Watch Out Creationists Here Comes the Flying Spaghetti Monster

Official Website of The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster http://www.venganza.org/

The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster is an internet phenomenon that spawned form the outrage of Bobby Henderson.  In 2005 Bobby wrote an open letter to the Kansas State Board of Education condemning them for allowing teachers to teach intelligent design as a viable alternative to evolution in public schools.  In this letter he described how his beliefs that a supernatural being that resembles spaghetti and meatballs directly affects carbon dating by reaching out and touching the skeletons with “His Noodly Appendage”.  He argues that this belief has just as much scientific merit as intelligent design and should thus be taught in class.  This idea quickly spread throughout the internet and many were soon calling themselves Pastafarians.  This “church” and its “followers” main objective is to satirize the idea of teaching a religious concept as scientific fact.  From this single idea spawned an entire parody of religion.

The most important tenant of this church is to reject all dogma preached, but some basic beliefs are central to being a Pastafarians.  The first is the creation of reality.  Pastafarians believe that the universe of was created by the Flying Spaghetti Monster while being severely drunk.  The fact that he was drunk is why the world is flawed.  Another belief is that pirates were the first Pastafarians and that the decrease of pirates is the cause of global warming and other natural disasters.  These pirates were not the bloodthirsty thieves that everyone seems to believe they were.  In fact the pirates were, in truth, peaceful travelers that explored the oceans.  The current view of these pirates is due to Christian misinformation.  There are many holidays that Pastafarians celebrate.  Every Friday is considered a holy day.  The end of prayers to the Flying Spaghetti Monster are ended with a respectful Ramen instead of Christianity’s Amen.  More specific holidays include Pastover, Ramendan, and Holiday.  This church has two holy texts including The Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster and The Loose Cannon.

This church is a masterful use of satire and skepticism to fight strict religious dogma and attempts to incorporate intelligent design in scientific curricula.  Some praise the church for its mockery of intelligent design and others use it as a way to promote atheism.  The website includes sightings, propaganda, responses to criticism, and posts from followers.  Bobby Henderson maintains the stance that the followers of his religion truly believe in the Flying Spaghetti Monster and that the church is not a congregation of atheists.  It is interesting to wonder at what this church will become in the years that follow.  Will we one day look back upon Christianity like we do at the Greek and Roman myths?  What will take its place, maybe the Flying Spaghetti Monster?

Further information about the religious teachings of the prophet Bobby Henderson can be found in The Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster which you can purchase at http://www.amazon.com/Gospel-Flying-Spaghetti-Monster-ebook/dp/B000SEGJ80/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1382315438&sr=8-1&keywords=the+flying+spaghetti+monster

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17 Responses to Watch Out Creationists Here Comes the Flying Spaghetti Monster

  1. secondcitytocapitalcity says:

    I think that the satirical humor like this can be sorted into two different categories. To me it depends on whether they are commenting on the content of whatever issue they are addressing and trying to make a statement or whether they are just making a joke out of it just to make a joke. To me, the Flying Spaghetti Monster is right on the line between the two types. On the surface it may seem like a silly way to crack some cheap jokes at the expense of religion. However a lot of what is discussed is deeper than that. For example like foldervral said, it originated as a letter to the Kansas Board of Education over the teaching of creationism in schools. The author was trying to make a point of how unscientific creationism is by comparing it to his beliefs about the Flying Spaghetti Monster. In this regard, I think it is a brilliant usage of satire to point out the flaws in creationism and intelligent design.
    However I think some people have taken this idea too far. For example they have one section on their website called “hate mail” where they post people’s letters to them and then respond to it. One letter, who the writer is an atheist, criticizes the website for talking about how bad religion is by showing putting forward their own beliefs. In a way, I agree with this letter. I think that the whole logic of the Flying Spaghetti Monster centers around the idea that belief in a Flying Spaghetti Monster is as logical as any other religion. However, people of faith would disagree with this, and since the Flying Spaghetti Monster is supposed to be used as a satire, they would find it disrespectful and mocking of their own religions. In the end, the Flying Spaghetti Monster sheds some light on the shortcomings of creationism and religion in general, but does nothing to address why people have faith in religion to begin with despite these perceived shortcomings.

