Religion is a Fatburger

We have different types of hamburgers.

We have McDonalds

We have Hungry Jacks.

We have In ‘n Out Burgers.

We have Fatburgers.

They’re all hamburgers, but they’re different.

They appeal to different tastes, they sit at different price points, they come with different sides.

Some appeal to the young, some to Baby Boomers, some spend a lot on marketing, some are popular through word of mouth.

But still, they’re all just hamburgers.

They’re all essentially the same, selling the same thing – meat in a bun.

They’re like religions.

Religions are all different. They appeal to different cultures. To different beliefs. To different nationalities and historical predelictions.

But they’re all selling the same thing, which is God.

You don’t need to go to Maccas, or Hungry Jacks, or Fatburger, to eat a hamburger.

You can make one yourself.

And you can make it just the way you like it, not the way a fast food joint makes it.

The fast food joint makes it for the masses, to appeal to a broad based clientele. The more generic it is, the more popular it’s likely to be.

The fast food joints want to appeal to the masses, because that’s how they make money. They don’t mind that their hamburgers are generic.

But you might not like your hamburger generic.

You might like it different, to your particular taste – with those special things that make it appealing to you.

Chilli sauce, Turkish bread, avocado spread instead of butter, pineapple…


It’s still a hamburger. But it’s the way you like it.

That’s spirituality.

Versus religion,

Which is a Fatburger.

59 thoughts on “Religion is a Fatburger

  1. Bill
    I can always count on you to lift my spirits. At first I was thinking the post was funny but the more I read the more I agree with you. Once in awhile the “burgers” for the masses are good but making your own is more satisfying just as spirituality is more personally gratifying than religion for the masses.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Hi Lynda – we need religion, obviously. We always have. But it’s always tied to a particular strict scriptural authority. And there are some that want a wider view than that. They want their chilli sauce… 🙂 hugs back to you mate… bb xx


    • Bill,
      My plan today was to go to a big Buddhist Temple that I know of about a forty minute drive from my house. I wanted to just maybe sit in the parking lot and possibly feel the spiritual feelings that I associate with the Buddhists after the India tour. My sister called as I was on my way to the temple. I tried to explain to her that I just wanted to soak in the spiritual air that surrounds the Buddhists. She didn’t get it. Said that if I believe in God (which I do) that I shouldn’t be going to a Buddhists Temple – the two don’t mix. I think they do. Make your own “burger” I like adding a lot of the philosophy of the Buddhists to what I already believe in. I like the be a good person, live a good life, be kind to all part of the Buddhists world.
      The Buddhist Temple by the way ended up to be a Buddhist organization of some sort not a Temple. Will have to try again.


      • Lynda – if the place calls to you, go. Don’t be put off by anyone. God is everywhere. Your sister exemplifies everything I dislike about religion – the blinkered view that their religion is the only gateway to God. It isn’t. Buddhism can give you enormous comfort right now. Go!

        Liked by 2 people

        • You are so right, Bill, and Lynda, as I said to you just the other day, just go and whatever you need will be given to you, just ‘caus!! 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

          • It’s very true Britta. And Buddhism is such a gentle “religion,” and one that doesn’t judge other religions. And most importantly, it has a view on death and rebirth that Lynda would find comforting , I’m sure…


      • Lynda, I had just the perfect reply earlier, but WordPress lost it, so I will see if I am still inspired. Now with all these wonderful comments, mine now seems insignificant, and to be perfectly honest, I have no idea what I wrote to you earlier. I can be a bit spontaneous. But, your sister is not in position to tell you about what God is OK with you doing. I think you are on the right path and you should find God and spirituality wherever you seek, and your place may be different than your sisters place. Kinda sounds like the folks telling you how to grieve Stacey’s situation. Continue to seek your own and God’s counsel. You can’t go wrong. No one else gets to vote.

        Love to you, Steve

        Liked by 1 person

        • Thanks Steve, I really appreciate all your kind words as I do those of all our PGS family. Truly does help.
          Speaking of Fatburgers. . . I was talking with her earlier today and she was craving a cheeseburger. Of course she can’t eat one as the tumor almost has her intestine completely shut off so its mostly a liquid diet. She is feeling better though so a good sign.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m reading your post as I sit at The Counter, a restaurant chain in SoCal that lets you make your burger any way you want it. Bill, what are your thoughts about the IPA I just finished? I thought it was a spiritual experience.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Well, Bill, you got me again. You have an extraordinary mind and soul and I’m so very grateful that I somehow got ‘plugged’ into part of your sphere!! 🙂


    • Britta, you are a sweetheart for saying that, thank you. One of the joys of doing this blog is that it’s connected me with very very special people, such as yourself,. I regard myself as a lucky man…


    • Hi Steve, checked the spam folder and there’s nothing there. Word Press must have gobbled it. I bet it was a beauty too, because you used CAPS in your comment! Sorry…


  5. Reading these comments is like having a conversation around a table. Bill you certainly have a great group of wonderful people commenting. And what a wonderful topic to talk about! I loved ‘listening’ to everyone’s comments. Maybe I will have a wine rather than an IPA!!


