The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, while having existed in secrecy for hundreds of years, only recently came into the mainstream when this letter was published in May 2005.
With millions, if not thousands, of devout worshippers, the Church of the FSM is widely considered a legitimate religion, even by its opponents – mostly fundamentalist Christians, who have accepted that our God has larger balls than theirs.
Some claim that the church is purely a thought experiment, satire, illustrating that Intelligent Design is not science, but rather a pseudoscience manufactured by Christians to push Creationism into public schools. These people are mistaken. The Church of FSM is real, totally legit, and backed by hard science. Anything that comes across as humor or satire is purely coincidental.
Pastafarianism is a real religion.
Most of us do not believe a religion – Christianity, Islam, Pastafarianiasm – requires literal belief in order to provide spiritual enlightenment. That is, we can be part of a community without becoming indoctrinated. There are many levels of belief.
By design, the only dogma allowed in the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster is the rejection of dogma. That is, there are no strict rules and regulations, there are no rote rituals and prayers and other nonsense. Every member has a say in what this church is and what it becomes.
To outsiders it makes us hard to define, but here are some general things that can be said about our beliefs:
- We believe pirates, the original Pastafarians, were peaceful explorers and it was due to Christian misinformation that they have an image of outcast criminals today
- We are fond of beer
- Every Friday is a Religious Holiday
- We do not take ourselves too seriously
- We embrace contradictions (though in that we are hardly unique)
You are welcome to Contact Me
Questions and Answers
Q: Is this a joke?
A: It’s not a joke. Elements of our religion are often described as satire and there are many members who do not literally believe our scripture, but this isn’t unusual in religion – it’s only more obvious in the case of our particular religion. A lot of Christians, for example, don’t believe the Bible is literally true – but that doesn’t mean they aren’t True Christians.
If you say Pastafarians must believe in a literal Flying Spaghetti Monster to be True Believers, then you can make a similar argument for Christians. There is a lot of outlandish stuff in the Bible that rational Christians choose to ignore. We do the same with our scripture. This is intentional.
Q: A lot of Pastafarians seem to be anti-religion and/or atheists (why is this?)
A: We’re not anti-religion. This is NOT an atheists club. Anyone and everyone is welcome to join our church including current members of other religions. In addition to the Atheists, Agnostics, and Freethinkers who have joined us, we have a number of Christian (and Muslim, and Hindu and Buddhist …) members and I would love to have more. Note to the religious: You are welcome here.
Let me make this clear: we are not anti-religion, we are anti- crazy nonsense done in the name of religion. There is a big difference. Our ideal is to scrutinize ideas and actions but ignore general labels.
Q: I don’t believe you or any of your so-called followers actually believe any of this.
A: Some Pastafarians honestly believe in the FSM, and some see it as satire. I would just make the point that satire is an honest, legitimate basis for religion. Satire relies on truth to be effective. If it’s a joke, it’s a joke where to understand the punchline you must be conscious of underlying truth.
Compare our religion to those that are built on lies. I am not talking necessarily about mainstream religions (which themselves are often full of mysticism and ad-hoc reasoning), but think of cults, or churches where the leaders are scamming their followers out of money. These are groups where the followers fully believe. Are these churches legitimate since they have many True Believers?
Or can we agree that religion is as much about community as any shared faith. By any rational metric, Pastafarians are as legimate a religious group as any. Arguably more so, since we’re honest and rational.
Q: We want to use FSM designs for t-shirt, jerseys, posters…
A: It’s ok to use FSM materials for your own use and to spread the word – I’m happy to see it. There have been a number of sports team and club shirts — I can provide high quality images/vector designs for screen printing, just let me know.
That said, it’s not ok to *SELL* FSM products.
A couple reasons for this. I’m wary of the FSM being used in designs with slogans that are purposely antagonistic or otherwise harmful to the Cause. I’m thinking of a case years ago where someone was selling overtly caustic anti-religion shirts with various FSM designs and it became a problem.
I’m all for pointed criticism and humor at the expense of too-powerful religious institutions, but that is a very different thing than declaring someone is stupid for being religious. I’m strongly against simple intentional offense just for the sake of offending – I believe it makes the larger problem worse, causes everyone to entrench in their views, and gives ammunition to opponents. I have no say in the broader non-religious movements, but I don’t want FSM seen as cynical and negative. This is very important to me.
Second, unlike mainstream religions, there is no soliciting for donations or tithing here. This server was expensive to build and is expensive to run, and it’s funded by sales of shirts/books/emblems. Because of that, I am aware of the hundreds of FSM products offered that don’t support this site, and the few who I feel hurt the cause. I believe most people have good intentions, but also I don’t want to see this organization disappear.
If there’s something specific you want offered on the FSM store, let me know and I’ll see what I can do.
