Fallacy of your satire

Published June 14th, 2010 by Bobby Henderson

Hello, I have purchased and read your book, The Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster and I would just like to share with you a constructive feedback of your book. For its objective purpose of proving the illogicality of the provincial-minded nature of those who stand in opposition to allowing the scientific theory of the Big Bang/Theory of Evolution from being taught publicly, it served its purpose well. However I would like to call to mind the hypocritical nature of the book. I believe consistency with one’s own message is important to achieve a total victory and it satirically charges Christians with creating blind assumptions. I understand the comparison of pirate decrease to global temperature increase was to further the point of the illogicality of religion, but you assumed there was a lesser amount of pirates. In fact there are more pirates now than there was in the 1700′s, the lack of the Pirates of the Caribbean-esque romanticism is the only reason this fact is not widely spread. You made an assumption which went against fact which defeated your principle of factual basis. One may argue that was the continuation of satire but that would be most likely incorrect as the faux-correlation of coincidence is the satire and not the actual analyzes as global temperature is indeed rising since the last minor ice age in the Napoleonic Era.

Furthermore it appears you attack religion as a whole entity as illogical and we’d be better off it was nonexistent as the end of the book turns into repetitive bashing, This is the same mindset as the illogical fundamentalists whom do not hear the logic of scientific theory who completely disregard science as it is alien to their beliefs. Religion is extremely important in its influence in sociology as it combats the modern mainstream schools of thought such as widespread apathy, post-modernism and rampant sensationalism. It teaches values of selflessness and charity opposing the media advocacy of self-service which even in an evolutionary sense is not nature as we are social animals which rely upon societal advancement, not just the advancement of self. Religion plays a large role in academic studies as well, I’m sure you’re aware that one of the theorists of the Big Bang Theory was a Catholic priest. To the (logically) theistic, the belief in God does not interact with evolution or creation as God is a theory pertaining to spiritual well being while evolution pertains to physical creation. Religion (or belief in God) does not isolate one from logic, rather the fallacy assuming that because one is religious they must abandon reason. I think if you had pulled back on the senseless bashing of theists and made it rather a criticism of the solely illogical due to their ignoring of blatant scientific evidence even the Pope would have agreed with you. Book such as the one of your own writing are dangerous as human beings tend to take the extremity of each end, by the extensive mockery of the religious you isolate them while creating a malicious current in atheists against theists, which is academically wrong as scholarly debate should be through procedure of logic but your book goes from such to foolery. Such anti-God contempt creates social hysteria making people, for example, atheistic in assumption of its logic while in fact they have little intelligence to even contemplate the bane of their existence.This correlates with the thesis of The Prince as one should be firm in their own beliefs and adhered to logic but they can also not crush the other side as that creates blatant opposition for the sake of opposition rather than following a conventional and more satisfying procedure of scholarly victory.

I hope your book has accomplished your objective and enlightens the close-minded Kansas Board of Education.

Maroun Shami

 

This is the type of email I like to receive.  I don’t agree with a lot of what Maroun is saying but I have a lot of respect for him voicing his criticism.  –bobby



226 Responses to “Fallacy of your satire”

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  1. Danimal says:

    Maroun,
    Thank you not only for your concerned criticism but also for coming back to continue the discussion. All too often letters to Bobby are the hit and run type. If I may I would like to add my voice to those that disagree with your assessment that religion,

    “combats the modern mainstream schools of thought such as widespread apathy, post-modernism and rampant sensationalism”

    Praying to an invisible person in the sky to fix your problems instead of actually doing the work yourself to fix them sounds like apathy to me and as far as sensationalism, all someone has to do is turn on Faux News to find a nice blend of religion and sensationalism. Now you have accused us of generalizing and rightly so. There are many believers who are doers not just prayers and there are plenty of believers who recognize sensationalism when they see it. However, I don’t care if it is a majority of religious folks who are guilty of these things or only a small but vocal minority, the problem is still there, and I support Bobby’s methods to combat it.
    As far as religion being a tool for violence and control, you say that we are also generalizing. For the sake of the discussion I can accept that religion was created with genuine good intentions, to be a tool to be used for the good of mankind, but then again so was dynamite.
    Finally I want to reiterate that I’m pleased that you provided feedback and even though I disagree with some things I think your opinion carries a great deal of weight and deserves consideration from the Pastafarian community. If we were to out and out dismiss you for disagreeing with us then we would be no better than those we have railed against.
    Peace
    Danimal

  2. David Bailey says:

    Maroun,

    Thanks for making an interesting contribution – vastly different from the mass of critical mail that gets published here!

    I’d just like to pick one or two points from your combined posts.

    I honestly don’t think religion makes such a positive contribution to making good citizens as you seem to feel. For example, here in the UK, children in Northern Ireland were schooled separately – Catholic schools and Protestant schools. This lead directly to the us/them mentality that resulted in low-level civil war for decades.