  2. freddie1994 says:

    Foldervral raises an interesting question with his post, “Is all religion ridiculous?” Firstly the answer is no, there’s is a place for religion, I personally just disagree with religion. To me the Flying Spaghetti Monster doesn’t seem as much as a satirical representation of all religion, it just specifically satirizes how religions try to out science, science, namely Intelligent Design. To me the Monster seems to be a literal extension of Bobby Henderson’s letter, that Intelligent Design has as much scientific proof as his new religion. Think about it, isn’t it a tiny bit ridiculous that most religious people will say that religion is about believing or having faith in something without proof, yet they will try and present ‘legitimate scientific theories’ for creationism, with claims that they have more evidence than evolution does? It seems to me that they know they’re losing the war with each younger generation being more exposed to evolution earlier and earlier, before parents have had time to take their kids to church enough and give them a solid religious base. The Pastafarians might be having a bit of fun at the moment, but it wouldn’t surprise me if in the distant future there are extremists in this religion that passionately believe in their Flying Spaghetti Monster, and then the race will be on to find scientific proof that a transcendent bowl of pasta rules the universe.

    • foldervral says:

      I am not specifically saying that religion is ridiculous, and I actually agree with you when you say there is a place for religion. What I think about religion in general is that, if taken with a grain of salt, religion can be very beneficial to the followers of any church. There are many morals that can be taught through religion that some would otherwise ignore if presented as just a law or rule presented by the government. There are also instances in which people find solace in their faith and turn what would otherwise be a crippling traumatic event into something more manageable. The questions at the end of the post are just meant to expand on how certain religions start and fade, and whether the religion itself is what is important or is it the message it is supposed to carry. Many people join the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster specifically because this church exists as a message that teaching creationist beliefs as a science. Others, as Bobby Henderson says, join the church legitimately believe in the Flying Spaghetti Monster. There is no way to tell if in the future the message will be lost in translation to the future perception of the origin of the church.

  3. jps591 says:

    Richard Dawkins sums this idea up the best in his book “The God Delusion” when he says, “We are all atheists about most of the gods that humanity has ever believed in. Some of us just go one god further.” As farfetched as the Church of FSM sounds, I think that as long as countries around the world uphold religious freedoms, it is here to stay. It has even begun to gain traction with local governments around the world. On October 7, a Pastafarian was allowed to give the invocation before the city council of Rancho Cordova in California. (http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/09/23/pastafarian-to-give-invocation-at-california-city-council-meeting/) Additionally, in Britain, a Pastafarian was able to get his drivers license picture taken with him wearing a colander because he claimed it was religious headwear, akin to hijab or a yarmulke. (even though he has since been asked to retake the picture http://www.localberkshire.co.uk/news/crowthorneandsandhurst/articles/2013/10/18/94157-bracknell-pastafarian-fights-licence-recall/) A Texas Tech student was also able to get his licensed issued while wearing a colander in very conservative Lubbock County, Texas. (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/26/texas-pastafarian-license-photo_n_3816839.html) By allowing the prayer and issuing the license, Pastafarianism is legitimized through the recognition by the government. I think that the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster closely parallels the Church of Scientology and the Church of Latter Day Saints. At first, both were heavily ridiculed, weren’t taken seriously, and were accused of being frauds because of their unconventional beliefs. Now Mormonism is one of the fastest growing religions in the United States and more and more respected celebrities are converting to Scientology. With time, if the movement stays strong, history has shown that the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster has the opportunity to be a relevant part of America’s religious culture.

    • drc1995 says:

      In response to jps591, I like how you brought up the ongoing cultural and social impact of relatively new religions, in today’s culture. With the many links that you gave, from the Texas student to the preacher in California, it is all very interesting to see how this “Pastafarianism” is making a few drops in the pool that is the entirety of American religious culture. Though with all of that said, I have to disagree with you on your opinion that the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster has any possible opportunity to be relevant in America’s religious culture.

      Besides just a few scattered events, I highly doubt that Pastafarianism will make any semblance of a headwind against American religious culture. I mean with any research into it at all, everyone can see there has been no major legislation nor any major movements that would suggest otherwise. You mention how Mormonism and Scientology were once ridiculed heavily. While I don’t know exactly if this is accurate or not, I will take your word on it. In hindsight though, it is not like these two religions in particular were literally JUST satire. If you look at an article by nbcnews (see link: http://worldnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/08/24/20153441-humor-failure-in-russia-crackdown-on-pastafarians-shows-kremlin-church-ties), it is seen how Pastafarianism is “generally recognized as a satirical poke at organized religion.” It quite clear that Pastafarianism is not to be taken seriously, unlike religions like Mormonism and Scientology.

