Flying Spaghetti Monster Recognized Down Under

Touched by His Noodly Appendage

Down in New Zealand, the government has now recognized the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster to officiate wedding ceremonies. They are still waiting to be allowed to register as a nonprofit religious organization. At least, that’s what The New Zealand Herald reported over the weekend, First Pastafarian Wedding on the Way. So good for them! Weddings are solemn occasions, and they become even more so when colanders and pirate costumes are involved.

I understand that for actually religious people — especially those of the literalist bent — groups like the Flying Spaghetti Monster represent a bit of a challenge. How does one distinguish between, say, Christianity and Pastafarianism? Usually, any attempts come down to nothing more than: “Well, the idea of a flying spaghetti monster is just silly!” But is it really? Here is what Christianity is in its most basic form: humans are born sinners; to rid them of their sins, God impregnated a woman so his death would wash those sins away; those who accept the martyred demigod get to go to heaven. That is silly to anyone who hasn’t been indoctrinated into it.

The similarly inclined Satanic Temple creates an even bigger problem for Christians, because it uses the exact same mythology, but turns it on its head. So all that Christians can do is say that the Satanic Temple is wrong and “evil,” but they can’t dismiss it as silly. I’ve long been of the opinion that the Satanic Temple offers much better moral guidance than any of the Abrahamic faiths. But the response to it by Christians is to dismiss it because the book they’ve been given says that Satan is bad. Obviously, the Satanic Temple views things very differently. This leaves Christians with nothing but tradition on their hands: this is what they were taught and what their parents believed, so it must be right.

Ultimately, the big knock against both of these religions is that their followers don’t really believe it. But this reminds me of something I heard Robert M Price say. Christian apologists explain away earlier cults that were pretty much the same as Christianity by saying, “Satan knew Jesus was coming so he created these cults just to confuse people.” Price remarked, “What is this?! Salvation through gullibility?” Nonetheless, people claim that freedom of religion means freedom for Christianity and not for the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. But what they are saying is that just because the followers of the former are deluded, they should get some kind of special rights that those with less common belief systems should not.

The reason that we have freedom of religion is because people’s religious believes have traditionally been a major source of oppression. And that’s certainly true for atheists and agnostics and mystics. It’s probably even more true for them. So let’s suppose that the followers of the Flying Spaghetti Monster really are just involved with it because they are atheists. They still deserve religious protection for the same reason that theists need it. What’s more, why is it that atheists have to hire some professional to get themselves married when their theist friends can get it done on the cheep?

Most atheists hate in when theists say that atheism is a religion. But in the only sense that matters, it is. It is a belief system regarding the unknowable. That’s not to say that atheism is irrational or anything else. But it is in this sense that we can think most clearly about what our rights mean. It shouldn’t be necessary to create the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster to make this point. Although it is a lot more fun. Intellectually, I’m pulled toward the Satanic Temple. But my heart pulls me to Pastafarianism — and not just because I look so damned good in a colander.

16 thoughts on “Flying Spaghetti Monster Recognized Down Under

  1. I am still waiting for the picture of you in a colander.

    This is going to be very interesting soon since the Satanic Temple has filed suit challenging certain religious in all but name laws regarding abortion. Since a member of the Temple wanted an abortion and in the state, I want to say Oklahoma…Nope, Missouri, there is those requirements like the informed consent and 72 hour waiting period, the Temple filed a lawsuit pointing out they violate the religious beliefs of the members.

    The problem is that of course the SCOTUS has been so inconsistent on the issue of religion and what people can do. On one hand, you have to let gay people marry. On the other hand, corporations should dictate what kind of birth control a woman can have through her insurance paid for by her time/money if the owner of the corporation has “sincerely” held religious beliefs about something.

    I can guess how the lower courts will rule but the SCOTUS is a total crap shoot since Kennedy is the swing vote and he likes gay people but not women having abortions. Because the babies or some such nonsense.

    • We have 4 people on the SC who basically believe in special pleading: if its our religion, it’s okay. And to be honest, Kennedy seems like a total wimp who is afraid to do what is right but just as afraid of offending fellow conservatives. I wouldn’t doubt that he’s just waiting for a Republican president to retire. I don’t think he wants the responsibility.

