Flying Spaghetti Monster

Heaven and hell – the Pastafarian view

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!

 

Flying Spaghetti Monster

‘Christianity’ is not a religion

‘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?

Flying Spaghetti Monster

Should freedom of religion apply to the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster?

Photo by Lars van den Brink

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?

 

Flying Spaghetti Monster, The Eight I’d Really Rather You Didn’ts.

#3 I’d Really Rather You Didn’t judge people for the way they look…

Pirates dont change diapers
Pastafarians also have holy books

Since we share 99.99% of our DNA with pirates, we believe we descend from pirates, and consider them holy beings. Just like pirates, our holy ancestors, we Pastafarians have a sort of Pirate Code. We are guided in life by the Eight I’d Really Rather You Didn’ts, also known as The Eight Condiments. According to the Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, Mosey the Pirate captain  received ten stone tablets as advice from the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Of these original ten “I’d Really Rather You Didn’ts”, two were dropped on the way down from Mount Salsa. This event partly accounts for Pastafarians’ flimsy moral standards. As anyone knows, the pirate code is more what you’d call “guidelines” than actual rules. That is why these are not commands, but more of recommendations.

I, too, try to live my life according to these simple, yet efficient recommendations. And daily I come across examples of the wisdom entombed in these humble words of Our Lord and Savior, the Flying Spaghetti Monster, who boiled for our since and blessed us with Parmesan to sprinkle upon our daily pasta. Allow me to share with you an example, showing the importance of the 3rd I’d Really Rather You Didn’t – I’d Really Rather You Didn’t judge people for the way they look, or how they dress, or the way they talk, or, well, just play nice, okay?

Once upon a time, not so long ago, I was traveling by train. As befits a priest, I was travelling first class. A young man boarded the train and sat across the isle. As my eye fell upon the young man, I confess my mistake, I forgot the 3rd I’d Really Rather You Didn’t. His appearance was not very neat and I doubted he really belongs in the first class carriage. The young man’s trousers were not clean, his shoes were rather worn, and his general appearance was rather shabby. Luckily, I remembered the 3rd I’d Really Rather You Didn’t. I held my tongue, and was embarrassed at my swift passing of judgement upon this young man, whom I didn’t know. Who was I to disapprove of him just because of his appearance? Just minutes later, the conductor entered the carriage to check our tickets. Then and there I was proven wrong! The young man, whom I though to have a second class ticket had no ticket at all!

So you see how important it is to remember the danger of assumptions we make, based on partial faces and prejudgments. Even priests of His Noodliness are not free of assumptions, and need to be reminded once in a while that they should stay humble, and keep studying and applying the Eight I’d Really Rather You Didn’ts. Ramen!

Flying Spaghetti Monster

The Flying Spaghetti Monster Lands on the Netherlands

Tommaso Lecca

Originally published on http://www.thespokenews.com

The Flying Spaghetti Monster Lands on the Netherlands

Can the Government Define a Religion as Fake?

By Spela Krajnc, Tommaso Lecca, Petra Ondrisakova, Anna Severinenko

dirk.jpg Dirk Jan Dijkstra (pastafarian from Emmen)

The Dutch secularism has been challenged since the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster engaged a legal battle to be recognized as a religion. What might seem to be a complete nonsense for outsiders is actually a fight for a religious freedom and equality in the Dutch society. Many of the 12 000 members of the church registered in the Netherlands are meeting obstacles when wearing their religious headgear, a spaghetti strainer, in ID photos.

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Flying Spaghetti Monster

Happy Holidays!

I am often asked what holidays Pastafarians celebrate. As most other religions, we have our traditional Pastafarian holidays, like the International Talk Like A Pirate Day, celebrated on September 19th. People also wonder whether Pastafarians celebrate New Year’s, Christmas, Hanukah and so on. The answer is yes, some Pastafarians celebrate these holidays as well. Part of it has to do with cultural and social reasons – if you live in a country where most people celebrate a certain holiday, like Christmas or Ramadan, you inevitably get to celebrate it as well with your friends, family or co-workers. Another reason is that Pastafarianism is an inclusive, accepting faith. We welcome everyone and we don’t have a problem with people being a Pastafarian and an atheist, a Jew, a Muslim, a Hindu or a Last-Day-Thursdayist.

My personal favorite Pastafarian holiday is Holiday. It is a ‘fuzzy’ holiday, stretching over most of November and December, and also well into January in countries that maintain the Christian-Orthodox calendar. To me, Holiday symbolizes the inclusive, accepting nature of Pastafarianism, which is such a big part of the appeal of our faith. I wish you all Happy Holidays, and may the Flying Spaghetti Monster bless you with His Noodly Appendage in 2018.

Flying Spaghetti Monster

What is a religion anyway?

Michael Afanasyev - priest in the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster
Michael Afanasyev, a.k.a. Doctor Spaghetti

Allow me to introduce myself – my name is Michael Afanasyev. I live in the Netherlands, I am married (with children), and I am an engineer (geohydrologist to be specific). I am also a priest in the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. We call ourselves Pastafarians. Pastafarianism is perhaps not the most well-known faith, but it is certainly one of the most fun ones. In case you’ve never heard of us, check out the main website of our Churchwww.venganza.org.

Since Pastafarianism is a relatively unknown religion, we are often met with suspicion and I feel we’re not being treated fairly. A common example are the official pictures everyone has to take for use on driving licenses and ID-cards. Most people have their picture taken bare-headed. However, if you are wearing some religious headgear, like the Sikh tulband or the Muslim hijab, you are usually allowed to wear it on your official picture as well.

The traditional headgear of the Pastafarians is the colander, for obvious reasons – it is used to drain spaghetti. Sadly, Pastafarians are not always allowed to keep their colander on official pictures. The claim is that Pastafarianism is a satire, a ‘joke religion’, and that we are therefore not supposed to enjoy the same rights and benefits as other religions. I find that a weird argument. All of us have multiple identities. I am a man, a husband, a father, an enigneer – and I can be all these things at the same time. Sure, Pastafarianism is a satire, and a joke. But it is a religion, too. We just use humor as a big component of our spiritual philosophy.

But what is a religion anyway? According to the European Court of Human Rights, something is a ‘religion or belief’ if it has ‘attained a certain level of cogency, seriousness, cohesion and importance’. This definition, however vague, has been used to recognise Hinduism, Scientology, pacifism, atheism, Buddhism, Druidism and many other movements as a religion. Recently, several courts in the Netherlands have denied recognition of Pastafarianism as a religion, citing this definition as a justification. According to these judges, Pastafarianism has not yet attained this mysterious ‘certain level of cogency, seriousness, cohesion and importance’.

I feel it is my duty as a priest in the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster to contribute to the spiritual growth of our community, so that we can attain that ‘certain level of cogency, seriousness, cohesion and importance’, and achieve universal recognition as a religion. To promote this goal, I have started this website. Here I will share updates on my personal struggle for the recognition of my religion, and publish my thoughts on the Pastafarian view of the world. I hope my writings will inspire Pastafarians and non-Pastafarians everywhere in their struggle for emancipation, and that together we can achieve what we all deserve – freedom and equality.

P.S. Guest contributions are, of course, welcome, as long as you keep them short and polite.