Sunday, 3 June 2007

An excellent religion for humanists - FSM - Gospel according to Peter Klaver

Ladies and gentlemen, meet your almighty, merciful, sometimes drunken, carbohydrate-based deity that created the earth, life on earth, and the universe around it: the Flying Spaghetti Monster.



In 2005 a majority of zealously religious people on the Kansas school board decided to mandate the teaching of Intelligent Design alongside evolution in science class rooms. Evolution was ‘just a theory’ in their view. The inclusion of ID was done under the motto of ‘teaching alternative theories’ and ‘letting children hear all sides of the story and make up their minds from there’. It doesn’t take an arch-sceptic to see the hypocrisy of this excuse to push thinly-veiled creationism into science curricula. Would anyone care to place a bet if many of these Bible thumpers would welcome the teaching of atheism in religious classes, ‘to hear all sides of the story’? I’ll accept pretty steep odds against on that bet.

While Kansas is one of the worst parts of the Bible belt, there were fortunately some sensible, concerned people who took the school board to court for their clear violation of the separation of church and state. A physics graduate, Bobby Henderson, was also unhappy about the demolition of a part of science education. And he didn’t wait for the trial to come to a conclusion. He wrote an open sarcastic letter to the Kansas school board, applauding them for their attention to alternative theories. And he informed them that he and his fellow believers had an alternative theory of their own that he proposed should now receive equal time to evolution and ID. So one third of time in science classes for ID, one third for his alternative of Pastafarianism, and one third for logical conjecture based on overwhelming observable evidence. After all, children should hear all alternatives, right? And what an alternative Pastafarianism turned out to be. Ladies and gentlemen, meet your almighty, merciful, sometimes drunken, carbohydrate-based deity that created the earth, life on earth, and the universe around it: the Flying Spaghetti Monster.



The Flying Spaghetti Monster probably created the whole universe when He sneezed during a moment of alcoholic intoxication. This first fact already gives science an explanation for some of its greatest questions: where did the universe come from and why is it expanding? Anyone who has ever sneezed without covering his/her nose will understand immediately. So this mere first observation already shows you how useful and exciting a religion Pastafarianism is. Questions that have dogged the greatest minds in science can now be understood by anyone who has ever suffered a serious cold. So all astronomers and theoretical physicists who have spent their career pondering the origin of the universe can quit their jobs and spend more time with their families. Or, since theoretical physicists are invariably men who don’t know the meaning of the words ‘social life’, they can spend even more time wasting away their free hours behind game consoles or dirty websites.
After the FSM created the universe, he created life on earth. The most important part of this process was the creation of His chosen people, pirates. Sorry, what did you say? Oh boy, there’s always one, isn’t there? Whenever Pastafarians take the trouble to explain the origins of mankind, somebody just can’t resist whispering, ‘Oh, but what about the Jews?’ and then suggesting that they are the Almighty One’s chosen people. That always gives me a sort of John McEnroe feeling. I mean, the mere suggestion is ludicrous. The Jews, that troublesome bunch, being His chosen people?! You cannot be serious!! Of course they’re not, pirates are His chosen people. And they are the starting point of human evolution; we evolved from ancient pirates.




Forget those biology books that mention that we share 96% of our DNA with apes. We share 99.97% of our DNA with ancient pirates, a fact that has been censored out of practically all biology text books. No wonder then that so many people believe the myth of man being descended from apes instead of the truth of being descended from pirates.
Many adherents of other (i.e., false) religions are jealous of the special favour with which the FSM looks at pirates. In their jealousy they have tried to slander pirates and portray them as murderous thugs who kill people for gold or money. In reality they are of course the most kind and gentle souls who help old ladies cross the street and give candy to children. But the relentless Vatican-led efforts to tarnish their reputation have been rather successful and pirate numbers have dropped dramatically over the last few centuries to the point where there are hardly any left today. This unjust persecution of His chosen ones has of course greatly upset the FSM. And as a punishment, he is visiting increasingly intense global warming on us. That’s right, evolution is not the only lie told by scientists. Gravity and global warming being caused by CO2 emissions are lies too. Gravity is actually a matter of the FSM pushing us down with His noodly appendages (a.k.a. Intelligent Falling) and global warming is His punishment for what we did to His chosen creatures. There is clear evidence for this. If you look at global temperatures, they have been going up increasingly fast since the number of pirates started to decline. This bring us to one of the fundamental documents underlying Pastafarianism, the by-now world-famous graph of global temperatures vs. the number of pirates:


The correlation in the graph is so sharp that it can only signify a direct causal relationship; i.e., global warming really is caused by the lack of pirates. Hence, full pirate regalia is the official dress of Pastafarians, as it helps to stave off heat and drought.
While the graph is undeniable, there will always be some sceptics who choose not to see The Great Truth. For them there is even stronger, verifiable evidence. Look at Halloween: people dress up, some as pirates. So there is a temporary spike in the number of pirates. Just that short temporary spike is already enough for us to receive the great mercy of the FSM, for He is merciful indeed. Each year after the temporary rise in the number of pirates, the FSM in His great mercy grants us several months off from global warming in a period known as winter. And this is not something that happens some years, doesn’t happen in others. It’s an unbroken pattern that has gone on for centuries without a single exception. That cannot be a coincidence. Clearly there is a design to that regular pattern, and an intelligent design at that. And the only possible explanation for it is the FSM. We are blessed to be living under His great mercy, we are truly blessed.
No matter how blessed we are, at some time we will all have to leave this life behind and head for a better one. This is not something to be sad about. In fact, Pastafarian Paradise is absolutely terrific. It is probably one of the reasons why Pastafarianism is experiencing such an explosion in the number of adherents. In the middle of Pastafarian Paradise there is a row of geologically active mountains. A volcano spewing red hot lava would not be something to be thrilled about, but then the volcanoes in Pastafarian Paradise don’t spew lava. The largest one in the middle spews beer. That’s right, there is a beer volcano to look forward to if you lead your life as a devout Pastafarian pirate. The smaller side arteries of that volcano spew a variety of other alcoholic drinks, as well as non-alcoholic ones. And there is more. The angels in Pastafarian Paradise are not the dull neutered creatures that buzz around the fairy tale places that are Christian and Muslim heaven. No, Pastafarians get an infinitely better deal: the angels in Pastafarian Paradise are strippers! No wonder than that Pastafarianism is the world’s fastest growing religion. What other religion could ever hope to compete with what Pastafarianism has to offer? If you had to choose between Pastafarianism with hot stripper angels or silly Islam with totally inexperienced, clumsy virgins that tell you to go easy because otherwise you’d hurt them, what would you choose?
The promise of an afterlife full of beer and highly arousing angels is of course open to all who play by the rules. The rules are very simple and reasonable, as spelled out by our great prophet Bobby Henderson in the Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. The rules are embodied in the eight ‘I’d really rather you didn’t’ statements. It’s all very reasonable stuff. When adhered to by everyone, it would make for a much better world than what follows from the Ten Commandments, not to mention the violent lunacy preached by the Koran or Old Testament. For instance, rule #7 states ‘I’d really rather you didn’t go around telling people I talk to you. You’re not that interesting’. That would save a ton of trouble compared to medieval popes or present day US presidents starting the occasional war because they claim God told them to do so. By the way, in the case of the Iraq war, am I the only one who thinks it is slightly suspicious that God spoke to Bush through the White House intercom and that his voice sounded so much like Dick Cheney (a joke I nicked from someone else, I must admit)? Or look at rule #6: I’d really rather you didn’t build multi-million dollar churches/temples/mosques/shrines to my noodly goodness when the money could be better spent (take your pick):
A. Ending poverty
B. Curing diseases
C. Living in peace, loving with passion, and lowering the cost of cable
What if you don’t follow the rules? Will you burn in hell for all eternity? No, of course not; Pastafarianism is a very benign faith. If you misbehave you will still go to Paradise, but there will be some setbacks. The beer will be stale and the stripper angels will be 83-year-olds with horribly wrinkled skin and artificial limbs and you have to watch them for hours a day. That will teach you to be better from then on, you sinful bastard!
One group of people who are headed for a large pint of stale beer are those evil ones who have caused a split in the Pastafarian congregation. No, when I mention evil ones I’m not talking of rice eaters (although they certainly are the servants of Satan, luring people away from the Holy Pasta towards the darkness of rice, or even worse, beans), I’m talking of the separatist macaroni-ites. While they may have some good intentions, they are horribly misguided, claiming that our great and merciful pasta-based deity is made of macaroni instead of spaghetti. Now that is, of course, just utterly ridiculous. I mean, claiming that the whole universe was created by a bunch of macaroni with meatballs in between really is nonsense. Who on FSM’s green earth would ever believe that sort of rubbish?! But we are glad this schism has happened. Every relatively new, aspiring religion must have a split as a sort of sign of coming of age. And Pastafarianism has passed that milestone with ease. And hey, we won’t be the ones who will drink stale beer for it, they will.
The Gospel of the FSM is a truly inspiring, enlightening work that will change the life of anyone who reads it. In this Internet age it is, however, not the only way to spread the word of His Noodly glory. The great prophet Bobby Henderson sometimes gives us the word of what is new in the world of Pastafarianism through the online Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster at http://www.venganza.org. Here the Pastafarian regulars meet online to share some fun at the latest hate mail sent in by fairy-tale believing (usually Christian) fundamentalists. And boy, do these loving, caring believers produce some foul language. There are some common features to their posts. It’s often all in capitals (Internet equivalent of yelling), makes disproportionate use of exclamation marks, has many grammatical and spelling errors, is stuffed from beginning to end with swearing and assertions of all Pastafarians being homosexual. So, for instance, fundie Joe posts something like ‘YOU FUCKIN FAGOTS ALL NEED TO READ YOU BYBEL AND LEARN TO LOVE JEZUS OR I WILL SHOVE AN OAR UP YOUR GAYTARDS ASSES. GOTO HELL!!!!!!!!’ Lovely. The usual response to a post like that is something that drives them even more nuts: we respond the way that an evangelical Christian would respond if you get fed up with their nonsense and tell them to drop dead. ‘Joe, there seems to be such terrible anger in your heart. Don’t you realize, Joe, the FSM LOVES YOU TOO! He loves you, just as he loves all of us. No matter how hard you try to deny him, Joe, He loves you. So open your heart to the FSM and He will take away all your anger. Open your heart to the FSM and you too will feel the warm embrace of His noodly appendages. And remember, Joe, no matter what, no matter how ugly life may seem at times, the FSM loves you. He loves you Joe!’. By the way, the ‘Go burn in Hell’ part is one that the regular Pastafarian posters always welcome. Hell is the name of a small village in Norway. So we should go burn there? Fine. In the tradition of heaping sarcastic scorn on fundies, one poster came up with a number of questions. ‘When you say we should go burn in Hell, did you mean you will provide us with complimentary flight tickets to the nearest airport? And what about ground transportation after we land, will you pay for that as well? Also, the place is snowed under for most of the year; do we bring our own dry wood or coal to get a fire going? It seems very strange that you should tell us to burn anything in that fairly unremarkable small place where it might prove somewhat hard to get any fire going’.
Occasionally another type of HDD sufferer (Humour Deficit Disorder, a mental condition common in the deep South of the US) comes to the website and makes an attempt to make a serious post. Something like ‘How can you possibly believe that life on earth and the universe were created by a bunch of spaghetti if man created spaghetti only a few hundred years ago?’. They don’t get it, do they? If only they had read the Gospel of the FSM, they would have known that the FSM was always there; it just took mankind a while to figure it out. And once they did, man created pasta in His image.
And finally there is the category of fundies who think they’ll frighten us when they tell us that they intend to boil and eat our Noodly deity by having spaghetti for dinner, ‘Haha, I will boil and eat your God!!’. The best fun is when the fundie turns out to be a Catholic. You’re going to eat our God? Fine. Isn’t that what you do yourself every Sunday when the priest hands out those not-very-tasty crisps to the congregation that are supposed to be the body of Jesus? We all eat our God, but at least we have the good taste not to resort to cannibalism in the process. Or to become vampires, like the priests. Isn’t that wine supposed to be the blood of Christ? Quite repugnant that anyone should drink it, such open and unashamed bloodthirsty vampireism. Makes the rampant paedophilia among priests almost seem harmless in comparison.
When things are a bit slow and we suffer a period of fundie drought then there are ways to bait them into action. Some creative photoshopping can go a long way to getting some very angry responses. Take, for instance, the famous painting on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, The Creation of Adam. Someone reworked that into the picture below:



I think it’s probably best if I don’t repeat the language that the loving, caring Christians produced when they saw that.
Unfortunately, ignorance of the FSM and the resulting misunderstanding and intolerance doesn’t end with fundies making bad posts on the FSM website. Some Pastafarians suffer outright religious discrimination. A student was told to remove his eye patch in class. He pointed out that pirate regalia is a religious symbol for Pastafarians and that others are allowed to wear crosses around their necks. It seems highly unreasonable that people would be allowed to wear a miniature-sized instrument of capital punishment around their neck, but not an eye patch. Be fair now, wearing an eye patch is much less offensive than showing an apparatus of death (and a pretty gruesome, slow, painful death at that) to everyone. Yet, the student had to remove his eye patch. When he refused he got suspended. So a discussion thread was started on the FSM website with several Pastafarians reporting that they wrote letters to the school complaining about the blatant discrimination that one of theirs had suffered. One took it a bit further and mentioned filing a case with American Civil Liberties Union. So yes, Pastafarianism shows all the signs of a fully mature religion, including our adherents making an awful lot of noise about being repressed the moment some good common sense is about to interfere with the practise of our religion in some small and insignificant way.
Whether by the threat of lawsuits or the irresistable attractions, Pastafarianism is the world’s fastest growing religion. The unofficial stats are that it has gained more than ten million followers in the few years it has been around. Other religions simply can’t compete and will soon be thrown on the dung heap of history where they belong. When I posted a question asking the people in the forum what country they were from, we racked up a list of 25 countries in less than 48 hours. Pastafarianism is sweeping the globe. People everywhere are starting to feel the warm embrace of His noodly appendages. We even have a US presidential candidate for the 2008 elections. With a very interesting election program, I might add. Combating global warming and preserving endangered species are high on the agenda. The latter has led to a plan to cordon off part of the Bible belt in the US and turn it into a safari park. Pastafarian tourists could go on tour to look at how the primitive, under-evolved people there live. Tourists would be allowed to come up close to the Christians, feed them bananas, etc. like in a zoo. Some might say that these people are at a Darwinian dead end and that as a group they deserve to go extinct. While no sensible person would argue with that, they are a source of great laughter and it’s worth keeping some of them around as a source of entertainment.
I must say that the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster website at www.venganza.org is by far the most social, humorous, atheist-minded website I’ve ever seen. One poster probably said it best when he noted that Pastafarianism has helped a lot of atheists to come out of their non-religious closet. When you post something on the website as a new poster, you’re usually welcomed by the regulars. You feel you are among friends. There is a mailing list of the ‘inner circle’ of Pastafarians who exchange their experiences or funny thoughts. I’ve made a number of online friends since posting there. Go on and check it out sometime.