      Referring back to the article and the reaction to it in Russia, it is quite clear just how little of a TRUE impact this “religion” may have. It is Russia, so obviously they have a different culture than we do in the United States, but people still only regarded it as blasphemy. When compared to religious organizations such as the Russia Orthodox Church, it really had no noticeable affect on Russian culture or society at all. Quite honestly, I have to say it will be the exact same with American culture. No religious movement will make any impact if it is just seen as a joke on a large scale.

      Sure “adherents” to the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster may say they actually follow the dogma of the Church itself, but we all know it is not true (disregarding a few crazy people). I think if anything we need to ask, is there any way that Pastafarianism can reach a status of affecting American culture and society? Considering the religion was based on a joke, and considering no one, even the “adherents” themselves regard it as anything more than a joke, I believe almost everyone would agree the answer would be a no. Quite honestly, it isn’t even debatable.

  4. greenDC says:

    I agree with secondcitytocapitalcity in that the Church is a brilliant and blunt use of satire. However, the origin of the Flying Spaghetti Monster was to mock the Kansas state board of education’s promotion or acceptance of teaching intelligent design as a viable alternative to evolution. Therefore, I do not believe that it is in anyway condemning religion or promoting atheism as some would suggest. The concept does not even go as far as to suggest that only evolution should be taught as it just states that intelligent design should not be permitted to replace it in school. Thus, the two schools of religion and science are able to coexist. Alternatively, I could see how one can interpret the Pastafarians as being anti-religion as the parody becomes slightly severe when global warming and a flawed world are a direct result of a “decrease of pirates” and a drunken spaghetti monster.

  5. Yes, Pastafarianism is skewered by some as satire. But we sincerely feel that if Creationism is taught as science, why not our religion’s creation story? Fair’s fair, after all. If you want to help us educate people about the origins of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, consider funding our animation: kck.st/19YdJJq

  6. running95 says:

    I agree with foldervral that the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster is a great use of satire. I do not, however, agree with secondcitycapitalcity. I think secondcitycapitalcity is thinking too much into the message of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Thinking like this is exactly why the “religion” began–to counteract the extreme seriousness that always follows religion. The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster is simply a satirical statement meant to add comedic breaks to intelligent design discussions. It was created solely as a means to illustrate the absurdity that accompanies creationist talk. The Church claims that its creator was a flying spaghetti monster that touched things which its noodley appendages. While this is not something many Americans actually believe it was created to make a point. Some people believe that God created the world and all of its contents in seven days and science suggests something entirely different, and moreover, other religions have other stories of creation; Hinduism tells a different story from Sikhism, from Zoroastrianism, from Daoism. The point is that every religion has its own belief on how humans came to be and the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster is simply seeking to open people’s eyes to that fact. In 2005 when Bobby Henderson first brought up the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, he was arguing that schools should not teach evolution, period. They should also not teach intelligent design, period. Henderson was actually suggesting that public schools should not even teach both evolution and intelligent design because those are not the only two theories of creations. In my opinion, Henderson was implying that schools should leave out all teaching of human origins in general as it would be impossible to teach every type of origin theory (or even most of them) as a section of a school science class.

  7. benjaminc says:

    I agree with folderval that the Church of the flying spaghetti monster is a satire, but satire is not always a good thing. The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster can be seen as very offensive to some. Most of the ideas blatantly call out Christianity as misinformed. Creation in the Christian Church is seen as a beautiful event in which our God carefully made all aspects of life. In the case of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, the world was made on a night in which he was drunk, making the world flawed. Christianity believes that the first sin is the reason for the wrong in the world. Things like saying “Ramen” instead of “Amen” after prayers also mocks a sacred Christian word.

    I showed the web page for the Flying Spaghetti Monster to my mother and she actually took much offense to it. My mom is a devout Christian, and she felt that the Flying Spaghetti Monster was a mockery of her God. I don’t feel as strongly as my mom does on the topic, but I do understand how she feels. In our religion, God is the creator and father of every human being. The Flying Spaghetti Moster just seems to make fun of the Christian God.

  8. phishmonkees says:

    I agree with foldervral that the goal of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster (CFSM) is to, “satirize the idea of teaching a religious concept as scientific fact.” The fact that, the first publication of the religion was as an open letter to the Kansas State board of education gives some credibility to the statement above. Unlike jps591 and I think it is not only improbable but a complete fallacy to think that in the future the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster will play a relevant part of America’s religious culture. The only way in which I see the Church of FSM having any significant religious importance is as a satirical tool against established religions. I searched some recent news articles that dealt with CFSM, and found an editorial that cited the CFSM as a reason not to teach creationism in school; arguing that if creationism is to be taught so to does “satirical faiths, such as the Flying Spaghetti Monster.” (http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/opinion/57002800-82/religious-students-public-bill.html.csp) Perhaps, Bob Henderson read the editorial and is smiling knowing that his religion has been used as a model as to why creationism should not be taught in school. In response to Freddie1994 I believe that the only reason that creationist attempt to present “legitimate scientific theories” is in order to validate creationist science being taught in schools alongside evolution. It is not a stretch to say that due to the religious nature of creationists, that their beliefs are not based on science but rather a belief in God. Therefore, they believe that any claim in the bible is not questionable but fact.