  6. Pingback: Fatburger liked my post! | PGS – The Way

  7. What a great way of describing religion Bill.
    I’m more of a fish and chips man who doesn’t believe in God, or should I say He hasn’t convinced me yet just in case, so where does that fit in?


    • Gary, if you care enough to ask that question, then you needn’t worry. Fish and chips is cool. It’s all sustenance. There’s no convincing required. When you’re ready, you will find what you need – sometimes in the most unorthodox of ways – or meals! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I’ll just repeat my definition of religion — that it’s the practice of a shared spirituality.

    I dunno why you keep using a certain number of negative phrases about spirituality versus religion BTW


  9. You’re taking it literally Julian. There was nothing disrespectful intended in that post. And as for comparing spirituality and religion, where’s the harm in that? Explain to me please…


    • Bill, I’m certainly not happy about feeling a need to say these things — but I’m a trained literary analyst, as well as having a talent for copy editing, and in my experience even the most talented authors can write what they don’t intend to.

      To go through everything you’ve posted in this blog towards the promotion of individual spirituality as better than religious spirituality is something I could certainly do, except that it would be a LOT of work as well as being rather fundamentally both pointless and destructive.

      The distrust of organised religion that you have expressed in here on many occasions isn’t a problem as such IMO, because we each of us in any case have our individual relationships with the Spirit, but it does nevertheless bother me that a certain degree of imbalance of your perceptions between the individuality and the commonality of the Spirituality as such is colouring your writing on the subject from the strictly religious point of view.

      The properly Spiritual attitude towards Spirituality is to belong equally to the Individuality of the Soul and to the loving Commonality of our sharing in the Spirit.

      Characterising Religion as a “fatburger” is the opposite.


      • Julian – you know I have great respect for your point of view. And you know that it often differs from mine. The point of that particular post, if you want me to spell it out, is that various religions “package” their approach to God in particular ways pertinent to their culture, history, nationhood, and accessibility to their peoples. Different religions package their approach differently, but they’re still essentially saying the same thing – which is what the discipline of Comparative Religion explores.

        What I was trying to say is that if any of those packages don’t suit you, then you can DIY your approach to God.

        Where is the harm in that?
        And how is that denigrating religion?

        As I said before, and with respect, you took the bait of the (albeit) cheeky and provocative headline.



        • Well if you prefer, I think that your baiting and provocation has become too habitual. (to be” 100% clear this is NOT a critique of your exciting and visceral directing style, that I think is bloody marvellous)

          (to be clear, a second time, that’s a comment about your current writing focus, not about you personally — at least, I think so ; if I’m wrong about that, well, it’s one of the things we’d need to discuss face-to-face if ever that happened … )

          You’ve made it clear on more than one occasion that you have a critical relationship with the organised religions, so OK that’s your business not mine — but it’s not this particular post that I find to be problematic, rather it’s a number of comments or suggestions you’ve provided over the years.

          An attitude.

          There is no fundamental difference in the Spirit as we can perceive Him individually nor as we can celebrate Him together, but there is most certainly a difference in how we might refer to Him, so that your “attitude”, which is to say your self-editing; can lead others to conclude that which is untrue of the Spirituality Himself.

          Also, I cannot help but feel insulted in my Faith by this article — is my conversion a “fatburger”, the divine interventions that led to it a “fatburger”, the joy when despite my handicap I can participate in my Faith a “fatburger”, the religious and Catholic nature of the Camino a ‘”fatburger” ?


          • Dear Julian,

            I would never set out to insult you or anyone on this blog. And if I’ve done so, then I’m deeply sorry. And yes you’re right that I do have a “critical relationship with the organised religions,” but I’m not a lone voice there.

            Here in Australia we are deeply embroiled in a scandal involving child sex abuse on a large scale, not only by Catholic priests, but priests from other religions too. You might have seen in the news that our Cardinal George Pell, who now has a senior position at the Vatican, was questioned recently by a Royal Commissioner.

            However, this isn’t at the heart of my “critical relationship,” as you put it. I have a critical relationship with many institutions, including Goovernmet, the Military, mass media, uncaring bureaucracies, and so on. Ultimately I have a critical relationship with authority in general, and hypocrisy and injustice in particular.

