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The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, after having existed in secrecy for hundreds of years, came into the mainstream just a few years ago*.
With millions, if not thousands, of devout worshipers, the Church of the FSM is widely considered a legitimate religion, even by its opponents – mostly fundamentalist Christians, who have accepted that our God has larger balls than theirs.
Some claim that the church is purely a thought experiment or satire, illustrating that Intelligent Design is not science, just a pseudoscience manufactured by Christians to push Creationism into public schools. These people are mistaken — The Church of FSM is legit, and backed by hard science. Anything that comes across as humor or satire is purely coincidental.
For a taste of what we’re about, watch this video made by our friend Matt Tillman, an Introduction to Pastafarianism: Spaghetti, Wenches & Metaphysics.
We believe religion – say Christianity, Islam, Pastafarianiasm – does not require literal belief in order to provide spiritual enlightenment. Much of the transcendent experience of religion can be attributed to the community. And while some members of religion are indoctrinated True Believers, many are not. There are many levels of Belief and each is no more or less legitimate than the other.
That is to say, you do not have to Believe to be part of our Church, but we hope in time you will see the Truth. But skeptics, as well as members of other religions, are always welcome.
Religious texts tell us that humans evolved from Pirates. Consider that so-called “science experts” would have us believe humans evolved from primates, pointing towards the shared 99% shared DNA between humans and primates. But humans and Pirates share upwards of 99.9% of DNA.
We believe that Pirates were the original Pastafarians and that they were peaceful explorers. It was only due to Christian misinformation that they have an image of outcast criminals today.
No one knows what the afterlife really holds, but we are told FSM Heaven has a Beer Volcano and Stripper Factory.
There is no formal membership process and we do not collect money from our members. The site is supported purely by our Certificates of Ordination.
If you’re read for the immense responsibility of the priesthood, please become a minister.
If you just want to join the church, there is no formal sign up process or dues collected. Please consider yourself a member.
Evangelism is a time-honored tradition of religion, and it’s no different with Pastafarianism. Nothing helps the Cause more than Spreading the Word.
Here are a few of my favorite acts of evangelism over the years. Please let these inspire you.
How about a Float in honor of the FSM, complete with a crew of Pirates? This is a yearly occurrence at the Fremont Solstice Parade. Check it out here.
Every year, Pastafarians from around the world make their Holiday just a little more festive. Tree-toppers have become a tradition. Here are some of my favorites. (Sadly I do not know who is the cute girl in the photo.)
Look at all these people enchanted by this display of evangelism. How many joined the Church because of this? What a great display. You can see some more photos Here.
It’s a common sight at colleges across the world: Christian evangelists telling us why we’re going to their Hell for drinking and having sex. So why not join in the evangelizing? Give the students a choice: the Christian threat of eternal damnation and hellfire, or the chance of FSM afterlife complete with a Beer Volcano and Stripper Factory. You can read more about these Pastafarian gentleman’s fine ministry work Here.
Here’s Bruder Spaghettus in Full Pirate Regalia standing next to the sign announcing the time and location of the weekly faith service, Noodlemass. (Other Churches in Germany are allowed this right, so why not Pastafarians).
We’re living in enlightened times — feel free to wear your religious headwear (yes, it’s a colander) at the workplace. In the photo, Mr. Schaeffer is getting sworn in at his new position as council member. You can read more about it Here.
Why not wear a colander in your ID photos? Most places are cool with it, and those who are not can surely be poked by the ACLU. In the photo here, Mr. Alm has won the right to wear his Colander in his Austrian ID photo. You can read more about it Here.
Why not show your faith next time you carve a pumpkin?
Q: Is this a joke?
A: It’s not a joke. Elements of our religion are sometimes described as satire and there are many members who do not literally believe our scripture, but this isn’t unusual in religion. A lot of Christians don’t believe the Bible is literally true – but that doesn’t mean they aren’t True Christians.
If you say Pastafarians must believe in a literal Flying Spaghetti Monster to be True Believers, then you can make a similar argument for Christians. There is a lot of outlandish stuff in the Bible that rational Christians choose to ignore.
Q: A lot of Pastafarians seem to be anti-religion and/or atheists (why is this?)
A: We’re not anti-religion. This is NOT an atheists club. Anyone and everyone is welcome to join our church including current members of other religions. In addition to the Atheists, Agnostics, and Freethinkers who have joined us, we have a number of Christian (and Muslim, and Hindu and Buddhist …) members and I would love to have more. Note to the religious: You are welcome here.
Let me make this clear: we are not anti-religion, we are anti- crazy nonsense done in the name of religion. There is a difference.
Q: I don’t believe you or any of your so-called followers actually believe any of this.
A: Some Pastafarians honestly believe in the FSM, and some see it as satire. I would just make the point that satire is an honest, legitimate basis for religion. Satire relies on truth to be effective. If it’s a joke, it’s a joke where to understand the punchline you must be conscious of underlying truth.