      I would never wear a colander as a religious observance. I’m just not good at faith. But as a fashion statement? Count me in!

      • If it was just his being a wimp, he never would have found for gays having the duh legal right to get married. But since most of the major Christian religions have decided that a blastocyst is essentially the same as the walking talking woman surrounding it, he probably will go with whatever his own faith thinks.

        Unless Scalia is hit by a meteor that has spelled on it “What An Asshole”, thereby proving the existence of God, and we get a new Justice, it is going to continue as is.

        • I was thinking more along the lines of affirmative action. He seemed pretty keen to destroy Obamacare.

          • Ah, there is that. But I don’t think his decision on the Hobby Lobby decision was anti-Obamacare for the fact it is Obamacare. He shows a marked belief that conception=fully formed human.

            • Yeah, Scalia’s a pretty radical Catholic extremist. He probably prays for meteors to hit Pope Francis once a day and twice on Sundays.

            • Yes, but I was referring to the original Obamacare case where he was apparently lobbying Roberts hard to reverse his position. Nothing says Christian Values like keeping healthcare from millions of people!

              • Ugh, I know. But people like him easily forget it when it comes to a businessman making a small amount of cash despite the whole “leave everything and follow me” words that Jesus supposedly said.

                • It’s like people rushing to the polls about things they hate and not so much about things they love. It’s the same with religion where people hold onto it most tightly when it comes to negative things. This is why I like universalists: they aren’t about slicing and dicing the world into the deserving and undeserving.

                  • Oh yeah, the concept of the “worthy” poor. I have a book on it about how it used to be you had to be “deserving” of the aid before you could get help. But with the mentally ill, they don’t have the ability to do the abasement that the people donating require.

                    That is one of the reasons why having government do it is better-it lessons the requirement a person adhere to some arbitrary standard of poor.

                    • The people who think all these things should be done by churches don’t understand history regardless. What’s “natural” for humans is to live in small groups and work collectively. That includes taking care of those who can’t care for themselves. I’m so sick of hearing conservatives tell me about the way things used to be when they have no real idea about it. As with most things, there is just something they want to believe and back the excuse in, just like they were parallel parking a car.

                    • You got it. Add into the mix the lack of interesting in history to begin with…most of the surviving hunter gatherer societies have some members who have slightly more but more often than not, everyone has a bit of the same.

                      We never should have started farming as a species.

                    • I read an article about that some time ago. Someone was making the argument that it didn’t make sense for humans to settle down and I countered that. I like the stability that farming brings, but it brings a lot of baggage too. But in the long term, I think it is better because we seem to get better over time.

                    • Since there are flaws inherent in any system, I suppose we should just continue to try to improve this one but it has caused a lot of misery.

                      I remember watching some documentary on Youtube with Tony Robinson and it pointed out that early English/Scottish farming communities had a much higher and younger death rate than others when farming was first introduced. But they stuck with it and now Devon looks lovely in springtime.

                    • There is also the fact that there is no going back. Plus, I’m addicted to central heating!

  2. Elizabeth — what I find interesting in the “agriculture versus nomadic lifestyle” debate is how it turns conservative mantras around. Conservatives argue that, yes, perhaps, maybe, possibly, democratic socialism might improve the lives of many, but it would also remove the opportunity for some of us, a select few, to be triumphant winners. Better a society where one has a chance at Ultimate Victory and most are miserable than, say, Finland.

    Well, that’s close to the argument one could make about agriculture. Before agriculture and cities, you had far less social stratification. Agriculture, cities, and social stratification brought several people enough leisure time to develop vast technological improvements (I, for one, like indoor plumbing and aspirin) which more-or-less made life more comfortable over the long run. But those social development also vastly reduced personal freedom. Nomadic cultures had their conformity, naturally. There was also a great deal of movement between cultures. If your family/tribal tradition drove you nuts, you could leave and latch on with another group. Assuming you didn’t die while walking off into the wilderness looking for another group.

    I recently read that, in Puritan America, when children were taken prisoner by Native tribes and then “rescued,” quite a few didn’t want to leave! And French trappers very often “went native.”

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