The Ridiculous Flying Spaghetti Monster
Many philosophers and great minds have tried to define religion and while none are completely correct in their definitions, they each encapsulate some of what it means to be religious. Max Weber’s definition of religion was the one that I thought was most applicable to the religion I’ll be discussing. He said “to say what it is, is not possible… the essence of religion is not even out concern, as we make it our task to study the conditions and effects of a particular type of social behavior.”
This definition applies quite well to this religion because it would be difficult for me to call this a “religion” in the sense that most people think of when they hear that term. I will explain what I mean by this later on. This Church of The Flying Spaghetti Monster, or Pastafarianism, is the name of this religion and despite how ridiculous the name may sound, there is a reason they called it that. What initially peaked my interest about this group was the stickers I would see on cars. At first glance they looked like the fish stickers seen on many Christian vehicles only these stickers were modified to look like the picture seen to the right.
It was then that I looked up what “FSM” meant and was thoroughly confused at the name. But a short time later I saw a news story that CTV put out about a BC man who said it was his right to where a colander on his head for his ID. He claimed this right because the colander is a religious piece of headwear for the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster and should be allowed just like a turban is allowed for a Muslim. This peaked my curiosity enough to look up what this religion was about.
Now, I said earlier that it would be hard for me to define this as a religion in the typical sense of the word. But it does have its beliefs and customs (the colander for example) so why is it different? Well what I found out when I did some research that the reason their belief system was started was to satirize religions that believe in intelligent design, or a Creator such as Christianity. It was started by a man named Bobby Henderson as a jab at a few Christian groups who were trying to stop the teaching of evolution in schools and it has gained a lot of support. His mocking of intelligent design went as far as Henderson saying that the “FSM” appeared to him in a dream, that the “FSM” created the world while he was drunk and even offered a $1,000,000 reward on his website (www.venganza.com) to anyone who could prove that the “FSM” didn’t exist.
The article on the Telegraph goes on further with more of Henderson’s satirical beliefs. But whether or not you could call Pastafarianism a ‘religion” or not is not really the issue as Weber stated in his definition of religion. Pastafarianism is a social behavior that is trying to point out how ridiculous they believe it is to believe in an intelligent creator who by nature, cannot be proven to exist. They do not think it wise to put faith in a being who is not tangible and this is a legitimate worldview. Despite the fact that their god is a monster with spaghetti and meatballs for a body, they have beliefs and this is their way of practicing them.