Na-ked [ney-kid]

1. plain; simple; unadorned: the naked realities of the matter.
2. not accompanied or supplemented by anything else: a naked outline of the facts.
3. exposed to view or plainly revealed
4. plain-spoken; blunt: the naked truth.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Allow Me to Introduce Hank...

This morning there was a knock at my door. When I answered the door I found a well groomed, nicely dressed couple. The man spoke first.

John: Hi! I’m John, and this is Mary.

Mary: Hi! We’re here to invite you to come kiss Hank’s butt with us.

Me: Pardon me?! What are you talking about? Who’s Hank, and why would I want to kiss his butt?

John: If you kiss Hank’s butt, he’ll give you a million dollars; and if you don’t, he’ll kick the crap out of you.

Me: What? Is this some sort of bizarre mob shake-down?

John: Hank is a billionaire philanthropist. Hank built this town. Hank owns this town. He can do whatever he wants, and what he wants is to give you a million dollars, but he can’t until you kiss his butt.

Me: That doesn’t make any sense. Why...

Mary: Who are you to question Hank’s gift? Don’t you want a million dollars? Isn’t it worth a little kiss on the butt?

Me: Well maybe, if it’s legit, but...

John: Then come kiss Hank’s butt with us!

Me: Do you kiss Hank’s butt often?

Mary: Oh yes, all the time...

Me: And has he given you a million dollars?

John: Well… no, you don’t actually get the money until you leave town.

Me: So why don’t you just leave town now?

Mary: You can’t leave until Hank tells you to, or you don’t get the money, and he kicks the crap out of you.

Me: Do you know anyone who kissed Hank’s butt, left town, and got the million dollars?

John: My mother kissed Hank’s butt for years. She left town last year, and I’m sure she got the money.

Me: Haven’t you talked to her since then?

John: Of course not! Hank doesn’t allow it.

Me: So what makes you think he’ll actually give you the money if you’ve never talked to anyone who got the money?

Mary: Well, he gives you a little bit before you leave. Maybe you’ll get a raise, maybe you’ll win a small lotto, maybe you’ll just find a twenty dollar bill on the street.

Me: What’s that got to do with Hank?

John: Hank has certain ‘connections.’

Me: I’m sorry, but this sounds like some sort of bizarre con game.

John: But it’s a million dollars, can you really take the chance? And remember, if you don’t kiss Hank’s butt he’ll kick the crap of you.

Me: Maybe if I could see Hank, talk to Him, get the details straight from him...

Mary: No one sees Hank, no one talks to Hank.

Me: Then how do you kiss his butt?

John: Sometimes we just blow Him a kiss, and think of his butt. Other times we kiss Karl’s butt, and he passes it on.

Me: Who’s Karl?

Mary: A friend of ours. He’s the one who taught us all about kissing Hank’s butt. All we had to do was take him out to dinner a few times.

Me: And you just took his word for it when he said there was a Hank, that Hank wanted you to kiss his butt, and that Hank would reward you?

John: Oh no! Do you think we're fools? Karl has a letter he got from Hank years ago explaining the whole thing. Here’s a copy; see for yourself:

From The Desk of…Karl


1. Kiss Hank's butt and he'll give you a million dollars when you leave town.

2. Drink alcohol only in moderation.

3. Kick the crap out of people who aren't like you.

4. Eat right.

5. Hank dictated this list himself.

6. The moon is made of green cheese.

7. Everything Hank says is right.

8. Wash your hands after going to the bathroom.

9. Don't drink alcohol.

10. Eat your wieners on buns, no condiments.

11. Kiss Hank's butt or he'll kick the crap out of you.


Me: This appears to be written on Karl’s letterhead, not Hank's.

Mary: Hank didn’t have any paper.

Me: I have a hunch that if we checked we’d find this is Karl’s handwriting too.

John: Of course! Hank dictated it.

Me: I thought you said no one gets to see Hank?

Mary: Not now, but years ago he would talk to some people.

Me: I thought you said he was a philanthropist. What sort of philanthropist kicks the crap out of people just because they’re different?

Mary: It’s what Hank wants, and Hank’s always right.

