With religious extremism and intra-movement dissent taking all the fun out of fundamentalism, isn’t it about time we had a parody religion, maybe focusing on a benevolent deity made of complex carbohydrates?

Enter Bobby Henderson, a 25-year-old with a physics degree from Oregon State University. According to a recent article in the New York Times, Henderson claims that he was visited in a dream by the Flying Spaghetti Monster, an airborne tangle of spaghetti and meatballs with two eyes. Prayers to the FSM, obviously, end not in “amen,” but in “ramen.”

[Cue Dr. Atkins spinning in his grave.]

But Henderson’s not just poking fun at religion in general. He’s reacting to a recent decision by the Kansas School Board’–and an approach endorsed by Our Valiant Leader George Bush and Senator Bill “I Heart God” Frist– to allow teachers to teach theories of Intelligent Design in schools.

Not being intelligent nor a designer nor in school myself, I had to go to the internet to figure out what that means, exactly:

According to Wikipedia, Intelligent Design (or ID, as it’s known) “is the controversial assertion that certain features of the universe and of living things exhibit the characteristics of a product resulting from an intelligent cause or agent, not an undirected process such as natural selection. Though publicly most ID advocates state that their focus is on detecting evidence of design in nature, without regard to who or what the designer might be, in statements to their constituents and supporters nearly all state explicitly that they believe the designer to be the Christian God.” Furthermore, “is not recognized as a scientific theory and has been categorized by the mainstream scientific community as creationist pseudoscience. ” (Ah. Pseudoscience. Just like Tom Cruise predicted about psychiatry…)

Anyway, Henderson is trying to make a point: that it’s absurd to teach intelligent design as science. On Henderson’s site, he posts some of the tenets and beliefs of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, including the fact that “it is disrespectful to teach our beliefs without wearing His chosen outfit, which of course is full pirate regalia.” (See site for a hilarious graph that points out the decrease in number of pirates over the years…)

Now, Mr. Henderson says on his Web site, “over 10 million people have been touched by His Noodly Appendage.” The article also refers to the resultant FSM religion as–wait for it–Pastafarianism.

Ninety-five percent of those who wrote to him, he said on his Web site, were “in favor of teaching Flying Spaghetti Monsterism in schools.” Five percent suggested that he would be going to hell.

[Which is, of course, a sure sign that you’ve tapped into something important.]

The Church has garnered quite a following, the article reports: two dozen academics have endorsed the pasta god and three members of the Kansas board who already opposed teaching intelligent design “wrote kind letters to Mr. Henderson.”

But don’t worry…even fake, intelligently constructed and randomly detailed parodies of religions have rival factions and dissent among the ranks:

A rival faction, based on SPAM (Spaghetti & Pulsar Activating Meatballs), has formed. And there’s bickering, Mr. Henderson said in an e-mail message, about whether the god is made of spaghetti or linguini. Those people, he noted, “give me a headache.”

UPDATE, NOVEMBER 7: He’s got a book deal!

(Via JenTheChaosQueen)

About the author

Esther Kustanowitz

For more posts by Esther, see EstherK.com, MyUrbanKvetch.com and JDatersAnonymous.com.

19 Comments

  • HERETIC! Spagetti is a SIMPLE carb, NOT a “complex” one, unless it is made from soy or whole wheat. Foods made from refined white flour are the devil’s own creation! Now give me ten sit-ups and a mile on the treadmill.

  • It is “complex” in that it is a deity. And in that deificiousness, its divine molecular structure is made up of whole wheat atoms. Trust me.

  • Given a choice between theocrats and tedious, unfunny, pompous Intarweb dweebery, I’m inclined to go with the former.

  • Muffti is sooo on the other side of the fence from JSinger it isn’t even funny. The FSM has been around for a while and it’s eerie just how many standard responses the religious give to the skeptics are reproduceable in defense of the noodle deity. Muffti doesn’t think that proves very much, but it is, ahem, food for thought…

  • I think the FSM/pirate-enhanced Last Supper painting may have just made my year.

    And on a more serious note, I’m not sure why some prominent Jews (Dennis Prager, are you listening?) are so keen on allowing a certain strain of American Christians the right to jam their agenda into every facet of public and private life.

  • Politics is one big bore, Mickster. It is mostly an excuse to exhibit hate for someone else because they have a different view than one’s own.

  • Well, I read a great SF story a bit ago about the Church of the Chocolate Rabbit or some such thing…..and you know how science fiction seems to predict reality (I say as I go for a spin in my hover-car).

  • I don’t really watch TV, nor have I ever. But try again. If you keep at it, chief, someday someone might actually find you amusing.

    By the way, is your employer aware you spend so much company time on the Internet? I hope your brilliant comedy album / brilliant new Jewish dating website take off, ’cause this can’t be a good way to keep a job.

  • Well your frame of references are very juvenile, micheal.Oh so you listen to pop music alot then?
    I made a comment about people’s obsessions w/ politics, how is that 10th grade anarchist stoner, wow, so cool michalea. How that leap was made I have no idea. If you want me to stop posting on this duby site, just ask, don’t have to beat around the bush.

  • Nope. Don’t listen to pop music either.

    As far as how I made that leap, well, “Politics is just like a huge excuse to hate other people, duuuuuude,” is, well, something a stoned pseudo-anarchist in tenth grade would say. Or somebody desperately holding onto their past Haight-Ashbury 1967 glory. Pass the cutchie.

    Anyway, what am I saying? Are you offering to leave? Seriously? Well then by all means! Bye bye, Jobber!

  • I see you threw in the duuuude there, wasn’t there that television program where they did this, Beavis and Butthead?

    Fortunately, not all the JL people are so rude and low level. So I get your hatred Michael, but will remain a visitor to this site, if that is allowed.

    You would be better off not being so fueled by hate and antagonism, and be open to another person’s ideas and opinions rather than your knee jerk reaction, it is very pointless. You can have the last word, I am preferring not to have any conversations w/ you mickster, but you insist w/ your juvenile put down games for some reason.

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