Sunday, July 15, 2012

The Rise of Pastafarianism (Flying Spaghetti Monster)

I've another interesting find on the internet. Been seeing the words Flying Spaghetti Monster for a while and was really wondering what they're all about. What I discovered is that they are now a legit religion, whatever legit means. I'm still quite confused about what makes a religion a religion and what makes something else a cult. Seems like a belief system is occult if it's leader is really just a scammer out to get your money, or society judges it as 'too weird,' like this one group that appeared in the news where the people believed that the way to enlightenment was through 'bunot' (having your teeth pulled out while on a meditative state).

Did some searching and found a site dedicated to the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. These people have a sense of humor. I actually like them. The site covered one of their...I think it's a procession of sorts, they're raising up the image of their god here:

Creator spotted!

From what I gather, their main thrust is to encourage people to be rational about things. I agree, otherwise, what's your brain for if you just follow what the whole flock is doing? I, personally, am strongly against fanaticism. It is one dangerous state, I dare say. In this state, people can be so blinded by their beliefs that they act almost as if hypnotized, going on killing sprees for their god, or trampling on others in the hopes of wiping a towel on the miraculous Black Nazarene. That is dangerous indeed.

But on the other hand, I am also skeptical of groups that place too much value on the human rational mind. Let's not forget that the same rational thinking is also behind the persecution of the poor. It is what logically allowed us to come up with the idea of maximizing profit, giving birth to feudal systems and uncompassionate corporate hierarchies. Priding ourselves with rationality, it is always logical to ask "Will this benefit me?" "How can I maximize profit and minimize cost?"

Yes, let's be rational, but let's not leave out another part of being human--the capacity for spirit or mysticism. The Greeks, a people that nurtured some of the greatest philosophers of all time,
called this mystikos (μυστικός), meaning 'an initiate.' From Wikipedia, Mystikos is:
...the knowledge of, and especially the personal experience of, states of consciousness, or levels of being, or aspects of reality, beyond normal human perception, including experience of and even communion with a supreme being.
Mysticism is scary to the rational mind. It is a different state of mind that is highly valued by ascetics and monks. But it is this different way of thinking that has also enlightened many persons on the value of working for something greater than oneself. How limited our being as humans if we just box ourselves within this thing called reason. Reason has no space for kindness or love, except in that these things will ultimately benefit the self in the end.

Anyway going back, The Church of FSM actually has an FAQ area. I feel like commenting a bit, but you can read the full text at their website:

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. - (This is very true, in short these are called the Bandwagon effect and the fallacy Appeal to Tradition)

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. - (Let me just challenge this position, I mean who are we to say that only science can be true? Is Value any less important compared to Truth? Because if it is, then religion, which has Value, should thereby be dismissed altogether. This statement contradicts itself.)
For many people, religion is about being part of a community and being part of something bigger and more important than themselves. - (Uh-uh, discussed in Mystikos above)

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? - (Interesting point you have here. This is certainly something that should be studied further)
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. - (Another contradiction. If faith is not equivalent to evidenced-based-reasoning then why is this different way to see the world any less true than the scientific approach?)

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. - (The congregation is aware now, but will they be in the future? The Creationist myths had the same function in the past, to explain existence. But through time people began to interpret them as what really happened despite scientific evidence)

Well, I can only say this to those people: it’s only because of the insistence that we were *not* legitimate, that there was motivation to *be* a legitimate religion. You see, our religion, like Christianity and other mainstream religions, is based *not* on a foundation of evidence, but of community. The Pastafarian church was built and its legitimacy formed by people tired of being disenfranchised for thinking rationally. We have every right to exist and form a religious community. That many of us don’t literally believe our own superstitions or in the existence of our own God is evidence that we’re thinking. - (Ah, so that's what they meant by legit)
I'm done. That was fun. I'll be keeping my eyes open for this group. Let's see what they have in store for the world.

Post a Comment