If ever possible, I would love to do away with all merchandising – I think it hurts the purity of the Cause. It would be nice if there was a rich benefactor keeping things afloat. (Accepting applications).
Q: What Does the Flying Spaghetti Monster think of Same Sex Marriage?
A: The CotFSM has no judgement on same sex marriage, for/against; that is to say, all are welcome into the loving embrace of His Noodly Appendage. (And there are many gay/bi members).
Q: In 1000 years will FSM be a mainstream religion?
A: This is something I think about constantly and it keeps me up at night. I sometimes wonder what the Church of Scientology — or lets say the Mormon Church looked like 5 years after Joseph Smith transcribed the scriptures out of the hat with the seer stones. What worries me is that right now I can be pretty sure there aren’t a lot of dogmatic nutty FSM people around, but what about in 20 years? What about in 50 years? What about when someone figures out a way to make money out of this and turns it into some new age spiritual enlightenment thing. There are billions of Christians who are crazy serious about their religion who don’t necessarily believe the things in the Bible actually happened. So .. yes, I do worry where FSM will go. My hope is it continues to be a positive force in the world. We will need to keep an eye on it for sure.
Q: How do Pastafarians believe our world was created?
A: We believe the Flying Spaghetti Monster created the world much as it exists today, but for reasons unknown made it appear that the universe is billions of years old (instead of thousands) and that life evolved into its current state (rather than created in its current form). Every time a researcher carries out an experiment that appears to confirm one of these “scientific theories” supporting an old earth and evolution we can be sure that the FSM is there, modifying the data with his Noodly Appendage. We don’t know why He does this but we believe He does, that is our Faith.
Q: To what extent do Pastafarians need evidence to support their beliefs? What is considered valid evidence, and why are some religious ideas lacking evidence believed more widely than others? Why is Christianity more widely accepted than Pastafarianism?
A: For many religions, acceptance is due to the time it has been around and due to the number of people who already follow it. For potential followers it’s often less a consideration of evidence, and more a judgment that the collective group of followers is better informed. That millions or billions of people already follow this religion is strong social proof that there is something to it. The larger the group and the longer it has been around, the more pronounced the effect.
But nonbelievers are overreaching when they dismiss the phenomenon of religion as wrong and useless because it so often lacks a basis in evidence. The fact that millions of people get something positive out of a religion – even if it is based in superstition – *does* mean something. But that’s not to say it’s True, only that it has Value. For many people, religion is about being part of a community and being part of something bigger and more important than themselves.
Nonbelievers would be better off criticizing only on the negative, damaging parts of religion, and being less judgmental about the idea of religion in general. Nonbelievers get hung up asking for evidence when really we should be looking at why does religion thrive despite evidence? We should be pushing the idea that faith is not equivalent to evidence-based-reasoning without insisting that it’s inferior, only that they are different ways of seeing the world. And that the problems happen when these world views clash.
Pastafarianism is different than most religions in that we explicitly make the point that our scripture need not be believed literally. In other religions this is known but not often said out loud (Many Christians don’t take the Bible literally but won’t volunteer this). Pastafarian scripture has some outlandish and sometimes contradictory components – and unlike the scripture of mainstream religion, these pieces were intentional and obvious, and our congregation is aware of this.
But what I find interesting is that when people object to the idea of Pastafarianism, it’s never with our scripture or ideas they suspect to be tongue-in-cheek. They object to the most intentional, honest, real components of our religion. It’s the times when we break from satire that we’re criticized, the times when I say something tolerant or hopeful about Christians that I’m called names. I am convinced there is a large number of people who need to believe that ours is not a legitimate religion because it can’t exist in their world view.
Well, I can only say this to those people: it’s only because of the insistence that we were *not* legitimate, that there was motivation to *be* a legitimate religion. You see, our religion, like Christianity and other mainstream religions, is based *not* on a foundation of evidence, but of community. The Pastafarian church was built and its legitimacy formed by people tired of being disenfranchised for thinking rationally. We have every right to exist and form a religious community. That many of us don’t literally believe our own superstitions or in the existence of our own God is evidence that we’re thinking.
About Bobby. Mini-bio.
Education: Negligible (B.S. Physics)
Location: Grew up in Oregon, USA. College: Oregon, New Zealand. After college I lived in Nevada and then Arizona, and then Oregon again, and then I have been wandering-while-working for the last ~3 years, most of that in the Philippines, most of that on Boracay island.
Occupation when not engaged as prophet of FSM: Hobo. Also sometimes nerd work on or around computers. Sometimes writing things for money. You can probably hire me to write something or do computer nerd work for you, probably cheap.
You can view the about page on my blog here for more.
And the actual blog here if you are interested, but be warned: it’s mostly pictures of palm trees and things. Everyone asks: I don’t sit around in hammocks all day (I am ashamed to admit I don’t have one here.) – these are just the pictures I take. Most of the time I am doing something boring in front of a computer.