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I can appreciate a good joke

Published February 15th, 2011 by Bobby Henderson

I can appreciate a good joke as much as any other guy.  But there’s a difference between making a joke and insulting other people.  When you begin to bring in specific religious practice or condemnations for not doing as the religion "requires," that becomes an insult.  Think of it this way: your website is good, but what’s the point of your occasional advertisement on the bottom with a picture of the religious book of FSM saying "Save Your Heathen Soul"?  It directly says to others that if you don’t believe what we tell you, you’re wrong and going to hell.  Yes, I’m a Christian, no I don’t believe most of the things in the church’s past were okay.  I simply choose to believe that there is a God, and if anybody has any questions about my faith, I’ll be happy to answer and guide them if that’s what they want.  If they believe otherwise, I’ll allow them to stay that way, because there’s nothing I can do to force their belief.  All I’m really saying is, think about what purpose each thing you say serves, and whether it’s taking it a step too far.
~DJN

The point of our church is not to offend, but understand it is bound to happen.  Most of us in the Church of FSM are not anti-religion, and we have many Pastafarians who are active members of mainstream religions.  Part of what we’re doing here is questioning ideas considered rude to question.  Or, knocking down religion a peg – however you want to look at it.  We think it’s a dangerous situation for institutions and ideas to be above scrutiny.  

At the risk of spoiling the “Save Your Heathen Soul” joke, I’ll explain it.  You see, Christians often threaten nonbelievers with THEIR hell-place for various sins or sinful lifestyles – either explicitly, or indirectly, or in a judging veiled-friendliness sort of way.  But nonbelievers DON’T BELIEVE IN YOUR HELL.  Aside from the fact that we find it offensive the idea that we need a rulebook to define our morality, it is a strange proposition to be invited to believe in scripture in order to be saved from a consequence of it.  The “Save Your Heathen Soul” joke is a nod to other nonbelievers who have experienced this phenomenon. 

But, DJN, I honestly like Christians, the majority of those I know – and my experience in running the Church of the FSM has only increased my opinion of Christians (really).  I believe that the majority of Christians are thoughtful and open-minded, and that most are members of churches partly because of a belief in God, and partly because of the social benefits and community that being part of a church allows.  I get a ton of emails from thoughtful Christians who understand what we’re doing here at the Church of FSM – people like you who don’t approve of the abuses perpetrated in the Name of God. 

So, understand that around here there is an effort not to offend people, but at the same take a hard look at the strange business of religion. And in this way we give Glory to The Almighty Flying Spaghetti Monster, the one and only True God, who someday I hope Touches you with His Noodly Appendage so that you may know His Loving Embrace. 

-bobby



339 Responses to “I can appreciate a good joke”

  1. tekHedd says:

    …And another thing! (I know I shouldn’t pick at it but I just can’t help myself.)

    “If they believe otherwise, I’ll allow them to stay that way, because there’s nothing I can do to force their belief.”

    And that’s fine for you. However, just at Jesus commanded the disciples to spread the “good news,” the FSM encourages us to share our relieving news. Why not? We’re saving people from a lifetime of self-imposed slavery, and we don’t do it by threatening an eternity of torture. We have a carrot but no stick!

    Is it bad to bring the good news of Jesus to misinformed people around the world? I suppose that’s arguable, but certainly you’re not proposing we remove the invitation to join from every church website, church sign, and church building. So how is one little “be saved” invitation bad? Oh, I think I see, perhaps it is because we are inviting people to leave the one true faith, to wit, whatever faith /you/ belong to? So because this religion “made up by people” might tempt people to rethink and perhaps someday leave your religion “quite definitely divinely inspired”, we shouldn’t be inviting people to join?

    No.

  2. Drained and Washed Clean says:

    I can appreciate a good joke as much as any other guy.
    ** I am thinking no… Based on the fact that you wrote this in the first place. Well, that is either a lack of humor or a lack of facts.
    But there’s a difference between making a joke and insulting other people.
    ** But this isn’t a joke. We are very serious in our mission to keep young minds from being indoctrinated by people trying to sneak religion into public schools.
    When you begin to bring in specific religious practice or condemnations for not doing as the religion “requires,” that becomes an insult.
    ** Is anything we have said untrue? Because I am thinking not. Fact is fact, not an insult, and it is unfortunate that it is confused.
    Think of it this way: your website is good, but what’s the point of your occasional advertisement on the bottom with a picture of the religious book of FSM saying “Save Your Heathen Soul”?
    ** I am going to leave the explanation that Bobby so eloquently gave and again refer to the first point I made.
    It directly says to others that if you don’t believe what we tell you, you’re wrong and going to hell.
    ** Well, the bible says that, xians say it to our faces, from the pulpit, through the TV, billboards, online advertisements… How is it that our one little icon on the the thing concerning you?
    Yes, I’m a Christian, no I don’t believe most of the things in the church’s past were okay.
    ** Then shouldn’t you be talking to them instead of us for all the crappy stuff they do on a daily basis.
    I simply choose to believe that there is a God,
    ** We choose to believe evidence.
    and if anybody has any questions about my faith, I’ll be happy to answer and guide them if that’s what they want.
    ** I have already asked all those questions. That is why I am an atheist and why many people here do not accept your interpretation of what god is if there is one, and others of us do not believe there is one.
    If they believe otherwise, I’ll allow them to stay that way, because there’s nothing I can do to force their belief.
    ** I don’t think that is true either. If this was a real religion that people believed then you are coming here and being disrespectful and mocking what we believe by calling it a joke. So… not buying this.
    All I’m really saying is, think about what purpose each thing you say serves,
    ** I do. Normally that is why I say it.
    and whether it’s taking it a step too far.
    ** We certainly are not. At some point people who are not xians have to stand up and be heard. Religion is not the only voice in this country, and I, personally, am sick of being smothered by it. I couldn’t care less that you are a xian. Why does it bother you so much that many of us here aren’t?