    Yes, our society is too materialistic, but an effective answer might be to reign in the activities of the advertising industry, not to embrace religion!

    Satire can never be targeted with total precision, just as most drugs have side-effects as well as benefits. FSM has to be seen in the context of religion as it is practised today – the fundamentalism and intolerance that it parodies were not invented by Bobby Henderson!

    To me, most religions are inherently unstable because they carry with them holy books containing much confused and inconsistent text. This means that they are constantly vulnerable to those with a chip on their shoulder, who pick out odd sentences to justify whatever barbarism takes their fancy.

    I think your post would be clearer if it were shorter and contained a brief statement of what you yourself believe.

  3. Alice says:

    Thank you, Maroun.
    Your letter was very sincere and thoughtful as well as unusual considering the usual erm, “concerned criticism”/hate mail we receive. However, I believe you have inadvertently shown us the problems with modern religion. The stories which faiths build their religion upon simply do not hold up to fact and logic. If most people looked at their religion the way you have looked at FSM, they would find the same inconsistencies and flaws.
    You then continued to argue that religion is crucial to the existence of humanity- more or less, correct? I’ve always believed there is no god. Am I a bad person because of this? In many eyes- yes. But you see, I believe that man ultimately has one life to live and because of this I believe one should live that life as an individual in the “pursuit of happiness”. You spoke about what history has shown (not both sides of course, you failed to mention all the holy wars/conflicts etc.) and not to be disrespectful but I DON’T CARE. We are not living in the same world we lived in yesterday for that matter. You said something to the effect of atheism encourages no thought about one’s existence… again I must disagree, as an atheist I feel I have perhaps overly contemplated my existence on several occasions. I have looked to the stars, to the heavens if you will, perhaps I don’t see what you or someone else does, but I see infinity, galaxies, other worlds but not once did I see or “feel” god(s). I feel atheism or FSM encourages people to take control of their existence to live for this earth, this life. I am so happy to be alive and that I think, feel, and explore what it has to offer. I love to laugh, eat pasta, and dress up as a pirate, I find the church of the flying spaghetti monster absolutely delightful and hilarious as well as delicious. I’m not going out there converting, hating, killing, or anything to that effect, others of different faiths or beliefs. So although I feel you are coming from a good place, I hope you read these comments and take them in, you seem like a smart guy. :)

    Thanks again for the letter,
    Alice.

  4. Chuck says:

    Hey Maroun,

    You say the pirate thing was just an illustration of absurdity, yet you used it to (in your mind )”destroy” the legitimacy of the Gospel (Your 1st paragraph). However you were proven wrong by true Pastafarians and now you just shrug it off (2nd reply). This shows you are not getting the “point” here. Anything from the FSM you call absurd, you are calling your own religion (extreme Muslim I assume) absurd. THAT IS THE POINT!

    Ramen

    Chuck

  5. Maroun Shami says:

    @ Insightful Ape, you call me a troll but all you’re saying is that I’m lying. I’m not lying, you’re picking phrases of mine and distorting them how you please. For instance “First you claim, “Such anti-God contempt creates social hysteria making people, for example, atheistic in assumption of its logic while in fact they have little intelligence to even contemplate the bane of their existence.” Then you come in and add: “I’m not going to pin assumptions of evil or inferiority upon people because they don’t believe what I believe.” So which is it? They have “little intelligence”, but you are not going to “pin assumptions of inferiority”?” Here I’m not saying atheists are not intelligent, I’m saying the people who assume atheism is logical therefore become atheist based on the assumption and contempt of others. As I said, if I wanted to call atheists stupid I would have said so, but I’m saying people who are an atheist just because they are swayed because they assume it is “logical” are unintelligent, and these people do exist, and Mr. Bobby Henderson has agreed upon this matter with me if I remember correctly.

    “You are saying we are “dangerous”” Please show me where I said that, because I didn’t. I said the book is dangerous, as people hang to extremities. And when I said a book is innocent yet dangerous, yes, it does apply to the Bible and Qu’ran as well. Jesus said himself that what he had to say would create conflict. I can’t however write to Muhammad or any of the writers of the many books of the Bible because I’m not sure where they live. Furthermore I wouldn’t pay the postal fee for shipping letters to like 600 people in the Middle East, that would cost a bit.

    About the shaking your fist, I applaud you for your ability to take things out of context, you should go work for a mud-slinging newspaper. I thanked the people who politely disagreed and they have all the right to discuss as much as I had right to write but to people like you who are just distorting what I say, taking it out of context and attacking my person with rudeness, I mentioned shaking the fist. Plus in its original context the poster said that I would be shaking my fist people who are 9/10 strong believers in God which I would like to see the basis for that stat or relevance.

