Pastafarianism: My favorite type of disrespect
Easter has come and gone. For some of us, it was a day of genuine rejoicing about the whole “Christ is risen” thing, but for most of us, it was simply a day to spend with our families, eat good food and hide Easter eggs for the kids (or search for them yourself).
For others, like Jews, Muslims, Hindus, and many others, it was just any other Sunday. And, of course, there are those who generally disapprove of the holiday as opponents of the orthodoxy of any religion. Counted among this last group would certainly be adherents of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. This organization, also referred to as Pastafarianism, was recently granted permission to register as a religion in Poland, making headlines across Europe for their rather controversial take on religion.
Created in 2005, the religion worships a noodly monster “who created all that we see and all that we feel.” Though the adherents of the faith often claim to be genuine, mostly everybody sees through the farce and some go so far as to criticize the religion for mocking important beliefs for many of those across the world. But this is a deeply misunderstood noodly creature. When it comes to religion, there are generally three ways to approach it. 1) You follow it as an adherent and keep it a personal matter, refraining from excessive display and pushing it on anyone. 2) You respect it more as a cultural part of human life and enjoy the aspects of community and reflection it brings. 3) You ignore it so long as it doesn’t affect your life. At first glance, one would probably say that the Ramen-like god violates these general rules of thumb. However, the followers of this religion do it for a purpose. The existence of Christianity threatens them in a very serious way. Bobby Henderson first created this faith in outrage toward the Kansas State Board of Education’s decision to permit the teaching of intelligent design in public schools. He mocked the board's choice to use the dreadful science of the Creation Science Association of Mid-America and ridicules the idea to split time between something “logical conjecture based on overwhelming observable evidence” and the pseudo-science of creationism. In short, the religion is not there simply to mock people’s beliefs. It is there for the express purpose of keeping intelligent design out of public schools, as it rightfully should be. The founder of this church had a very specific quarrel with religion and he has fought it with satire extremely effectively. Instead of deriding Pastafarianism as an immature practice of making fun of people’s precious beliefs, I think we need to step back and understand that they are one of the few groups going about religious criticism in the right way. They are keeping their problems with a certain aspect of religion very specific instead of making sweeping generalizations about entire religions. In the words of Henderson, "I don't have a problem with religion. What I have a problem with is religion posing as science.”
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