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A Warning

Published April 9th, 2011 by Bobby Henderson

While I am not of your "religion". I will not trash your website like the majority of the blundering baboons around here, instead I am here to support not your religion, but your attempt to keep religion and education separate. The constitution gives the people not only of freedom of religion but freedom from it. By teaching religion in any public school you are effectively taking away that right. Many, however argue that it is by "majority rules" that the teaching is decided. This argument is stultifying to many of  the proponents of this argument, because if this was true, slavery would still be legal.

I am a Hindu and have an open mind to virtually all religions. I know that this religion is not a real religion; but an attempt to show the errors and flaws of most organized religion and those who support it’s full integration into state affairs. I support your attempt to show how religion should not be taught in public education. The majority of people ranting on your website are not venting against the concept of separation of religion and public education, but against your satire of their religion.

Yet, I must warn you not to take this to far. You’re tab with the word hate mail is almost doing this. I am not worried too much about this, but the whole thing will make some people very irate. It might push some maniac over the edge and cause them to grab a gun and go after you. This has happened in the past, remember Malcolm X? Thus, I propose that you put somewhere on your front page of the site, that this is not an actual religion but an attempt to keep religion out of public schools.

Thank You,

A concerned supporter

Nikhil

I don’t think Nikhil meant direct criticism (or veiled threat) with this message.  

I take issue with the idea of real religion, as if such a thing can be defined and agreed upon.  I’ve said it in the past and I still believe strongly that there is no classification of religion without agenda.  I don’t expect mainstream religion (or a government influenced by mainstream religion) to see ours as a real religion because there is every incentive to see us as something else.  A joke, a way to mock their beliefs.  They will see us in terms that serve their purpose.

Most Pastafarians do want to keep religion out of schools, most of us are against tax exemptions (and indirect subsidies) for religious institutions.  We object to the power religion is allowed in government, and the excuses made for leaders of religion.  We’re saddened that it’s still seen as improper to criticize anything related to mainstream religion.

But this isn’t just because we’re Pastafarians.  It’s because Pastafarians are rational, reasonable, intelligent people who are not driven by any particular dogmatic thinking.  We are individuals who reject the concept of faith-over-reason, of indoctrination, and the fact that we’ve formed a group does not mean that we’ve come to these conclusions because that’s the group opinion.

Why does humor invalidate our beliefs?  I see this argument all the time and don’t understand it.  The idea that FSM is not an actual religion because it’s satire or this or that is obviously a joke – so what?  I’d argue that for the same reason Jon Stewart’s Daily Show has value as actual news, FSM has value as actual religion.  Different, yes, but that is the point.  Not everyone gets it – but again, that is the point.  We reject lowest common denominator indoctrination in favor of nuanced thinking

Is it just that mainstream religion is so utterly humorless?  Most religious people I know have a great sense of humor but I think they would agree that the institution of religion is rigid and stifling.  There are obvious areas where it’s not ok to make a joke.  One of the creepiest things I find about religion is that feeling that everyone is trying to act very serious. 

Our religion may not fit the definition of real religion as defined by outsiders.   But make no mistake – we have no ambition for FSM to be similar to mainstream religions.  How we’re classified is not important to us.  And while we understand that not everyone will get what we’re doing and why we’re doing it, it’s not our intention to offend – but nor is it our highest priority to avoid offense. 



132 Responses to “A Warning”

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  1. Darwinsninja says:

    yeah i could see why hate mail could totally trip people out. I mean that just makes it seem like we laugh at other people and are kinda like rude people. i mean we do write some nasty shit about the people who wrote these and then into religion itself. but still we should be allowed to regardless even if it sends a bad message it just shows our conviction against any religion gaining power in the state. it’s something we feel strongly about.
    and i know it doesn’t take much to make a crazy religious extremist to go shoot someone but we can’t back down on what we believe just because there’s a threat of a crazy person. Thats what Malcolm X Gandhi and MLK Jr all did. So we still need to stand strong and united.
    don’t worry too much we’re just having our lolz

    • tekhedd says:

      I do wonder how long it will be until FSM extremists appear and begin to make threats. The religion actively discourages extremism and jerk-y actions, but that doesn’t make it it immune. Betting pool, anyone?

      • tekhedd says:

        LOL already got a thumbs-down. And we accuse other churches of lacking a sense of humor! :D

  2. Joe says:

    This was a very respectful criticism.

    I see Nikhil’s point, but I don’t think any benefit would come from spelling out the humorous nature of our beliefs. Most people get that anyway, and those who don’t will be offended either way. Its a moot point.

    • Julian says:

      Joe,

      I see Nikhil’s point too.

      But I am concerned that you may be wrong. Most people don’t know about FSM at all (they should) and I would wager that the majority that do know about it’s existence don’t ‘get that’ about the humor. They conceptually understand that it is (an attempt at) humor. But to them it is blasphemy so they are fundamentally required to immediately condemn it, or at least dismiss it.

      Quite humorous irony. Recognizing humor but brainwashed to the degree that if they acknowledge it as funny in it’s own right, by the definition of blasphemy in their religion (Christianity specifically) they are automatically “Hell-bound” which, by anybody’s definition I know would not be all that funny. Kudos to Bobby.

  3. StJason says:

    As above. There are people who will be offended that you wear a blue shirt. There are people who will be offended if you walk or drive down the street. Avoiding offense is impossible. And yes, that means that somewhere, someone might take the voices in their head seriously, and do something about that something that is offending them.