  9. djrosato says:

    I have a personal connection to this topic: throughout most of middle school, I considered myself a devout Pastafarian. Obviously, I recognized the ridiculousness of the topic and embraced the blatant sarcasm the way only a thirteen year old could. The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster satirizes intelligent design via their own concept, aptly called unintelligent design. Pastafarians believe, and I use that term loosely, that all of the worlds flaws can be traced back to the Flying Spaghetti Monster’s inebriated state circa the time of creation. In regards to benjaminc’s post, I think that the point of any satire is to be offensive. The Church of The Flying Spaghetti Monster is a blatant mockery of Christianity, specifically, but the point was not to insult Christianity–I believe that was just a welcomed side effect–but to solidify the lines between church and state and faith in public school. It’s impossible to deny that the Pastafarian movement was effective in their original goal regarding the School Board and they have had a worldwide cult following.

  10. nicolina1215 says:

    When searching through the website, I found a response letter to Bobby Henderson from Carole Rupe, member of the Kansas State Board of Education. She says, “In the midst of the sad circumstances of having our science standards lowered, you and your legion of fellow FSM followers have offered wonderful comic relief.” I found it extremely interesting when she practically stated that the conservative members of the board have excessively and abrasively lowered the standards of the state’s education system. It’s a shame to see people trying so hard to fight for the future of young people and be fought by those who seem to have their own personal agendas in mind. Much like Carole Rupe, I find the FSM refreshing in the way it approaches combating religious tyranny with a laughable slap of reality. I think the rhetorical irony of the flying spaghetti monster is an effective way to prove that religion and theoretical ideologies have no place mingling with scientific, testable facts. Much like secondcitytocapitalcity, I understand that the Flying Spaghetti Monster rides the line between being offensive and making a statement against religious oppression. This line is why I can see how someone like benjaminc’s mother and many others along the scale of devout Christians would take offense. That being said, I am also a devout Christian, but I do not take offense because I realize that it is to make a point about the overabundance of Christian opinion in what should be secular spheres, such as government and education.

    Personally, I believe that the only reason Christianity would be overrun by other ideas or scientific facts is if the fundamentalist zealots continue to deny scientific evidence for the sake of their church. I completely agree with Foldervral’s comment stating that religion can be a great educator when it comes to morality and sacrifice, so long as those qualities do not infringe on our rights preserved by the law. What Bobby Henderson is doing is making a statement that people need to remember religion is an unproven theory, just like many other unproven theories. This does not make it any less legitimate or socially beneficial when taught in the right setting and to a voluntary audience, not a public school. There are ways to effectively teach morality without encroaching on the necessity and constitutionally of separating church and state.

  11. ojc31084 says:

    I think that while Bobby Henderson raises a good point that religious teachings should not be brought into the classroom, he did not address it properly. Though this issue regarding the separation of church and state needs more attention, I don’t think that attention should be directed at mocking religion and having anti-religious viewpoints. Taking religion out of the classroom is not about being against religion, just against religion as scientific fact. I think that making a “parody of religion” is going a little to far, and will offend many people who have faith but acknowledge that it is not scientific fact and also fight to keep it out of public schools. By mocking religion as a whole, Henderson makes huge generalizations about the types of people who believe in a higher power. Additionally, I think it’s wrong to say that this “church” is promoting atheism. Atheism shouldn’t be about targeting Christianity (or other religions). Atheism isn’t “anti-religion” it’s just “not religion”. In conclusion, while Henderson’s intentions of raising awareness about religion being introduced in public schools as scientific fact were good, his actions seemed a little excessive and extremist.

