slate
  36. In China, a church-state showdown of biblical proportions
  37. Cracks in the atheist edifice, The Economist, November 1, 2014
  38. Differences between Authentic vs. Westernized Chinese Food
  39. Herding Cats: Why Atheism Will Lose by Francois Tremblay
  40. Clear Voices 2014 - Alister McGrath - C. S. Lewis’s Vision of the Christianity
  41. In the Aftermath: Provocations and Laments By David Bentley Hart, page 136
  42. Updike, John (1989). Self-Consciousness: Memoirs (New York, NY: Knopf), ch. 4.
  43. I don’t believe it – they’re doing atheism at GCSE by Niles Coren
  44. Are there too many atheist meetings? by Jerry Coyne
  45. Are there too many atheist meetings? by Jerry Coyne
  46. You can't dance to atheism by Andrew Brown
  47. Top 50 Countries With Highest Proportion of Atheists / Agnostics (Zuckerman, 2005)
  48. A surprising map of where the world’s atheists live, Washington Post By Max Fisher and Caitlin Dewey May 23, 2013
  49. Chinese Turn To Religion To Fill A Spiritual Vacuum, National Public Radio, July 18, 2010
  50. Are there too many atheist meetings? by Jerry Coyne