Am I an Atheist or a Pastafarian?

Published October 17th, 2007 by Bobby Henderson

An essay by Tyler Naffin:

For as long as I have known the meaning of the term, I have considered myself an atheist. Recently however, I have begun to reconsider my atheism. The cause of this reconsideration is Pastafarianism. Pastafarianism is a religion that was brought to my attention when I read an article in the November 2006 issue of Wired magazine called The New Atheism. In an interview with renowned atheist and evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins, he mentioned the deity of Pastafarianism, the Flying Spaghetti Monster. At first I thought nothing of it, but a few weeks later I noticed a YouTube clip that had a Flying Spaghetti Monster sighting in Germany. As soon as I discovered that His Noodiliness was not a figment of Dawkins imagination, I began to research the Flying Spaghetti Monster. I discovered that it was part of the Pastafarian religion, and upon learning of some of its tenets, I was instantly converted. But this would seem to be at odds with my atheism, to believe in a god. Since then, I have been in a constant struggle to decide what I believe.

Now there has to be a reason that a firm atheist such as me would be converted to a theistic religion like Pastafarianism so easily, while rejecting other religions like Christianity and Islam. Therefore I will briefly explain Pastafarianism, while forgoing the pirate regalia usually required to be worn when teaching the ways of the religion. In the beginning, the Flying Spaghetti Monster created the Universe, presumably when he was drunk. This aspect, known as Unintelligent Design, has successfully been used to explained disco and Jar Jar Binks, among other things. His Noodiliness created pirates as absolute divine beings. The declining numbers of pirates over recent years has caused the Flying Spaghetti Monster to become angry and punish us through global warming. Heaven consists of beer volcanoes and a stripper factory, while there is no known equivalent to Hell. This in a nutshell, is Pastafarianism.

By now you must be thinking that I am a certified nut for believing in such a thing. You would also not be the first person to think such a thing on the grounds that I believe in the Flying Spaghetti Monster. However I shall tell you that I do not truly believe that all of existence was created by a flying blob of spaghetti surrounding two meatballs. I never have. But I still claim that I do. The reason for that is because Pastafarianism is an excellent satire of Christianity and religion in general. A closer examination of Pastafarianism would reveal that it has many parallels to Christianity. For instance, while the Bible has Moses and the Ten Commandments, the Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster has Captain Mosey and the eight I’d Really Rather You Didn’ts. True to the nature of a satire, Pastafarianism causes one to look more critically at the acceptance of absurdities within the Judeo-Christian beliefs because of such parallels. But the question of why I consider myself a Pastafarian still exists, and it is a question I struggle to answer.

I use Pastafarianism to criticize the beliefs of Christians by pointing out the parallels between Christianity and Pastafarianism and how the beliefs of Pastafarianism, while absurd, are in essence the same as Christianity. After all, there is as much evidence supporting the Judeo-Christian god as there is for the Flying Spaghetti Monster. The only problem is that there are few Christians that I know at a personal level, and thus few Christians to criticize. As for my atheism, I continue to read up on many topics, including the Bible, in order to prepare myself for a debate with a Christian in areas where invoking the Flying Spaghetti Monster is unable to help. Now for the question of whether I am I an atheist or a Pastafarian, I have come to this conclusion: I will consider myself an atheist in a broad sense, such as to what group I consider myself a part of, like if I am ever asked a survey question about my religion. On the other hand, I will consider myself a Pastafarian when it comes to a personal discussion with someone in which I can properly explain my beliefs. I feel confident that I can always justify that my belief in the Flying Spaghetti Monster is no more wrong than belief in any other deity. At least we have a graph!

Well, there are many religions, but I suppose they all worship the same God.
-Bertrand Russell

You might say that because science can explain just about everything but not quite, it’s wrong to say therefore we don’t need God. It is also, I suppose, wrong to say we don’t need the Flying Spaghetti Monster, unicorns, Thor, Wotan, Jupiter, or fairies at the bottom of the garden. There’s an infinite number of things that some people at one time or another have believed in, and an infinite number of things that nobody has believed in. If there’s not the slightest reason to believe in any of those things, why bother? The onus is on somebody who says, I want to believe in God, Flying Spaghetti Monster, fairies, or whatever it is. It is not up to us to disprove it.
-Richard Dawkins

184 Responses to “Am I an Atheist or a Pastafarian?”

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  1. Len Guini says:

    Copy and paste doesn’t seem to be working properly on this comp. I meant to paste the whole message. Ah well…

