Atheist: Hey man, how you doin'?
Theist: Not so well, actually. I've been feeling really tired, and my leg hurts all the time.
A: Actually I've been meaning to talk to you about that. I think I know why you're not feeling well.
A: Not to put too fine a point on it, but you have an 18 lb. iron ball chained to your ankle.
T: What? You're crazy!
A: No seriously. Look: I'm pretty sure that's an 18 lb. iron ball, and see, there's the chain and the shackle around your ankle.
T: Oh, that's just my religion. That can't be why I'm feeling bad.
A: I'm pretty sure that's the cause. It takes a lot of energy to drag an 18 lb iron ball around.
T: But my mom gave it to me!
A: Your mom? Not to diss your mom, but why would she chain an 18 lb. iron ball to your ankle?
T: She had one, my dad had one, my grandparents all had one; why shouldn't I have one too? And I told you, it's not an 18 lb. iron ball, it's my religion.
A: Well, you can have it if you want it, but like I said, that's what's making you tired all the time.
T: Speaking of which, where's your 18 lb. iron ba... I mean... religion?
A: I took it off when I was in Jr. High. It's actually pretty easy. Here let me show you: You just turn this doohicky here and...
T: DON'T TOUCH MY RELIGION!
A: Whoa! Sorry dude. I didn't mean anything.
T: But how do you get around without an 18 lb... um... without a religion?
A: I walk, same as you. Except I don't have to drag around an 18 lb. iron ball everywhere I go.
T: But if you don't have a... a religion, you could just take people's stuff and run away.
A: I suppose so, but I don't want to do that. Besides, I can't outrun everyone, iron balls or not. And you could do the same if you wanted to. It just takes a second to take it off.
T: But if I keep it on, I'll go to heaven; if I take it off, I'll go to hell!
A: You're kidding me, right? You might as well say that if you kiss Hank's ass, he'll give you a million dollars when you leave town, but if you don't, he'll kick the shit out of you.
T: Hank? Who's Hank?
A: Never mind. I'm just saying: Do you know anyone who's gone to either heaven or hell? I mean do you personally know?
T: Duh! I'm not stupid. Of course not. You go to heaven or hell after you die. Everyone knows that.
A: So how do you know?
T: Well it stands to reason, doesn't it? If I go around my whole life with an 18 lb.... er... religion, surely I deserve to go to heaven.
A: The world doesn't work that way, though. Flap your arms every day and you'll never end up on the Moon.
T: Well, if I'm right, I've traded an eternity in hell for an eternity in heaven. If I'm wrong, I've lost nothing.
A: Except that you have to carry around an 18 lb. iron ball your whole life.
T: But I like carrying around my... um... my religion.
A: You do? Just now you were just complaining about being tired and your leg hurting.
T: That's not because of my religion.
A: It isn't?
T: No. Pastor Hardwick explained it to me: We're tired all the time and our legs hurt because... [lyrical voice] Many years ago, the first man and the first woman broke God's law by eating a magical apple, and he punished them by making their legs hurt. It's only by wearing our 18 lb.... I mean, it's only by our religion that we can atone for that sin and run around in heaven after we die.
A: Um... you believe that?
T: Sure! Can you prove me wrong?
A: I need to prove that story wrong? Are you serious?
T: Of course.
A: Well, I guess you've got me there. It's impossible to prove wrong.
T: So it's true! Besides, Pastor Hardwick runs around like nobody's business, and he has an 18 lb. iron... I mean, he's the most religious guy there is.
A: I know. Have you checked out Hardwick's "iron" ball?
T: Yeah. It's very light.
A: It's papier-mâché. Painted black. He takes it off at night. Ever notice how he'll come up, put his hands on you, and then walk away quickly.
T: Yeah, so what?
A: Ever check your wallet afterwards?
T: No, why?
A: Ah, never mind. Look man, I have to go. Good luck with the whole religion thing.
A: Theists! Totally impervious to reason. [walks off]
T: Atheists! Totally impervious to reason. [walks off... thump, drag, thump, drag...]