  3. I'm Brian and so's my wife says:

    “But there’s a difference between making a joke and insulting other people.”

    Is there?

    I find it very hard to think of a joke that doesn’t have a target that could conceivably be offended. It really comes down to how easily offended you are and how sensitive you are to criticism.

    Quite frankly, I find it more often to be the case, that religious people are very easily offended and have a visceral reaction to mockery, because they are really insecure in their beliefs. When I.D. advocates (the real targets of this website) mock the science of evolution with jokes about monkeys etc, I’m not the least bit offended, because I am confident that my opinion is supported by the evidence and that their jokes actually make THEM look absurd.

    When we mock your religious beliefs you are offended because, if you’re honest, you can see the grain of truth in the satire.

    It says more about you than it does about us.

  4. Gordon_UK says:

    I’m sorry but Christians like this that piss me off the most. He believes that what is done in his church’s / religion’s name is all in the past and pushes it to one side, without reference to things that are still on going.

    He takes the time to have a go at us but is he writing to RCC to have a go at them about the on going scandal of child abuse or the bigotry against gays or suppression of women within it’s own ranks? I’m guessing not or he would of made a point off it, so why do we need to be nice to people like him?

  5. GC says:

    I am replying to this post because when you really look at religion from the outside view you realize that the whole God in heaven and Jesus saving our souls really seams like a load of shit too. I am a christian, at least in name, but I am increasingly doubting the whole religious ideology and feel that this religion in reality makes about as much sense as Christianity. At least there are pictures of the FSM, but there are no photographs of God. Hell, there are even photographs of big foot.

    • theFewtheProudtheMarinara says:

      Welcome aboard, Matey! The more you know, the less you believe. R’amen.

  6. Reverend Marinara says:

    DJN,

    Do you not believe that, if I do not accept Jesus Christ as my Savior, that I will be condemned? I believe this is a fundamental belief of Christianity, is it not?

    I don’t see how this is not basically saying “that if you don’t believe what we tell you, you’re wrong and going to hell”, as you decry.

    So, how is this any different?

  7. Reverend Marinara says:

    DJN,

    Another note on the topic of what is “insulting”.

    I actually find it insulting when a Christian says “I must be saved” by accepting his view of Christ.

    I find it condescending when, after explaining that I am comfortable in my beliefs, he says “I’ll pray for you”.

    I find it insulting to the great history and founding principles of my beloved country when someone tells me “America is a Christian nation”.

    • puppygoogoo says:

      Cannot agree more, but from an Aussie standpoint. Was asked by a Christian the other day “What do you want instead of a Christian background for this country? A Muslim one? Jewish one? which one then?” When i replied that i wanted a scientific/logical one, I was told that it wasnt possible as there would be no place for God. Apparently telling said person that was what i hoped for just angered them and they walked off. So we can all be lucky that these Christians are here to threaten, pray and save us! saves me a lot more time to do important stuff.

      RAmen

      Puppygoogoo

      • Keith says:

        A similar thing happened to me in Adelaide. I was passing the “Christian Science” (whatever that means) building a couple of months back when someone tried to thrust a pamphlet into my hand. (rather reminded me of the pamphlet segment from M.R. James’ “Casting of the Runes”) I said to the fellow “I’m not interested” and his reply was “God bless you” In this case I was the annoyed one.

  8. NoE says:

    I think the most annoying thing about this letter is –
    “If they believe otherwise, I’ll allow (?) them to stay that way,” [question mark mine] – as if he could easily change us if he chose. This is the ‘I know the REAL god, and you don’t’ idea and the idea that that somehow makes them superior and in charge.

    The letter was polite, but in the condescending ‘listen to me and learn’ way.

    NoE, wench in the service of his noodleyness, bless his sauce

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