    I’m sorry are you telling me I’m lying about knowing people don’t believe pirates effect global warming? If I was lying about knowing this, than how in the first place would I able to say I know so? You are obnoxious and require reorientation in your personality and reasoning. No I’m not saying that because you support atheism you simpleton so get your foolish notions out of your head, I’m saying it because you are just blatantly rude and a distorter of words.

    Thank you Danimal, David and anyone else who discusses with humility and maturity unlike certain belligerent and disrespectful people. David as you were saying about instability because of Holy Books, this is the danger of knowledge I was referring to in my letter. Knowledge is good but people can use knowledge for their own evil purposes. The Holy Books I wouldn’t say are confused, they just require an understanding of context and textual criticism to fully comprehend the development of an idea, the way it changes and also different traditions fused together into one work [hence the repetitive nature of Old Testament stories, example: Noah's Ark Story].

    You say I should have had a briefer message, and you’re probably right, as my writings do get a bit lengthy. Please keep in mind I work around political arenas so long winded “briefings” come nature to me, I apologize if it was difficult to read. I’m not too sure I understand to what exactly you would like to know of what I believe in but I’m from an obscure eastern religion from Phoenicia infused with the Bible [non-literal interpretation] and we obviously believe in God. We do have worship services but we conclude that the most profound prayer and form of worship is service of the poor and furthering social justice. We see prayer as what a person does, for instance you like to steal from people than you pray evil, you like to make sandwiches and give to the poor, than you pray gloriously. And lastly knowledge is suppose to be used in tandem with faith to better the world and learn more for ourselves[for instance I believe in God, but I also believe in evolution. I dispute the Big Bang Theory but on scientific grounds and not religious.]

  6. Insightful Ape says:

    Hey Maroun,
    You see, you are again missing the whole point of publishing the gospel of the FSM. The point is to show that if you are going to believe in something for which there is not evidence, creationism in this case, you may as well believe in anything, no matter how outrageous or ridiculous.
    Which obviously has really gotten to you. Which brings me to my next point. Belief in gods is not based on evidence. Never has been, I doubt it ever will be. That is why it is called “faith”. If there were evidence for it, it would be called “knowledge”. But see, when there is not evidence for something, the “logical” position is to doubt the claim and not take it seriously, just as you do not believe in the FSM. (It is called the “null hypothesis”). Which is why rationalism necessary leads to agnosticism/atheism. And that is precisely the point that is hammered home by a parody such as the FSM. So when you say, “I’m saying people who are an atheist just because they are swayed because they assume it is “logical” are unintelligent”, that means most nonbelievers. Which is why I take offense at your nonsense. I am also amused that you are so obsessed and unsettled by a work of satire.
    Not to mention other claims of religion, that are proven patently false, such as the afterlife/heaven and hell nonsense. Which is why I brought up mind-body dualism, but that was obviously above your head.
    “And when I said a book is innocent yet dangerous, yes, it does apply to the Bible and Qu’ran as well.” Except that any harms from the gospel of FSM are imaginary, harms from those books are very real. But you are not going to demand people stop publishing and reading them, are you? You are looking for an easy target. To say it costs too much money to send them letters is a straw man argument. All you have to do it to speak up, to demand people remove these books from public access, and you’ll be hooted out of the room. But an obscure satirical book is fair game.
    I am shocked and disappointed to see you are “shaking your fist at me”. After all, in exposing your lies, “I utilized the same right” under which you started your rant.

  7. person says:

    @Maroun (3rd)
    I only have three things to say, since you seem to ramble and I don’t wish to provoke more than a three paragraph response.

    1) Just because Bobby agrees with you on something doesn’t mean that we all will. He does not control us in any way and we are all individuals. You’ll never convince any of us by stating that someone agrees with you.

    2) Please stop with the rants and learn to write shortly and concisely. Writing an essay every 10-20 posts won’t convince people of anything as effectively as a short message that gets to the point.

    3) Thank you for being the first troll in a long time that can not only read and write, but can respond to things said. It makes this much more interesting than when we get other random trolls in the comments.

  8. Danimal says:

    Maroun,
    I would be interested to know what your religion is called so that I may do some research on it to hopefully better grasp your point of view. Obviously there are some cultural bridges to be crossed. For example what you describe as “prayer” I would most closely associate with good works (feeding the poor, giving money, etc.). In the mid-west (or at least my small section of it), prayer is focusing your thoughts towards an invisible being in the sky for divine intervention of some kind.

    I also have a couple of questions for you to consider. You say your religion has a non-literal interpretation of the bible, so does that mean that the bible can have multiple interpretations? Does that also mean the bible can be misinterpreted? Does your religion have the only correct interpretation? What are the implications if the bible isn’t the unadulterated word of god, does it still carry any authority?

    Looking forward to your response,
    Danimal

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