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We shouldn’t live with absolute frivolity

Published August 12th, 2011 by Bobby Henderson

While life should not be taken too seriously, this doesn’t mean we should live with absolute frivolity. Yes, so-called religions attempt to mandate all sorts of opinions and behaviors about morality and social conformity. This does not mean that actual religion — the sincere attempt to understand the unknowable — is inherently stupid or necessarily bullshit.

Quantum mechanics tells us that all possibilities exist simultaneously until foreclosed by inconsistent observations. So, with regard to what we truly cannot know or observe, it’s possible that all beliefs are equally "true" and very much real. It’s an incredibly powerful thought: that we can design our own eternity simply by imagining it.

Personally, I’d want much more from my eternity than to party on a pirate ship with a bunch of beer and strippers. The ability to have that experience at any time and for any duration? Sure, that would be great. But plain old life has plenty to offer that’s much more sublime and extraordinary than simple hedonism. And it’s not even a very ambitious vision of hedonism.

World history is replete with terrible evils committed in the name of "religion." Certainly, it’s an important message that moral and social "values" should not be elevated to the level of religious beliefs. But our ability as humans to recognize the fundamental unknowable questions — where are we from, why are we here, and where are we going — creates a fundamental human need to discuss and confront these questions.

Pastafarianism does indeed celebrate the power of the individual to choose his or her own answers to these questions. Some might like the idea of choosing answers that are deliberately silly or absurd. But to do so simply to make a point about the beliefs of others is to degrade and dishonor one’s own spirit.

-Tom



936 Responses to “We shouldn’t live with absolute frivolity”

  1. vinz says:

    I think this hate mailer is quite OK still. For a change a read from a guy with (just) a bit of common sense commenting (in proper spelling) on our Faith. I think he is in transition and he’ll see the light one day. Let’s give him some time, I am sure some of the FSM’s Appendages are already working on him.

    And drinking beer whilst watching strippers all day is hedonism? No way, it’s tough!!

  2. Harry Boyd says:

    I think, Tom, you need to live with somewhat more frivolity. And it’s nice to read a thoughtful comment.

    • Tom says:

      Thanks, Harry. And you’re right, it’s just as important to devote one’s self to things that are not important.

      • Jip says:

        Don’t agree with every thing Oscar Wilde said but ‘Life is too important to be taken seriously’

  3. Former Dupe of a More Ridiculous Religion says:

    I’m not sure this letter has a point to refute, or even answer. BUT, leave our heaven alone.

    I like our heaven. If it wasn’t for the stripper factory and beer volcano I would have to be a Muslim just to get the 72 virgins. But that would mean things like praying and chanting and wasting my life in other useless activities. Not to mention having to believe ancient texts with no relevance in today’s world.

    FSM requires no religious genuflecting and other rubbish. Just be good, be nice, and, if you really feel like it, follow the 8 I’d really rather you didn’ts.

    What more do you need from a religion?

    • Tom says:

      If you dig the FSM’s heaven, that’s cool and it’s your choice. Just don’t forget that your options are limited only by your own imagination and not by the imagination of published authors.

    • Spammyboy says:

      I have been known to genuflect in the name of the FSM… I dropped a meatball once, and that seemed to be the only way to pick it up…

    • SillyKiwiMan says:

      I couldn’t think of much worse than 72 virgins. Imagine all the crying, “you’re not sticking that thing in me”s, required training etc. Give me five well-trained whores. (clean ones) Wifey is not impressed with my thoughts on this…

      • READRichardDawkins says:

        72 virgins also means 72 mothers-in-laws.

        • Sven says:

          And…don’t forget that there might be a reason they are still virgins..

        • gano says:

          Not to mention synchronized periods, with associated pre-menstrual blues. Times 72.
          I’m not sure you could call it heaven.
          (sorry for the sexist joke)

      • theFewtheProudtheMarinara says:

        I’m with you there. The virgin thing arises from a sexually repressed society where the men don’t want the women to know how inexperienced THEY themselves are.

  4. TiltedHorizon says:

    “I’m not sure this letter has a point to refute”

    Tom’s letter is predicated on the idea that religion is an attempt to seek answers to metaphysical questions. A point which I think IS refutable because religion often claims to know the answers, usually with such hubristic certainty that doubt and criticism is instantly regarded as anathema.

    This is the distinction between Religion & Philosophy, the latter is base in reason and is open to questions, the former often claims there are no questions and will typically quash curiosity by damnation and ostracization. The moment any ideology closes the doors of their mind it becomes “inherently stupid & full of bullshit”. (Note: This applies equally to close-minded Atheists as well)

    • Tom says:

      Again, that religions have failed to do their job does not prove they are incapable of succeeding. If it helps you to assign a different label because “religion” has been so badly corrupted, that’s perfectly fine.

      • TiltedHorizon says:

        I think you believe them to be one in the same because their end goals attempt to answer the same metaphysical questions but they are ultimately defined by their methods not their answers. The linchpin is here is the search for answers, Philosophy is an active pursuit which is open to debate hence it evolves while Religion is a foregone conclusion. The inability of Religion to even consider opposing arguments or their mistakes becomes the distinction separating it from Philosophy.

      • midnight rider says:

        When you say religions I take that to mean church organizations. They have done their job exceedingly well. They have brainwashed lots of people to be afraid, guilty and to give up control of their minds to church leaders. They have convinced people to give large sums of money to their church organization. They are very successful. Their job is to take your money by controlling your mind.

  5. Tom says:

    By the way, much thanks to Grand Pastafarian Sage And Prophet His Holiness The Great Guy Named Bobby for posting this. I hope it enriches the FSM community, as my discovery of that community has enriched myself.

