Thursday, July 14, 2011

Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster (FSM) goes viral

by Gary Berg-Cross

I heard on NPR this morning that a manifestation of the church of the flying spaghetti monster (FSM) has surfaced in Austria. Well at least the concept of this Church made popular by Richard Dawkins has an adherent who worships that god-like idea by wearing a pasta strainer on his head. His name is Niko Alm and he adopted FSM pose to test the recent Austrian law that allows head coverings to be used in official documents, like drivers licenses, for religious reasons.

The FSM, concept was used satirically in response to the Kansas School Board's irratonality over evolution education. Later it was popularized in Dawkins book The God Delusion as an illustration of how religious beliefs are based on irrational thought. What is the evidence for the existence of invisible beings controlling our world and judging our behavior? None for FSM and none for Yahweh either.

Niko, a self-proclaimed atheist, built on Dawkins’ construct by applying for a new driver's license wearing the strainer as "religious headgear. " He claimed to be a "pastafarian" from that Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Members in the Church firmly believe in the existence of a flying omnipotent Spaghetti Monster – one that can even hide its existence from us. The “you can’t prove I don’t exist” claims for such a flying monster fits Dawkins' dictum about irrational claims:

"To claim a supernatural explanation of something is not to explain it at all and, even worse, to rule out any possibility of its ever being explained. Why do I say that? Because anything ‘supernatural’ must by definition beyond the reach of a natural explanation. It must be beyond the reach of science and the well-established, tried and tested scientific method."

After a long 3 year fight Niko won the right to get his picture taken with a pasta strainer on his head.

Some people were put out by Niko’s success. It seems like an irrational thing to do and isn’t the whole point of being an atheist is the celebration of being all logical and reasonable? Well yes, and perhaps Niko could have stuck to being an atheist as defined by John Bucha’s definition that “An Atheist Is A Man With No Invisible Means Of Support.”

But Niko makes a reasonable point lifting up a mirror so others can see how foolish unreasonable claims are. Doesn't matter if you can claim to be a believer in the FSM or Thor or Yahweh. As Dawkins said “Nobody even thinks to calls themselves atheist, just as nobody thinks to calls themselves athorist now.”

I wonder if we can expect there to be a surge of Athorists next.


Mariano said...

May the Pastafarians make an ever bigger splash.

1) After denying so vehemently that atheism is not a religion the Pastafarian sect of atheism fights for equal rights to freely express their religious beliefs. As Niko Alm states it, his goal is for “Pastafarianism to become an officially recognised faith in Austria.”

2) The Flying Spaghetti Monster actually proved was that some people are utterly ignorant of natural theology / general revelation. These propose the best that science and philosophy have offer as to the universe’s coming into being. They propose that the universe had a creator and even identify some of the creator’s characteristics.

lucette said...

"He claimed to be a "pastafarian" from that Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster."

Wrong Gary! He IS a pastafarian.

Gary Berg-Cross said...

Well Lucette I can't prove that he isn't a pastafarian.

Haven't read the bylaws yet. I understand that they were passed down in lasagna form.

kurt lewin said...

wondering which pastas are considered the true disciples? linguini, ziti, angel hair? i would suggest that gnocchi would be the "son" of the FSM, given the unique pasta (god) and potato (man) combination. just some thoughts...