    • shoutoutjfk says:

      I definitely agree with benjaminc that The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster is more of a parody of religion than a satirical analysis. However, I am not as strongly opposed to it as ojc31084. The religion states its presence among religions by falsely claiming divine inspiration. A direct analogy to this statement is when religion states its presence as science by claiming some inaccurate observations. I definitely see the correlation between The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster (CFSM)’s ideology and its strong mirroring of this one aspect of Christianity. Though the CFSM loses its status as a satire once people start doing ludicrous acts to mock aspects of Christianity such as saying “Ramen” instead of “Amen”. The best way to satirically present a flaw of an idea is to create an analogy which counters that flaw exactly. Though once other aspects of the idea are tarnished, the same effect occurs as in a Straw Man Fallacy as if the satirist is addressing incorrect aspects of the argument and forming a non-sequitur. Although this isn’t the case, I wish that CFSM promotes their idea of not teaching intelligent design in schools without poking fun at the beliefs of millions of people worldwide.

  12. findwhatwind says:

    To begin I would like to quickly clarify an incorrect point that benjaminc made, in that the word “amen” is not a sacred Christian word, it merely means “I believe this” and can be used in any context. I do, however, appreciate where he was coming from in regards to how many people would be offended by the CFSM and its blatant mockery of all religion, and also agree with secondcitytocapitalcity in the sense that this mocking satire might produce the opposite of the effect that it intended. Although the CFSM is clearly intended to point out the fundamental flaws in teaching religious beliefs in schools and promote a mocking view of “religious equality” in giving everyone equal opportunity to believe what they believe, the clear mockery is enough to make any religious person ignore the message it is trying to send.

    An alternate approach which conveys the same religious equality idea comes from an article that popped up on my aol homepage earlier in the year, which talks about Satanists as part of the religious right who are advocating for free prayer in public schools. ( http://abcnews.go.com/US/satanists-plan-rally-support-florida-gov-rick-scott/story?id=18219915 ) This particular instance demonstrates a real church with real religious beliefs that are clearly the opposite of Christian beliefs, and yet are still absolutely valid when it comes to the idea of teaching religious viewpoints in a public school setting. In the article phishmonkees mentioned, it is clear that this argument for teaching the creation story from the CFSM is absolutely ridiculous, and for that reason that much easier for a religious person to dispute. This consideration of a real, truly believing, though small and relatively unfounded (if you visit The Satanic Temple’s website, they explain a creation story which is a logical foundation for their faith, although I have searched and cannot find any foundation for their claims either in Scripture of elsewhere) faith having an honest say in what is taught in schools would most likely be a much more truly shocking argument, which would most likely be more effective than the use of a completely mocking satirical religion to demonstrate to creationists that creationism is in fact religion and not science, and if they want to keep their children from being taught Satanism, they need to keep the two separate.

  13. phillykid888 says:

    The article posted by findwhatwind is fascinating. People often forget about smaller religions when discussing the possibility of prayer in public schools. Advocates of such prayer–people like Florida Governor Rick Scott–are being disingenuous when they talk about concepts like “religious freedom” and use language like “inspirational message” in their legislation. What they really want is Christianity incorporated into public schools. They don’t have Islam, Hinduism, Sikhism, or Buddhism in mind when they talk about giving children the freedom to choose to practice religion in school. They certainly don’t have Satanists in mind. The fact that Scott’s press secretary simply commented, “This is a great country. Everyone has a voice,” and mentioned nothing about the rights of Satanists to practice in school shows that Scott doesn’t actually care about any religion except mainstream Christianity. These types of bills attempt to cloak their fundamentalist Christian agendas in the language of religious freedom and diversity; events like the Satanist rally help to expose their hypocrisy.

    • lnzgirl says:

      I agree with phillykid888 that those fighting for creationism, using the argument that theories other than the theory of evolution need to be taught in schools, are fighting with the sole goal to bring Christianity back into public schools. One of the loopholes in the Establishment Clause in the Constitution is the idea that the United States should also seeks to uphold American traditions. The founding fathers designed a constitution with Christian values in mind, creating a judicial system where people swear to tell the truth “so help me god,” allowing “under god” in the pledge of allegiance, and including Christian values in other aspects of life. These traditions are viewed as acceptable because they reflect on the “American way” as opposed to the furthering of a specific religion. However, some religious groups use this argument to say that creationism should and can be taught in schools because it is a tradition of the United States. However, this argument is flawed. While other traditions in the United States reflect a religious background, teaching creationism in public schools is a direct promoting of a single religion. I would guess that the Religious Right would not support the teaching evolution, creationism, as well as a host of other religious theories on the creation of man. I think its sad that even in 2005, Kansas was still supporting the teaching of intelligent design. Intelligent design is an appropriate method to teach in a non-scientific based class along with other religious theories. However, it does not belong with the theory of evolution in a science classroom because it favors Christianity and it goes against the view of the scientific community.

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