“We are not anti-religion. We are anti-crazy nonsense done in the name of religion. If there is a God and He is intelligent, would guess that He has a sense of humor. ” (Bobby Henderson, Founder of the Church of The Flying Spaghetti Monster)
“Science is uncertain. Theories are subject to revision; observations are open to a variety of interpetations and scientists quarrel amongst themselves…. There is something comforting about a view that allows for no deviation and that spares you the painful neccessity to think. (Isaac Asimov)
“History repeats itself, the first as tragedy, the second as farce.” (Karl Marx)
In case you haven’t heard, Pastafarianism is a social movement that promotes a light-hearted view of religious dogma and opposes the teaching of Christian Creationism and Intelligent Design in public schools. Their Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster was founded in 2005 by 24 year old Bobby Henderson, unemployed physics graduate from the University of Oregon, and self-described hobo and hammock enthusiast. Henderson claims that the FSM was revealed to him in a divine vision induced by lack of sleep and mounting disgust over the ongoing Intelligent Design versus evolution debates going on in public education. Intelligent Design is the latest offspring of Creationist terminology for their Bible-based belief, popular with the religious right, in an effort to use a term with more scientific sounding gloss; to conceal their fundamentalist agenda. In flawless deadpan, Henderson wrote an open letter to a Kansas School Board, demanding that his belief that the Universe was created by the Flying Spaghetti Monster, after a night of heavy drinking, be given equal time along with Intelligent Design and evolution.
Henderson reasoned that if the School Board was willing to allow one faith-based theory, why not two? As his, now famous, letter continued,” I think we can all look forward to a time when these theories are given equal time in our science classrooms across the country and eventually the world. One third for Intelligent Design, one third time for Flying Spaghetti Monsterism and one third time for logical conjecture based upon overwhelming observable evidence”. He then threatened legal action to support his demands. This open letter, also posted on the internet, soon went viral and offers of free legal counsel quickly followed.
Before long, Henderson discovered that he had in fact created a monster; as his web site receives as many as two million hits a day. Anyone logging on to www.venganza.org can see his carb-heavy deity clearly portrayed as an airborne tangle of spaghetti with eye stalks on top and giant meatball orbs on either side. However, this deity is said to also be invisible and impossible to detect, thus making it also impossible to disprove its existence. Pastafarianism is now believed by some to be one the fastest growing world religions . While the exact number of followers is unknown, they may well number in the millions. As folunding prophet of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, Henderson is delighted, as he says that he had always wanted a cult. (telegraph, u.k., September 11, 2005)
The serious message underlying the bizarre mythology of the FSM is the latest iteration of an ongoing unresolved fractal along the theme of fundamentalist Christian doctrine versus evolutionary theory concerning the orgin of our human species and a shared primate ancestry. This controversey also includes serious differences as to the meaning of separation of church and state. This conflict came to a spectacular head during the July 1925 “Scopes Monkey Trial”, in the small town of Dayton, Tennessee; a test case sponsored by the American Civil Liberties Union. John T. Scopes, a high-school biology teacher, was on trial for violating a Tennessee law that prohibited teaching of any account of divine creation, other than the Bible, in state funded schools. As a result, Darwin’s theory of evolution was also on trial.
Two of our nations most famous lawyers faced off, in this now legendary coutroom battle; famed defense attorney Clarence Darrow for science, and three time presidential candidate William Jennings Bryan as prosecutor for the creationists. The case was broadcast on radio transmissions throughout the United States, while trained chipanzees performed on the courthouse lawn. Scopes was found guilty and then the verdict was overturned on a technicality. The Rhea County Courthouse in Dayton is now a National Historical Landmark. (Edward J. Larson, Summer of The Gods: The Scopes Trial and America’s Continuing Debate Over Science and Religion, 2004)
In 1960, a fictionalized version of the Scopes trial appeared in Stanley Kramer’s film, Inherit the Wind about a coutroom battle between those who believe that the Bible is literally true and those who believe, as Spencer Tracy’s character states “, an idea is a greater monument than a cathedral”. This film was adapted from a 1955 play by the same name, written by Jerome Lawrence, as a searing indictment of anti-intellectual, religious fundamentalism. Lawrnce said,” It‘s not about science and religion it‘s about our right to think”. (“Inherit the Controversey “, The Capitol Journal, 2001-03-02).
Efforts to promote faith-based Intelligent Design creationist theories in public schools and ban evolutionary science, is again in the news with the ascension of Uber-Conservative, Fundamentalist-Christian, Betsy deVos; as President Trump’s pay-to- play appointee to serve as our Secretary of Education. Her stated agenda is simply to use public schools to “build God’s Kingdom”. History will likely show that this development is likely to further benefit the spread of Pastfarianism. However, the movement has not been without challenges as schisms have developed, including a rival faction based on SPAM (Spaghetti Pulsar Activating Meatballs). Bickering continues as to whether their Monster is made of spaghetti or linguini and whether or not he might be purple. Henderson could not be reached for comment other than a statement issued that “these people give me a headache”. As it is with most mysterious prophets, he has little contact with the outside world given that he has only a single telephone line to his home in a small town in Oregon.
In a recently published gospel from the Old Pastament, Loose-Cannon Section, we find the following among the Monster’s dictates:
“I’d rather you didn’t use my existence as a means to oppress, subjugate, punish, eviscerate and/or, you know, be mean to others.
In view of my Cornish ancestry, I am sympathetic to Monsterism’s premise that all humans are descended from pirates; yet the collander-inspired headgear doesn’t appeal, and my gluten free regime would likely disqualify me from most ritual festivites. Nevertheless, I wish them well and have sent an admittedly small donation to Prophet Henderson toward that yacht he has always wanted. (For further reading see: Henderson, Bobby, The Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, 2006).