  6. Ari says:

    I do not dispute the need for, as Tom said, “the sincere attempt to understand the unknowable”…but I do dispute the conclusions that certain religious groups have reached, and their attempt to brand these conclusions into the minds of people (especially children) and discourage any attempts at discussion: in effect, they are not saying “let us attempt to understand the unknowable together”, but rather “WE understand the unknowable…YOU do not, therefore, we have the right to tell you what truth is, how you should act, how you should live.”

    I take all of Pastafarianism with a nudge and a wink, as it was intended.

  7. His Wholyness the Cook says:

    While it is true, that our minds are small and any potential set of cosmological events, that we have no knowledge of, could have resulted in the universe as we currently observe it, religions only use that lack of knowledge to assert influence over people. Religions, contrary to Tom’s statement are all bullshit and absurd. Religions are about gesticulating in approved ritualistic manners, mouthing and chanting ritualistic words and meeting at ritualized times to perform ritualized obeisance. None of these ritualized activities have the slightest influence on the powers of the universe. It is a good idea for people to learn manners, respect and ethics, because those are lubricants that ease our passage, individually and as a group, through life. What is worthy of respect is the person who treads lightly on the others around him. The Muslim who ritualistically kowtows, then heavy handedly demands obedient behavior, is worthy only of derision. Just as the Catholic whose meaningless genuflections are followed by coercion and brainwashing of children, is only worthy of opprobrium. The ever kneeling and hollering fundamentalist who threatens anyone, who does not share their superstitions, with eternal hellish pain, is not worth any respect at all. All this behavior is superstition, pure and simple. Yes, any possibility that has not been dis-proven may be the case, and such ideas should not be dismissed lightly, but the practice around them can and should. I have no expectation that a Muslim, Catholic or Fundy would accept the sacramental feast of spaghetti and my secret recipe meatballs. They may scoff as is heir individual right. They may refuse the fine Lambrusco or Chianti that I offer as a libation and to loosen the tongues of my flock when they come to worship at my table. They may laugh at the simple joy and fellowship we share in the noodle and the wine and they may declare that this is not worship. And when they do, it is my right to point at the joy and fellowship of those who share in the noodly goodness at my table, and say that this simple expression of fellowship and laughter is what really matters in this world, and it is my right to scoff right back, without guilt.

    • SillyKiwiMan says:

      Here here

      • SillyKiwiMan says:

        I meant “hear hear”. I hate the poor grammar etc. of the unbelievers, and am shamed. I go forth to cleanse myself of sin with grog.

        • His Wholyness the Cook says:

          SillyKiwiMan, your grammar is permitted to slip after your second glass of libation. There is no such thing as sin, and you never need an excuse for grog.

        • stylusmobilus says:

          He’s got a good excuse now they lost the Bledisloe and the Tri Nations….sorry mate could not resist.

    • Phea says:

      Hey, let’s not forget the main reason religion flourished in Western civilization… control. When you have a Pope sitting next to the “divine” King and keep the rabble ignorant and uneducated, hell, you have all the bases covered when it comes to total control. It’s so old school though. Nowadays we have constant entertainment and shiny slick toys that keep us occupied and stupid. I could never say it better than Carlin did back in ’05.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=acLW1vFO-2Q&feature=related

  8. Krustacean says:

    “This does not mean that actual religion — the sincere attempt to understand the unknowable — ”
    – This is ACTUALLY the definition of science, not religion.

    “Personally, I’d want much more from my eternity than to party on a pirate ship with a bunch of beer and strippers.”
    –Really? I suppose a party can become a hell if it never ends and you need to sleep, but considering my fellow Pastafarians are generally a reasonable and caring bunch, I wouldn’t think the whole thing would develop into any Monkey’s Paw bulls**t. Even the strippers aren’t that appealing to me, considering the sexism and all, but eventually they would come down off their poles and have some beer and pirate snax and a nap. All that blue water and billowy, comfortable clothing. Perhaps if I was younger and hadn’t contributed anything to the world yet, an endless cruise away from it all would seem underwhelming, but after 40, it seems just right, Baby Bear.

    “But our ability as humans to recognize the fundamental unknowable questions — where are we from, why are we here, and where are we going — creates a fundamental human need to discuss and confront these questions.”
    –Again, this is more FUNDAMENTALLY and accurately addressed using scientific method than religious faith which uses assumptions based on uncorroborated observation and untested theories.

    “Some might like the idea of choosing answers that are deliberately silly or absurd.”
    –Darn tootin’!

    “But to do so simply to make a point about the beliefs of others is to degrade and dishonor one’s own spirit.”
    –Someone is really fond of their own “spirit”. My spirit is more concerned about uplifting others’ spirits and comforting the sad, weak, scared and needy. I only degrade myself by becoming unconcerned about others in need.

    Let’s also not forget many of us, now non-believers, have been hurt by others’ not respecting us in all of who we are including in non-belief. As much as a troubled religious person may need their faith for solace, so many of us who have been rejected or abused by family members in the name of religion need the FSM for solace.

    If we are truly looking for a uniting spirit between religion and FSM, it is the desire to belong to a group of people who accept and agree with us. It is common in religion to publicly eschew the “other” for one’s own particular god-brand, so it isn’t so surprising to find it here. It’s only human, after all. I’ve seen BH often wrestle with the notion of hypocrisy, struggling hard against it, but I think we should really just relax, and have a good laugh about the believers whenever we like without the guilt.

    That was way off topic, but there you go.

    Wenchless wenchy

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