Me: How do you figure that?

Mary: Item 7 says ‘Everything Hank says is right.’ That’s good enough for me!

Me: Maybe your friend Karl just made the whole thing up.

John: No way! Item 5 says ‘Hank dictated this list himself.’ Besides, item 2 says ‘Use alcohol in moderation,’ Item 4 says ‘Eat right,’ and item 8 says ‘Wash your hands after going to the bathroom.’ Everyone knows those things are right, so the rest must be true, too.

Me: But 9 says ‘Don’t use alcohol.’ which doesn’t quite go with item 2, and 6 says ‘The moon is made of green cheese,’ which is just plain wrong.

John: There’s no contradiction between 9 and 2, 9 just clarifies 2. As far as 6 goes, you’ve never been to the moon, so you can’t say for sure.

Me: Scientists have pretty firmly established that the moon is made of rock...

Mary: But they don’t know if the rock came from the Earth, or from outer space, so it could just as easily be green cheese.

Me: Not knowing where the rock came from doesn’t make it cheese. And I’m not an expert, but I think the scientific theory that the Moon came from the Earth has been discounted.

John: Aha! You just admitted that scientists make mistakes, but we know Hank is always right!

Me: We do?

Mary: Of course we do, Item 5 says so.

Me: You’re saying Hank's always right because in the list that Hank dictated Hank says Hank is always right. That's circular reasoning!

John: Now you’re getting it! It’s so rewarding to see someone come around to Hank’s way of thinking.

Me: But...oh, never mind. What’s the deal with wieners?

(Mary blushes)

John: Wieners go in buns, with no condiments. It’s Hank’s way. Anything else is immoral.

Me: What if I don’t have a bun?

John: No bun, no wiener. A wiener without a bun is wrong.

Me: No relish? No Mustard?

(Mary looks positively stricken.)

John: (shouting) There’s no need for such language! Condiments of any kind are wrong!

Me: So a big pile of sauerkraut with some wieners chopped up in it would be out of the question?

Mary: (Sticking her fingers in her ears.) I am not listening to this. La la la la la la la la.

John: That’s disgusting. Only some sort of evil deviant would eat…

Me: It’s good! I eat it all the time.

(Mary faints.)

John: (Catching Mary.) Well, if I’d known you were one of those I wouldn’t have wasted my time. When Hank kicks the crap out of you I’ll be there, counting my money and laughing. I’ll kiss Hank’s butt for you, you bunless cut-wienered kraut-eater.

(With this, John drags Mary to their waiting car, and speeds off.)


  1. I'm sold, God doesn't exist!

  2. I don't see how this post disproves god. If anything it draws a crude analogy to the beliefs you're expected to adhere to in the Christian faith. Devoting yourself to a belief system based on writings that cannot be verified is fool-hardy.

  3. I agree, hence this website being useless in changing anyones opinion. And if thats not the point of the blog then Im confused.

  4. It's not meant to change anyone's opinion. It's a place for us to share our opinions, funnies, and information that we think is worth sharing. I have no intentions of directing religious people to come look at this blog to try and deconvert them. I will, however, share this with my fellow atheist friends, who may appreciate learning some of the things I've been learning, and laughing at some of the things I've found humorous. I would also share this with someone like me, who was not satisfied with the answers I received when I asked questions to my pastor and fellow Christians. If you don't share these beliefs, or if it offends you in any way, you are not obligated to view this blog.

  5. The point of the blog is to have people engage in intelligent discourse about atheism and belief. The above story draws a picture that many Christians may be uncomfortable with because it clearly shows the type of blind faith that is required in order to adhere to that particular belief system. I am not trying to change people's opinions; I am merely sharing mine in the hope that it will encourage critical thought. If you have something of value to contribute to express your point of view, I would gladly listen to/read it and give it some thought before posting any type of reply.

  6. I would argue that it takes just as much blind faith to be an atheist...let's face it, we both have a religion we follow. I suppose we should just give each other the freedom to do so without judging.