Coming back to the origin of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, there is a happy ending for now. A district court heard the case against the Kansas school board. The presiding judge saw right through the nonsense that the ID’ers tried to put up and recognised that ID is no more than creationism v1.1. He had some particularly interesting comments on the ‘scientific’ nature of ID, as testified to by leading pro-ID witnesses. In his ruling on the case he wrote:

“First, defense expert Professor Fuller agreed that ID aspires to “change the ground rules” of science and lead defense expert Professor Behe admitted that his broadened definition of science, which encompasses ID, would also embrace astrology. (28:26 (Fuller); 21:37-42 (Behe)). Moreover, defense expert Professor Minnich acknowledged that for ID to
be considered science, the ground rules of science have to be broadened to allow consideration of supernatural forces. (38:97 (Minnich)).”

The judge also had some nice comments on the methods and honesty of the ID’ers, noting that some had committed outright perjury:

“Finally, although Buckingham, Bonsell, and other defense witnesses denied the reports in the news media and contradicted the great weight of the evidence about what transpired at the June 2004 Board meetings, the record reflects that these witnesses either testified inconsistently, or lied outright under oath on several occasions, and are accordingly not credible on these points.”

Judge Jones really tore the ID case into very miniscule pieces. YouTube carries an interesting webcast by Ken Miller on the collapse of ID, see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JVRsWAjvQSg.
After the 2006 midterm elections, the IDiots on the Kansas school board lost their majority and the new board did not appeal the case. Instead they quickly threw ID out of the science curriculum and reasserted the status of evolution as proper science. So things are ok for now. No doubt the creationists will be back. ID arose as a response to creationism being banned from science class rooms in the late 1980s. Now that ID has been officially recognised as creationism with some scientific jargon, the creationists are bound to think of some other way to try to demolish science education. Or if they can’t muck up the US education system, those who can afford it will take their children out of public education altogether and home school them, as home schooling allows parents to feed their children any flavour of religious nonsense. Still, that would limit the scope of the damage.
So while the original cause for the rise of Pastafarianism is gone, Pastafarianism lives on, gathering an ever increasing number of adherents. May the whole world soon feel the warm embrace of the Flying Spaghetti Monster’s Noodly appendages.

Peter Klaver,
Pastafarian humanist

1 comment:

Peter Klaver said...

erratum: my article appeared here before it returned from proof-reading. Someone very correctly pointed out that it was not the Kansas school board but the Dover, Pennsylvania board that was taken to court.