  2. Mathy Kid says:

    @JW: “God didn’t create us to be robots, that would be stupid.” Very true. Humans are far from robots. We have free will, independent decision-making capability, and the ability to think for ourselves. These traits have led us to develop science, so that we can figure out how the world works. You point out that we don’t yet know how the basic molecules of life became self-replicating organisms (mentioning “the sheer statistical improbability that protein, that we know and love, could have randomly been assembled to yield the life that is evident around us”). This is also true, but just because biologists have not yet managed to form an ironclad theory explaining the origins of life, God need not have intervened. The gaps in our understanding of the universe merely indicate that we’re not done with science quite yet. As far as I know, there is no scientific evidence explicitly proving that God does not exist. However, neither is there any scientific evidence proving that God does exist. So attempting to discuss religion in a scientific framework is rather silly, since there is no truly scientific evidence on either side. You choose to believe that God exists, and the Bible is true; I choose to believe that God does not exist, the Flying Spaghetti Monster is amusing, and the Bible is the unsupported mythology of an ancient civilization. If you’re right, I’m going to Hell, which would be sad; if I’m right, then you’re wasting valuable time in this life guarding against a nonexistent afterlife. Go ahead and believe whatever you like; I will do the same.
    @knowledgeable Pastafarian people: Incidentally, what are the “Eight I’d Really Rather You Didn’ts” (from Spaghetti-eating Klingon’s essay)? Probably it’s explained in the book, but I don’t really want to buy the book, because then I’d have to explain my quasi-membership in this church to my parents…

  3. ۞ says:

    I have B.S. in Biochemistry

    We know you do JW. You’re produce a hell of a lot of B.S. on this site.

  4. ۞ says:

    I’ve never heard of Borel’s law before (events whose probability is sufficiently small never occur).
    It’s nice because it fits in with everyday life and common sense but is in detail false.
    The contradicts the definition of non-zero probability.
    I also love the way that creationists attack evolution as only a theory and then rely on something called a law which is only a rule of thumb!

  5. I love eruptions in heaven says:

    @mathy kid

    just search on wikipedia. The main rules of the greatest religion ever are posted on the FSM page there.

  6. Wench Nikkiee says:

    Hi ۞
    I’ve only really come across it because creationists commonly refer to it to try and argue that abiogenesis is impossible.
    “Borel’s Law and the Origin of Many Creationist Probability Assertions”
    “The “law” in question does not exist as a mathematical theorem, nor is there a universally decided upon “minimum probability” among the physical sciences community. Rather, Borel’s Law originated in a discussion in a book written by Emil Borel for non-scientists. Borel shows examples of the kind of logic that any scientist might use to generate estimates of the minimum probability below which events of a particular type are considered negligible. It is important to stress that each of these estimates are created for specific physical problems, not as a universal law.”

  7. our Thumper ™ gets married today :) says:

    WARNING: Long post….suggestions for JW!
    I know one thing for sure and that is, that no-one who has seriously studied (or even has decent layman knowledge of) any biochem/genetics/molec bio or any other closely interrelated areas at any reputable educational institution would ever claim any of the following!

    “The fact is that almost all mutations are bad, they kill you, not make you better.” or
    “Also how do you explain that when you change you amino acid in a protein, it totally makes it unfunctional.”.
    Mutations, including distinct definitions each specific type, as well as the effects of each type on translation (from the DNA sequence to mRNA to protein), are studied fairly in depth at first year level and are also feature prominently in exam questions. I know because I’ve read info and study questions from uni websites all over the world when I was at that level.

    I suggest before you come here making totally ill-informed statements like that, (and make a fool of yourself in the process) you should do some homework on what you think you’re talking about JW, . Here’s a nice easy starting place for you…
    From the Wiki:
    “Neutral mutations are defined as mutations whose effects do not influence the fitness of either the species or the individuals who make up the species. These can accumulate over time due to genetic drift. The overwhelming majority of mutations have no significant effect, since DNA repair is able to mend most changes before they become permanent mutations, and many organisms have mechanisms for eliminating otherwise permanently mutated somatic cells.”
    I also suggest you so a little background on “3rd base wobble of the genetic code”.
    And no JW….I didn’t get my initial information from Wiki…I got it from actually studying biochem/molecular biology, (which also takes in developmental biology and genetics), as well as a respectable amount of evolutionary biology, and so covered even more genetics specifically in the context of the evolution of species on this planet over the past 4.0-3.5 billion yrs..
    However, if the Wiki is too simplified for your BS level, then try some of the freely accessible texts at NCBI (as a biochem graduate and studying MD you’ll no doubt be more than a little familiar with that site?) This is a well respected university level, both graduate and postgraduate, text.
    Again I’m sure you would have come across this text previously?

  8. Wench Nikkiee says:

    Hehehehe…my name changed back to one I used while talking to Thumper today :))

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