  7. Atheism is not a religion. We have no dogma, or religious book or rules that we all follow. The only belief that we ALL have in common, is a DISbelief in gods or the supernatural. I believe whole-heartedly in every person's freedom to believe what they choose. I don't judge people based on their beliefs. I may poke fun at some of the absurdities...but no more than I poke fun at myself and other atheists also. There is no blind faith involved in being an atheist...I am not forced to believe in anything that I can't see or prove. I agree that both Christians and Atheists face a lot of unknowns when it comes to the origin of our species and our universe...but I don't need to credit god with things I can't explain, just because I have no better explanation for them. I agree with you completely about the right to freedom of religion (or lack thereof)...which is why I'm free to run this blog (although I seriously doubt that I will be free from the judgement of Christians or other 'non-atheists').

  8. I’m not sure that you understand what atheism is. Atheism is the absence of theism. Theism is the belief in at least one deity. If you cannot say "I believe in a Deity/God/Supreme Being" then you are an atheist.

    If my atheism with respect to your deity is a religion, then your atheism with respect to all other deities is also a religion. I will go out on a limb and assume that since we live in North America that you are a Christian. Does your lack of belief in Vishnu (Hindu deity) make you a devout follower of the "No Vishnu" faith? No. It is merely a lack of belief in that particular deity. I would go so far as to say that you and I are both atheists. When you tell me why you do not believe in all other gods, then you will understand why I do not believe in yours.

    “When we stop believing in Santa as children, we simply came to the conclusion that this person did not exist because there was no evidence to the contrary. This is despite the fact that his image is everywhere during the xmas season and many people continued to behave as if he were real.

    Therefore, I submit that I do not believe in a god that created the universe the same way that you don’t believe in an elf that delivers presents.

    Consequently, disbelief in this case is an act of reason, not [blind] faith.”

    I do not have a religion. My “faith” is in humankind. I pray for the day when Humanity can stop focusing on what divides us (religious beliefs, political divides, race, …) and embrace our commonalities so that we can strive and prosper as a species.

  9. Some Definitions of religion:

    1- a specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects.

    2- the body of persons adhering to a particular set of beliefs and practices.

    3- A cause, principle, or activity pursued with zeal or conscientious devotion.

    4- something one believes in and follows devotedly; a point or matter of ethics or conscience.

    This sounds a lot like what you are telling me. Don't get me wrong I appreciate and respect your view but I think to say atheism is not a religion is false. In my experience many atheists have issues with any deity based religion because they see it as the main cause of division in the world, but I would argue that it is impossible to adhere to ANY belief system without creating division. Differing beliefs are naturally opposed and i believe it is the human condition to have conflict over them. I agree that this is terrible but our religions have nothing to do with global conflict, we just hide our own fears/hatred/intolerance behind them. Study most religions and you will find that their teachings have nothing to do with hate or violence but look at their histories and it is riddled with it. Religion isn't the problem, people are. That includes me...and you....and Mr. Dressup... what a shame.

  10. 1. Atheists do not have an agreed upon set of beliefs or practices. Being an atheist means that I do NOT believe in God (or gods, because my atheism is not limited to Christianity). Any of the things that I DO believe in, do not fall under the atheist label. I believe in being good to people, respecting human rights, being kind, and helpful. That makes me a humanist. I believe in taking care of our planet, and doing our part to ensure a better future for our children. That makes me an environmentalist. I believe in truth, research, and evidence. That makes me a realist. Nothing that I believe in would definitively make me an atheist, and not all atheists share my views on those subjects (although I think most humans, in general, would at least CLAIM to live by those principles).

    2. There is no real body of persons that goes along with atheism. We do not have "churches". We don't have anything like the Bible that we all gather around to read. We do not have a leader or God that we all worship. There are many atheist organizations and websites and books, but each one serves to provide information on a broad spectrum of ideas, from science, to politics, to history and environmental issues. Many atheist organizations hold conferences and seminars. I would not really classify this as a body of persons gathered to serve one purpose. These conferences are attended by Christians, Muslims, scientists (both atheist and theist), professors, writers, clergymen, etc. They are not exclusive, and generally do not set out to "convert" anyone (like many Christian conferences and outreach programs). As atheists, our only common belief, is a DISbelief.