            That said, I have enormous respect for your views, beliefs, and faith. And I welcome your comments here, which are always well argued, and come from an informed and highly educated mind. And I’m sorry if any of my posts have caused you distress. Again, that was not my intention, ever. Not for you, not for anyone.

            Part of my “job” though, as I see it, is to communicate to those who don’t necessarily have your level of erudition, and who probably only take a passing interest in things theological or religious or spiritual.

            The Camino for me is a deeply spiritual experience. And it is a deeply religious experience too. You can not mindfully walk the Camino, with awareness, and not be affected by the religiosity of the occasion. I have been, and each time I walk even a section of the Camino, I continue to be thus affected, perhaps even more so each time – because I bring to it an increased personal commitment to Spirit.

            The Fatbuger post was, simply put, designed to say one thing – if you are seeking God, and none of the mass market methods of reaching God appeal to you, then you can find God in your own individual way. That, simply, was what I was trying to say.

            Was it provocative? Yes, probably.
            Was it sacrilegious? I think not, and certainly hope not.

            As I say, I think, even with your acute intellect, you fell into the trap of reading that blog literally, and not fully grasping the underlying intent, which was not to be disrespectful to religion. The post was merely using a modern and accessible cultural analogy – and yes I could have used an analogy that was less of s taunt, but my innate nature is to prod and poke – especially established organisations and institutions – and if you look at my body of work over the decades, you will see a consistency in my approach.

            I rile against racism, I rile against inequality, I rile against injustice of any kind, and I rile against rigid and unbridled authoritarianism. I believe in the freedom and sanctity of the individual. And if that individual chooses not to have a Fatburger and make his or own hamburger more to his or her particular taste, then I believe in that too. And I encourage it.

            Any communion with God, be it in the pews of s church or prone on the floor of a temple, or sitting cross legged in a quiet room in your home, or walking through a beautiful forest, is to be encouraged and respected. I don’t believe that everyone necessarily needs a structure and an institution to do so.

            Julian, to conclude, I suspect that you and I are closer in thought and belief than you might acknowledge. Perhaps that’s why I annoy you so much. If there was a greater disparity between us, you would probably not waste your time. You continue to challenge and provoke me and hold me to account, and for that I’m grateful.



  10. As I say, I think, even with your acute intellect, you fell into the trap of reading that blog literally

    No — that is not true, and to accuse my “acute intellect” of that sort of error is a self-contradiction.

    To be fair to you, as I always hope to be, my good friend, my current situation of constant, sometimes acute, pain in all knees, ankles, and wrists has put me into a certain mood of impatience and general “bad mood” so that I tend to say what I think less politely than before (it’s also destroying the final remnant of my professional life) — nevertheless, your critical relationship with many institutions, including Government, the Military, mass media, uncaring bureaucracies, and so on, whilst it is understandable and even laudable in several respects doesn’t IMO justify a similarly critical relationship with religion as such.

    The scandal of child sex abuse has been VERY UNJUSTLY dumped onto the Catholic Church as a scapegoat, which is not to say that clerical child abuse didn’t happen, but to say that there was an institutionalised failure of child protection of the Police, the legislators, the Governments, and of most of the families themselves who preferred to keep these crimes hidden rather than face the social embarrassment of admitting publicly that a brother or cousin or uncle was a kiddy fiddler.

    The vast majority of child molesting and paedophilia occurs in the family environment. And it is ALWAYS the exact opposite of Spirituality.

    Even so, the Irish scandal is typical of these horrors — Ireland didn’t even have any laws defining this child abuse as being criminal. The Irish Police routinely ignored complaints about these crimes as being “less important” than their “real work”.

    And crikey — back in the ’60s and ’70s, there were people openly and actively lobbying for the complete abolishment of the age of consent laws, and promoting paedophilia as a positive !!!

    I’m saying NONE of these things as any sort of “corporate loyalty” — instead, I had to directly deal with these issues head-on during my conversion and before my Baptism. I looked into these matters with as much concentration as natural horror, and my conclusion is that most of this that people attack the Church about is anti-religious and anti-clerical bollocks.

    Similarly, the VAST majority of those sentenced to death after their trial by the Inquisitions were murderers, rapists, thieves, brigands, bandits, and other criminals guilty of capital crimes.

    People rant on about the very small number of gross horrors that can be attached to a small number of criminals in the priesthood instead of facing the horrors that ordinary people commit ordinarily, and they deny the Source of the Spirituality that loves the Souls of the victims, families, Faithful, ignorant, Church, perpetrators, and all others who are directly harmed by this Evil.

    Focusing on these evils to the detriment of community against self isn’t just the opposite of Religion, it’s the opposite of Spirituality itself.