    That said, I think that 99% of people ‘get’ the idea. I think that the vast majority of our ‘hate mailers’ write in not because they wish to debate the idea, or even defend the actions that we deride. I think that most of them… trying to find a good way to say this without sounding condescending… I think that a good majority of them are just not intellectually analytical enough to realize that this is satire, and that not everyone who screams “Jesus” as loud as they can has everyone’s good intentions at heart.

    …then, there is the small minority of people that I am sure is bored middle school kids who are trying to get a raise out of people and tur-huring with their croneys…

  4. Insightful Ape says:

    Hello Nikhil,
    First, thanks for your genuine concern. And for using the right word for our trolls-baboons.
    Second, unfortunately your suggestion won’t work. A lot (most?) of our hatemail comes from those who know exactly what we are about-to stop their religious ideology being misrepresented as science. And that is why they resent us. Others see the parallels between our faith and theirs as attampts at mockery (never mind the parallels between their own faith and older pagan taditions.)
    Third, I don’t see why our church should not be tax exempt if every other church is. Our doctrine is just as plausible as any.

  5. Anonymous says:

    This site was always about offending people, ever since it started. Now people are starting to realize that some pretty terrible things can come of it and are beginning to say, “No…no, we don’t want to offend people. Sorry. Sorry.” This site only came alive in offending people, and it will begin to lose its effect. Finally people are gaining some sense…

    • Insightful Ape says:

      Bullshit.
      This site did not start to offend people. It started to keep creationism out of the science class.
      We have had no shortage oc Christians coming here to tell us this is a hilarious site and there us nothing offensive about it.
      There are always going to be some insecure people getting offended at anything that seems to challenge their dogma. If they despise freedom of speech to that extent they can move to North Korea for all I care.

      • Dr. Kenneth Noisewater says:

        So delusional its patheitc

    • G. Lweigamnik says:

      And then, there are hypocrites like you. Terrible things haven’t come out of mainstream religions, hmm?

    • TiltedHorizon says:

      Sure, we could spend the rest of our lives politely agreeing with every notion and opinion but it would only be a matter of time before our lack of sincerity becomes obvious and offends someone. At which point some ‘anonymous’ person will come here and accuse us of being insensitive, explaining that terrible things can come out of patronizing people. We could try being honest but some people find contrary thought offensive. We could try humor, maybe creating a satirical religion…. oh wait. *facepalm*

    • opiesysco says:

      I have to say this again.
      If you are offended, so what?
      If you are offended by every little thing in this world, you have a problem and should get it looked at.
      If you know anything about this site, you would know it was not started to offend, but to stop religion cloaked as intelligent design being taught in public schools.

    • theFewtheProudtheMarinara says:

      Oh, I’ve always meant to offend someone! What goes around, comes around, and those offended most are those who REALLY need their sanctimonious bubble burst.

      • Brennana says:

        Yep, dont dish it out, if u cant take it in.

    • Noodles says:

      Nikhil,
      Thanks for the sincere post, but this site is one that’s long overdue. Exposing “legitimate” religion for what it is was always going to be risky. Ask the people of Libya, Syria, Egypt … etc.

      Anonymous,
      I’ve had the most part of a lifetime of kowtowing to various empty-headed fools because they were priests or ministers and therefore somehow “holy”, and deserving of our respect.

      Maybe it’s time that rational people pushed back.

      Why should we put up with nonsense when their nonsense so thouroughly offends us?

      And just to spell out succinctly the worth of your opinion,
      While the promise of beer and strippers is certainly appealing, I need to know: “Are the strippers virgins?”

      • wulff says:

        Our strippers are whatever you want them to be. If you want the virtuous, untouched young girl (or guy, whatever you’re into) who’s just working her way through college, you got it. If you want the professional girl who knows what she’s doing, you got that. If you want them both at the same time, more power to you. And all our strippers have the advantage of being 100% STD free with 0% chance of unwanted pregnancy (unless you’re in Pastafarian Hell, where there are in fact STD’s).

        • Duke says:

          There is a Pastafarian hell?

        • wulff says:

          So it has been said. Full of stale beer and strippers with STD’s.

  6. BigBoneDP from OZ says:

    Thanks Nikhil – I hadn’t thought about the term “Hate Mail” in that way.

    RAmen

  7. JB says:

    This responder is both tolerant and able to type a well-formed argument. That is refreshing.

    Have you noticed that those who are most hateful (and least cognizant of the objectives of Pastafarianism) in their mail are the worst when it comes to spelling, grammar, and using upper case appropriately? I wonder if anger makes them take leave of their senses, or if, perhaps, there is something that good style (or lack thereof) originates with, that leads to tolerance and clear thought (or lack thereof), or if the mindset that allows for tolerance also allows for taking care in one’s typing as a courtesy to one’s readers.

    Or are the most hateful just lazy and they neither care to take the time to type well nor to think through their arguments?

    • Metal Head says:

      “I wonder if anger makes them take leave of their senses…”

      An extreme emotional state causing someone to behave irrationally? No, that’s ridiculous. Quit being ridiculous.

  8. Lioss says:

    This is not a hate mail.
    Nikhil did not fully understand pastafianism but he is polite and that’s not so frequent.

    • chadachada123 says:

      *HATE MAIL* (and concerned criticism)

      (emphasis on the last 3 words)

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