Compare our religion to those that are built on lies. I am not talking necessarily about mainstream religions (which themselves are often full of mysticism and ad-hoc reasoning), but think of cults, or churches where the leaders are scamming their followers out of money. These are groups where the followers fully believe. Are these churches legitimate since they have many True Believers?
Or can we agree that religion is as much about community as any shared faith. By any rational metric, Pastafarians are as legitimate a religious group as any. Arguably more so, since we’re honest and rational.
Q: What is the Church of FSM’s view on abortion and right to life issues?
A: The Church of FSM’s position is that life starts before conception (somewhere around the point of seeing the boobs), and that sperms – as potential humans if allowed to develop – deserve the same protections as fetuses and fully grown people. Anyone who harms sperms is guilty of murder, including pushers of hot water Jacuzzi’s and tight-fitting underwears. We are all equal in the eyes of the LORD our Almighty Flying Spaghetti Monster.
Q: We want to use FSM designs for t-shirt, jerseys, posters…
A: It’s ok to use FSM materials for your own use and to spread the word – I’m happy to see it. There have been a number of sports team and club shirts — I can provide high quality images/vector designs for screen printing, just let me know.
That said, please do not *SELL* FSM products.
Q: What Does the Flying Spaghetti Monster think of Same Sex Marriage?
A: The CotFSM has no judgement on same sex marriage, for/against; that is to say, all are welcome into the loving embrace of His Noodly Appendage. (And there are many gay/bi members).
Q: In 1000 years will FSM be a mainstream religion?
A: This is something I think about a lot. I sometimes wonder what the Church of Scientology — or lets say the Mormon Church looked like 5 years after Joseph Smith transcribed the scriptures out of the hat with the seer stones. What worries me is that right now I can be pretty sure there aren’t a lot of dogmatic nutty FSM people around, but what about in 20 years? What about in 50 years? What about when someone figures out a way to make money out of this and turns it into some new age spiritual enlightenment thing. There are billions of Christians who are crazy serious about their religion who don’t necessarily believe the things in the Bible actually happened. So .. yes, I do worry where FSM will go. I think the best we can do is work to instill in the Church positive values that will keep us on a straight path.
Q: How do Pastafarians believe our world was created?
A: We believe the Flying Spaghetti Monster created the world much as it exists today, but for reasons unknown made it appear that the universe is billions of years old (instead of thousands) and that life evolved into its current state (rather than created in its current form). Every time a researcher carries out an experiment that appears to confirm one of these “scientific theories” supporting an old earth and evolution we can be sure that the FSM is there, modifying the data with his Noodly Appendage. We don’t know why He does this but we believe He does, that is our Faith.
Q: To what extent do Pastafarians need evidence to support their beliefs? What is considered valid evidence, and why are some religious ideas lacking evidence believed more widely than others? Why is Christianity more widely accepted than Pastafarianism?
A: For many religions, acceptance is due to the time it has been around and due to the number of people who already follow it. For potential followers it’s often less a consideration of evidence, and more a judgment that the collective group of followers is better informed. That millions or billions of people already follow this religion is strong social proof that there is something to it. The larger the group and the longer it has been around, the more pronounced the effect.
But nonbelievers are overreaching when they dismiss the phenomenon of religion as wrong and useless because it so often lacks a basis in evidence. The fact that millions of people get something positive out of a religion – even if it is based in superstition – *does* mean something. But that’s not to say it’s True, only that it has Value. For many people, religion is about being part of a community and being part of something bigger and more important than themselves. These transcendent experiences are something we want to emulate.
Nonbelievers would be better off criticizing only on the negative, damaging parts of religion, and being less judgmental about the idea of religion in general. Nonbelievers get hung up asking for evidence when really we should be looking at why does religion thrive despite evidence? We should be pushing the idea that faith is not equivalent to evidence-based-reasoning without insisting that it’s inferior, only that they are different ways of seeing the world. And that the problems happen when these world views clash.
Pastafarianism is different than most religions in that we explicitly make the point that our scripture need not be believed literally. In other religions this is known but not often said out loud (many Christians don’t take the Bible literally but won’t volunteer this). Pastafarian scripture has some outlandish and sometimes contradictory components – and unlike the scripture of mainstream religion, these pieces were intentional and obvious, and our congregation is aware of this.
Age: [current year minus 1980]. I was 25-ish when the Church became known.
Education: I have a Physics degree from Oregon State University.
Location: I grew up in Oregon, USA. I went to college in Oregon. I lived in New Zealand for a year, and then Nevada and Arizona in the US, and then back to Oregon. For the last several years I’ve lived in the Philippines on a small island. I come back to the US when work requires. Some day I plan to float around on a boat.
Occupation aside from prophet of FSM: I work in software and general nerdery. But I am a hobo at heart and a hammock enthusiast.
You are welcome to Contact Me
*1: The Church of the FSM came into the mainstream in 2005 after this open letter was published.