For Six Word Saturday. More six words and photos are only a click away.
One of the fun and exciting, but also challenging aspects of being a priest is that you are sometimes asked deeply existential questions, and people actually expect a well-thought and meaningful answer. Fortunately, I have read a great amount of books, and have a deep pool of background knowledge to drain on, even when asked (completely out of the blue), whether I believe in evolution and naturalism.
The answer to the first question – whether as a Pastafarian I believe in evolution – is quite easy. Obviously not. That is – I believe we can observe evolution and it’s consequences. But I believe it being the work of the Flying Spaghetti Monster that just made it seem that evolution exists, whether in reality it is the FSM that is pulling the strings. Since we have no way of communicating with FSM directly, nor do we have a way of proving that proposition, we can merely believe in it, in the spiritual sense. In practice, we can handle as if evolution does exist as a stand-alone feature of life as we know it. It is a bit like Newton’s laws and the Relativity Theory. We know that everything is relative, that matter and energy are equal and that light is both a particle and a wave. But for (almost) all practical purposes, Newton’s laws are rather sufficient.
With regard to naturalism, things get slightly more complex. The question regarded not naturalism in literature, over the existence of which there is no discussion (as far as I know). Rather, I was asked to address the Pastafarian view on the philosophical concept of naturalism, the idea that our conscience arises from our physical brain and that the spiritual soul does not exist. According to the person who asked me that question, if we assume naturalistic evolution of consciousness as a by-product of survival of the fittest, then our brains have evolved to survive and not to discover truths. Therefore, we can not trust our brains with philosophical questions because our brains have not been designed to think. As a consequence, we can not trust our ideas about atheism (among other things) and if we come up with rational arguments against (or for) the existence of a Creator, these arguments are worthless, since they can’t be trusted.
Firstly, I think that the struggle for survival is won by those organisms who detect truths. Is it a dead log or a crocodile in the water? Are these mushrooms poisonous? The detection of such facts is rather essential for your survival. Natural selection promotes truth-finding, and our brains are designed by the Flying Spaghetti Monster (who concealed this as evolution) to find out what is real and what is not.
Secondly, I think that this line of thought is rather futile. I believe, most of all, that the world around us is way too beautiful and interesting and exciting to discover it, without making a fuss about who or what created it – God, Flying Spaghetti Monster or a seemingly random sequence of events known as evolution. Instead of spending time pondering such grave issues, you’d be much better off laying on the beach, reading a good book, having a walk or giving attention to your loved ones.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ll go and have a beer. Cheers.
Why shouldn’t people be allowed to wear something on their head in an official photo? The purpose of the photo is for people to be recognizable. If the Sikhs and Moslima’s are recognizable with tulbands and hijabs on their heads, so are Pastafarians with their Holy Colanders. At any rate, the laws should apply to everyone regardless of their faith or lack thereof.
Should Flying Spaghetti Monster worshipers be allowed to wear colanders on their heads in drivers’ license photos? Maybe so. Today, four conservative justices hinted that someone might want to bring them a good Free Exercise case soon so they can unseat a long-standing and long-criticized case called Employment Division v. Smith. That case, penned by Justice Scalia, had in turn uprooted several decades-worth of precedent that had built up a robust bulwark of religious rights under the First Amendment’s Free Exercise Clause.
It’s a funny twist. Liberal justices like Justice William Brennan had built up strong protections under the Free Exercise Clause, such as allowing Amish to pull their children from high school early because of their faith, or allowing Saturday Sabbath worshipers to enjoy certain exceptions to work requirements for unemployment benefits. Then the penultimate conservative justice, Antonin Scalia, dealt a severe blow to those precedents in Smith
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The above image was found at http://www.venganza.org and was created by Sarah. Religiosity does not own this image.
In Christmas of 2017, I believe, my good friend Jansis bought me a copy of the book called the Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. I had been asking for religious texts and this was the only book on my list I actually received. For some reason, it’s been really hard to get people to buy me books for Christmas. Many of my family don’t like to shop online because they don’t trust it. Either way, I got the book.
A Little About the Church
As someone from Kansas, I’m deeply interested in the Flying Spaghetti Monster (FSM.) What’s the connection? Well, in 2005 a very interesting letter was written to the Kansas State Board of Education during a time where the board was deciding whether to add creationism and intelligent…
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The Pastafarian idea of a heaven is that it has a beer volcano and a stripper factory. Hell is similar to the heaven, but the beer is stale and the strippers have venereal diseases (some say Las Vegas is akin to hell on earth). Why is that? How can Heaven and Hell be so close? Aren’t the two supposed to be radically different? Let me try to explain.
Suppose a stray bullet just missed your head, by a couple of centimeters. See? Even the difference between life and death can be tiny. Or, if the chromosomes that made you were arranged a tiny bit differently in that first second – then you’d be of a different sex (I’m not a biologist, but I’m told that’s how it works). A less dramatic example – imagine that you’ve studied real hard for a really difficult exam, and then just didn’t make it – because of a silly mistake, perhaps because you were distracted by a fly on the exam. Hellish, isn’t it? Now imagine how it feels if the prof finds out she made a mistake in the exam form, and gives the entire class a 0.1 point bonus – which means you’ve made it – how does that feels? Now add a cold beer to the equation… Yeah! Heavenly, right?