    3. There are a lot of causes or principles that I persue with devotion and zeal...but the last time I checked, they don't consider animal rights or recycling to be religions either (even though there are set beliefs and practices involved, and bodies of people meet who share common interest in those causes and principles).

    4. Again, believing in something does not always equal a religion...And NOT believing in something is as much of a religion as NOT collecting stamps is a hobby.

    Also, I don't agree with your statements about religious division and violence. The Bible (which I will use as an example because I am most familiar with it, as I expect you are also), is FULL of violent acts, many of which were directly ordered by God himself. There are MANY stories of mass genocide, rape, murder, and riots. At one point, God orders all of the men and women and children of a particular area to be murdered...BUT!!...he tells the soldiers to keep the virgin girls for themselves, rape them, and marry them by force. This is just one of hundreds of examples. I could quote you verses, but I think that's beyond the point of this argument. As far as our more recent history goes, you can't turn on the television without hearing about the war in Afghanistan...much of which stems from differing religious views. The Al-Qaeda believe that their god wishes them to kill people who do not share their beliefs, and they will be rewarded with virgins in heaven. They are doing their god's holy work, by bombing and killing and fighting anyone who opposes them. How many abortion doctors have been murdered by Christians who feel they are doing right by God by illiminating these "murderers"? How is that not violence based on religion? Religion IS the problem...because religion IS the people. God didn't invent religion...people did.

  11. You bring some interesting, but ill-founded, points to the table Anonymous. I’d like to take the time to address each definition and explain why they do not apply to atheism. If you are going to use to build your argument, please use the entire definitions. (See number 4)

    1- a specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects.
    This argument is widely used by religious followers. Atheists do not have a fundamental set of beliefs. The only common belief we share is that we do not believe in any god(s). One common belief with no rites or practices does not constitute a religion.

    2- the body of persons adhering to a particular set of beliefs and practices.
    see number 1

    3- A cause, principle, or activity pursued with zeal or conscientious devotion.
    This definition of religion troubles me. This selective word definition can describe anything from being a sports fan, a collector, a political activist, musician or music fans, and a whole spectrum of different activities that people "pursue with zeal or conscientious devotion."

    4- something one believes in and follows devotedly; a point or matter of ethics or conscience.
    You stopped your definition short. Here is the complete definition from the source you used:
    “something one believes in and follows devotedly; a point or matter of ethics or conscience: to make a religion of fighting prejudice.”
    Again, this is a troublesome definition. Are you implying that Atheists have no ethics or conscience because we do not believe in deities? There is no dogma to being an Atheist, there are no religious rites, practices, set of beliefs, etc. there is nothing to follow.

    I hope that you can now see why stating that atheism is a religion is fallacious at best.

    I need to address the comment you made that “religions have nothing to do with global conflict”. I disagree completely. Religion has created conflict, civil unrest and oppression ever since its creation; please pick up a history book.

    The Bible condones and encourages violence. Christians traditionally refer to the message of love in the NT and tell us that the new gospel is the one to follow. This is incorrect.
    Matthew 15:3
    3 Jesus replied, "And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition?”
    Jesus absolutely approved and commanded the following of the OT's Laws.

    Romans 1:32 (Jesus speaks of apostates)
    32. Although they know God's righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them."

    Deutoronomy 2:31-34
    31 The LORD said to me, "See, I have begun to deliver Sihon and his country over to you. Now begin to conquer and possess his land." 32 When Sihon and all his army came out to meet us in battle at Jahaz, 33 the LORD our God delivered him over to us and we struck him down, together with his sons and his whole army. 34 At that time we took all his towns and completely destroyed [a] them—men, women and children. We left no survivors.”

    I could quote several others because these types of verses are found throughout the entire book. Religion demands that you persecute those who do not share your beliefs or have turned their backs on your beliefs. Religion is the cause of conflict on a global scale.