    You cannot attack Religion without simultaneously attacking the Spirituality of the Way.

    PS Cardinal Pell is obviously being subjected to a ghastly witch hunt


    • Julian, based on your views here, you are right – we are not close in thought at all. We have vastly different views on many things which I regard as being important. To trivialise the systematic abuse of children by priests as merely “kiddie fiddlers” is sickening. To try and rationalise this as saying that at the time, the prevailing public morality was looser, is equally disturbing. And to dismiss the questioning of George Pell as a witch hunt – well, say that to some of the victims that have suffered as a result of the blind eye he turned to the actions of priests under his jurisdiction… I am sure you will be treated with the contempt that your claim deserves.


      • To trivialise the systematic abuse of children by priests as merely “kiddie fiddlers” is sickening.

        I trivialise NOTHING. Those who commit such crimes are monsters.

        To try and rationalise this as saying that at the time, the prevailing public morality was looser, is equally disturbing

        Describing the post-WW2 and pre-Dutroux public morality regarding the sexual abuse of children as being collectively flawed and evil isn’t a “rationalisation”.

        To try and rationalise this as saying that at the time, the prevailing public morality was looser, is equally disturbing

        I’m not claiming it was “‘looser” — I’m saying that it was evil, and that attacking these or those scapegoats who committed no such criminal acts defies every single principle of Law.

        the blind eye he turned to the actions of priests under his jurisdiction

        You’re not just assuming the truth of the accusations, you’re also quite falsely accusing the Catholic clergy of failures on the part of the Police, Legislators, and Judiciary.

        You do not fully realise that failures by the Police, for instance, left many Bishops with their hands tied because the presumption of innocence of such men as were ignored by the Police left them with no legal capability at all to defrock them or etc. Nor Vatican City, and its lack of executive competence to punish men not declared guilty by the Law.


  11. Julian, to conclude, I suspect that you and I are closer in thought and belief than you might acknowledge. Perhaps that’s why I annoy you so muchJulian, to conclude, I suspect that you and I are closer in thought and belief than you might acknowledge. Perhaps that’s why I annoy you so much



  12. Religion is a simple sandwich.

    New Age is an oozing DIY dirty hamburger mess with chips and ketchup, sides, and whatever you want to drink.

    Spirituality is no food in the first place.

    And Spirituality is everything, including all of the above.

    Spirituality is the food of the Intellect, Soul, and Spirit.


  13. TBH Bill I feel like crap, and I think my arthrosis is degenerative.

    Knees, ankles, elbows, wrists — they’re starting to be painful 24/7.

    The Spirituality of the Holy Catholic Faith is the centre of my being.


    • Julian, I sympathise with you over your current health issues. The pain and immobility must be horrible, and frustrating. And you must be depressed, knowing that what you love to do – to walk pilgrimages – is physically not possible at the moment. I sincerely hope your situation improves.

      Whilst I respect your views on religion, and Christianity in particular, I won’t banter back and forth anymore on my recent post. You’ve said your piece, or pieces – and you’ve made your views very clear.

      I don’t have to justify my position. My position is evident in my posts. This is, after all, my blog.

      I have other more pressing demands on my time at the moment, such as making a very complex film, and I would prefer to keep my thoughts and attention directed in that area, rsther than butt heads with you.

      I’m sorry if my posts have irritated or angered you – they certainly weren’t intended to do so – but I’m grateful for the time and thought you’ve given to putting contrary points of view.

      Thank you,

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’ve no desire to butt heads with you either, Bill — and this disagreement would be SO much easier on the Camino

        If it weren’t IMO at least tangentially related to your PGS film or your Camino one, despite my current suffering I’d have kept entirely still

        No anger anyway — I can assure you of that.


        In other news, YES we thrashed Paris at their place !!!

        Quite likely back in the Champions League next year (cross fingers)

        Heck knows how I’m going to manage my next Camino !!!


        • Hi Julian – I have been watching Leicester with interest. man o man there’s a story. Last year, almost relegation. Although the
          spurs are coming up fast on them. Good news for your team. I find it hard to get Champions League here…


          • Caudio Ranieri’s the man who got us back into the Champions League, and it’s no surprise to see him doing the same excellent work for Leicester.

            I think the ONLY reason Monaco didn’t keep him is because we need someone who’s better with our young players than he was.


          • I’d forgotten Ranieri was manager of Monaco. He’s done wonders at Leicester. I really hope they take the championship. It would be a great “underdog” story… And I’ll let you know about Cannes. Jennifer and I will have to make a decision soon as to whether to go. If so it will be my 20th Cannes Festival… argh.


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