The point I’m trying to make here, is that sometimes, the tiniest things can make a huge difference. The Pastafarian faith, in particular our concept of Heaven and Hell, illustrates this point, reminding us to value what we have. In its infinite wisdom (and in a permanent state of drunkenness) the Flying Spaghetti Monster teaches us to cherish those small pleasures that make life fun. R’amen!
‘Christianity’ is not a religion. This was ruled today by the Dutch Council of State’s Administrative Jurisdiction Division (Raad van State). Therefore, wearing a cross by adherents of Christianity cannot be regarded as an expression of religious belief. According to the judgment, the satirical element of Christianity is so predominant that it does not meet the criteria of “cogency, seriousness, cohesion and significance” that the ECHR applies when interpreting the freedom of religion. Christianity lacks the required seriousness and cohesion. The Administrative Jurisdiction Division recognises the relevance and significance of the right to freely express (satirical) criticism of religious dogmas and institutions. Such criticism, even though it does relate to religion, cannot, in itself, be considered as a body of thought that is protected by the freedom of religion.
The English press release: http://bit.ly/2KWUF8k
The Dutch press release: http://bit.ly/2nCQnK1
Tomorrow, the Dutch Council of State’s Administrative Jurisdiction Division will publish a verdict in a similar case, discussing whether ‘Islam’ can be considered a religion. It is widely expected that the verdict will be the same. Rulings on other religions are due next week.
The statement above is, of course, nonsense. It is absurd to think that the highest court in a democratic country would issue such a verdict, violating the separation of Church and State. Sadly, it is the reality. The first alinea is a direct quote by Bart Jan Van Ettekoven, chairman of the Dutch Council of State’s Administrative Jurisdiction Division. With one subtle difference – he is referring to Pastafarianism, the belief in the Flying Spaghetti Monster. I just took the liberty to replace “Pastafarianism” in his post with “Christianity”.
Yesterday the Dutch Council of State ruled that Pastafarianism can not be considered a religion. According to the ruling, the “lack of cohesion is illustrated by the relationship set out in Henderson’s letter [considered by Pastafarians to be their Revelation] between the decline in the number of pirates since 1800 and global warming”. Imagine other faiths being judged by this standard, where lack of consistency and coherence in holy texts is grounds for dismissal as a religion. How many ‘true’ religions will be left in the world?
This post is based on an article I published in the Dutch Christian magazine “De Nieuwe Koers” (“The New Course”). I wrote this article in response to an op-ed, in which a theologian, a rabbi and a professor in law all three claimed that freedom of religion should not apply to the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.
Taede Smedes is a religion philosopher, a theologian, and a publicist. He wonders whether Pastafarianism is a religion or a parody. This suggests that it’s a choice – you can be a religion or a parody, but not both. Taede Smedes himself is “a religion philosopher, a theologian, and a publicist” – all at the same time. Protestantism, for example, is a religion, that started as a protest. It went as far as to adopt Protest as part of its name. Is it a protest or a religion? If Taede Smedes and Protestantism can be many things at the same time, why can’t Pastafarianism be a religion AND a parody simultaneously?
Lody van de Kamp is a rabbi. Based on Pastafarian use of symbols to represent their deity (spaghetti and meatballs, which can be vegetarian, too), the rabbi claims that Pastafarianism is merely a parody on religion, and freedom of religion is not intended for parodies. Hinduism has millions of gods, in the weirdest shapes. Is a Flying Spaghetti Monster really stranger than a god who has the pink body of a man, four arms and the hear of an elephant? Or does the rabbi claim that freedom of religion is not meant for 1.5 billion Hindu’s? Lodi van de Kamp asks Pastafarians not to claim ‘rights that they do not grant others’. But it is he who does not grant Pastafarianism recognition as a religion. Pastafarianism has holy texts, holidays, rituals, millions of followers and world-wide recognition. What else does the rabbi need to recognize Pastafarianism as a religion?
Sophie van Bijsterveld is professor in Religion, law and society at the Radboud University in Nijmegen. She finds it absolutely just that the Dutch court did not recognize Pastafarianism as a religion or a view of life. Pastafarianism supposedly lacks sufficient ‘seriousness’. First of all, she’s got the facts wrong. The Dutch court, in fact, recognized Pastafarianism as a ‘view of life’, putting it on par with atheism, pacifism and humanism. But even if it didn’t – in Austria, New Zealand, Germany, Switzerland and other countries Pastafarianism is recognized as a religion. The Holy Colander is accepted as religious headgear in these, and other countries. In New Zealand and Canada Pastafarian priests can conduct legally binding wedding ceremonies. Apparently, in all these countries Pastafarianism is viewed as sufficiently ‘serious’. What makes the Netherlands that much different than New Zealand or Austria? How come the seriousness of Pastafarianism stops at the Dutch border?