  12. I think that people can misuse whatever belief system they adhere to (atheist, muslim, chrisian, hindu)for their own purposes, which is where most, if not all of the conflict stems from. This is evident hugely in the Catholic church, where terrible things have been done in the name of religion for years and years. The issue isn't with the core teachings of the Bible, but rather with man's twisting and misinterpretation of scripture to suit his own ambitions. The crusades were carried out under the flag of Christianity, but were never truly a God-led endeavour. There are many things that the church needs to own up to, wrongs they have committed. I also know first hand that there are Christian people out there doing amazing things for humanity, which is really more central to the teachings of the New Testament. We are often criticized for simply "praying" instead of "doing", but often those criticizing are doing even less.

    I think it is for these reasons that we are now seeing the growing movement of the "emerging church", a new brand of Christian spirituality that is attempting to shake off the image of religious legality and show the world that following Christ doesn't mean trying to rid the world of homosexuals and abortionists and muslims and hippies. Google "emerging church" and read more about it. While I don't always agree on every point, I think you will start to see where I am coming from.

    If you haven't already I would highly recommend that you read Donald Miller's "Blue Like Jazz: Non-Religious thoughts on Christian Spirituality". There is one section in there where he tells a story of setting up a confession booth at his college. They put up a tent and people would come in, sit down, and listen to him and a few other christians confess and apologize for all of the ways in which the church has hurt the world. Fascinating. His book is an easy read and could really give insight into what I'm talking about. At least humor me and grab it from the library. If you don't I will be forced to mail you my copy and then you will have no excuse...

    So in conclusion, religion is flawed because man is makes religion. That and read Blue Like Jazz....haha...thats all for now!

  13. Rob and I differ in our opinions on religion, somewhat. He's pretty much anti-religion all the way. I agree that a lot of harm is done in the name of God...but you and I grew up in an environment that wasn't like that. Many of the Christians I have known over the years serve to solidify the argument that there is no harm in believing in God. I still believe that if someone "finds God", and that makes them a better person...then so be it. Erica (our daughter, for those who are reading this and don't know me), has continually shown an interest in church and christianity. Despite being outnumbered by atheists in our house, she has always maintained her belief in God and heaven. We have never discouraged her from that. If she has found something that makes it easier for her to cope with life's challenges, and gives her peace at the end of the day...I'm happy for her. I've even offered to get her involved ina church if she chooses. Rob and I have often said that it would be nice to see a church that tells it like it is. Shed the prejudices, the intollerance, and the close-mindedness and just teach the basics, like loving your neighbour, being kind, working towards a better future, respecting your parents, etc. Why keep the passages about genocide and incest, if they no longer apply to us? Without getting into a debate about the validity of the Bible...I would even go so far as to say that I would appreciate a church that teaches the Bible as a story, like greek mythology, or Aesop's fables. It would be far easier to convince people not to take every word literally. Those who consider the Bible the unchanging, infallible word of God, will always find a way to interpret and cherry pick the book for their own use....some with good intentions, others not so much.

    And thank you for clarifying my statement on religion. "Religion is flawed because man is makes religion". Exactly.

    Blue Like Jazz....I'm on it.

  14. Also...I disagree with one point you made, Dan. I whole-heartedly believe we should rid the world of hippies. :-P

  15. Sarah and I have discussed the validity of the Bible a fair bit. This, of course, is a direct result of our Christian upbringings. Cherry-picking Bible verses has helped justify or has been the direct cause of all too many evil acts. It has also helped give people hope and inner-strength in times of need; so it can't be all bad. I also acknowledge that several church-based initiatives have accomplished a great deal of good in the world.

    Like Sarah mentioned in her post, she would like to see Bible stories taught in the same manner as fables. I agree.

    The Bible and other Holy Scriptures need to be relegated to the realm of literature. Following these texts as the word of gods leads to conflict because many scriptures lead to persecution and violence. They should be studied as literary works and not as the infallible, unyielding word of deities.

    I would love to see a collection of world mythologies committed to print as a collective works of Humanity. I would have no issue with weekly gatherings where stories from the world that teach moral lessons are read and discussed. Here as some of the more tangible benefits I see in this model:
    1. encourage unity as a species
    2. show the common themes/principles that our species strive for universally
    3. teach world history
    4. gather people in the spirit of fellowship
    5. remove divisions caused by conflicting belief systems

    I sincerely believe that all it would take is one generation in order to remove the destructive force of religion by using this approach.


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