Ok, here’s the thing

Published October 30th, 2009 by Bobby Henderson

This was sent in response to pastafarian responses from earlier hatemail/concerned criticism post.

Ok, here’s the thing. You set up a website with a place for responses. Your website takes a clearly mocking tone toward religion in general. You gather a bunch of members who agree with you and assert your scientific superiority. All that’s fine. Indeed, I’d say its even American. The thing that disturbs me is when people begin to question the RIGHT of people to “insult us, or. . . pray for us.”

That right is recorded somewhere in some dusty piece of paper – let me think . . . where could it be –
that has worked out well for us all for quite a while.

The thing that turns me off, though, and weakens your position most, is that most of you are just mean. I wouldn’t want just to hang out with you at a bar or anywhere else, because your arguments primarily seem to consist of making fun of people. Indeed, the Flying Spaghetti Monster is pretty much one big Ad Hominem argument. It adds nothing to a discussion of the validity of faith, because it is not about faith. (The person who writes that they “believe” in Atheism I’ll give a pass to on this comment.)

Even if Katie is condescending, your responses are more so. It is the lack of love that makes me question your entire premise. Indeed, your definition of hate is awfully broad. It sounds, how shall I put it, downright religious. Even if we live in a Foucaldian world in which our choices are driven by zeitgeist and social darwinism, I personally am going to choose to reject that. I will defiantly assert that even in that world, Faith is still relevant (and if you read his last interviews, I think Michel might agree).

Even if God were not true, I think I’ll still take Katie, who clearly has concern for you (even if you think it is misguided) over you guys who are interested in intellectually crushing her. Just because you have a right to speak doesn’t mean that Katie shouldn’t, and you certainly “have no right” to expect most people who respond to like you if you are going to beat on them.

Take a real philosophical position that can be debated and we’ll talk. Claiming that principles are “generally accepted” won’t do it, and don’t even begin to bring “peer review” in to support claims of truth, because “peer review”, even at its best, isn’t about truth – it’s about methodology and rhetoric.

Otherwise, quit wasting my time.

P.S. Has anyone here actually honestly asked God whether He exists? Just curious as to whether this is an intellectually honest forum or an ideologically rigid one.


204 Responses to “Ok, here’s the thing”

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  1. Miles says:

    Dear Mr. Jeremy

    Intellectually belittling someone, while a terrible way to make friends, is not infringing on their right to self expression and free speech. Advocating for the censorship of opinion because it’s condescending is, in fact, contradicting the point you make in your response.

    Furthermore, I don’t see the logical connection between meanness and logical validity. I see this website as a clever counter to two arguments: ID in schools and the kind of “prove a negative statement” arguments that Glenn Beck has made famous. I.E. Prove to me that God DOESN’T exist. I digress, but my point remains that the initial spirit of FSM was not to question your faith, discredit faith, or belittle the faithful. I’m not convinced that people responding to the statements and arguments of others in this forum are concerned with being liked, nor should they be.

    If you’d like to define a “real” philosophical argument, I’m sure people would be glad to discuss it with you. It’s not really fair to demand this without providing parameters that you would feel constitute a “real” argument.

    In regard to your P.S., I just asked God if he exists. Nothing happened. But thank you for exploring the idea.


  2. PlagueChicken says:

    Deeply held beliefs are the scariest things on earth – maybe in the universe. Anyone who is too attached to their unprovable beliefs can assume the dogmatic tone typically associated with religions, it is true. This applies to Pastafarians as well as Baptists and the rest.

    Instead of atheism, I prefer to adopt the stance of a militant agnostic: I don’t know and you don’t either!


  3. Advocatus Diaboli says:

    P.S. Has anyone here actually honestly asked God whether He exists?

    One, this rather begs the question.
    Two, it is meaningless. If he does not answer, you are no wiser. If he does, he has destroyed your Faith.

  4. jdb says:

    “P.S. Has anyone here actually honestly asked God whether He exists? ”

    Jeremy, have you actually honestly asked Zeus whether He exists? What about Jupiter? Allah? Xenu?

    Do you realize that what started as a pretty interesting critique on your part was completely undone by asking a group generally made up of non-believers to ask a god they don’t believe in if that god exists. Do you not see the intense logical mess that is your question in the postscript?

    To answer your question honestly, when I was young I did. Just got a dial tone. Since I realized and fully accepted that I am an atheist, I have not asked ‘god’ whether ‘he’ exists. I have also not asked Xenu, Zeus or any other god I don’t believe in to tell me they exist. It’s fruitless to ask something that isn’t there to tell you it’s there.

  5. Alyssa says:

    “Otherwise, quit wasting my time.”

    Uh, you’re the one who came to this website, knowing the kind of support you’d receive. Nobody is forcing you to read or respond to posts. If you feel that it is a waste of your time, then that it your fault, and not that of the posters.

    “P.S. Has anyone here actually honestly asked God whether He exists?”

    I don’t understand this question, and I’ve heard it before. There seems to be a genuine inability of those who do believe in god to even comprehend that those like me don’t believe in god. If we believe a figure to be a fabrication of the human mind, why would we ask it if it exists? Wouldn’t that make you a crazy person? Have you ever asked the flying Spaghetti Monster if he exists? Why would you ask such a ridiculous question?

  6. Lippy Girl says:

    Actually, yes I have. I prayed to god for many years with no results…in fact many things happened that caused me to question if there was a god or if he did exist why he was so mean spirited. As I started to lose my faith, I asked god several times to show himself in some way that would prove he existed. Not surprisingly, he didn’t. Therefore, god doesn’t exist.

  7. don says:

    We do not assert scientific superiority, our position is one of “faith” in the FSM.
    P.S. I have asked God if he exists, and his answer was revealed in a plate of pasta, so that proves that the FSM is the real God of all creation.

  8. Sean Boyd says:

    Sadly, Jeremy, God doesn’t return my calls, emails, faxes, tweets, texts, or pages. And knocking on heaven’s door to see her in person can only be accomplished in one fashion, and I’m not quite ready to go that far to get an answer from the lady. I’m sure you’re suggesting I pray to God. Well, I did a lot of that in my misguided youth. Never once heard an answer. If you’re suggesting that this is my fault, I happily agree.

    I’m also curious why you feel we’re wasting your time. Did we solicit your response? Did we force you to read posts on this site? Are you not capable of exercising free will? You are the only person capable of wasting your own time in this venue. Own up to your responsibility regarding this waste.

    Peer review, at its best, is part of scientific methodology. And there is no doubt that political considerations can influence acceptance of papers, matters of tenure, what is deemed acceptable research, and so on. But since you elected to mention peer review at its best, let’s talk about that. Peer review, at its best, allows even contrarian views to be seen and heard. You may know some of those contrary voices in the wilderness: Darwin, Einstein, Gödel, Galileo, Copernicus and many others, I’m sure. Some were controversial because of the views they espoused, others because of their rejection of the status quo. Some of them are to this day ridiculed in certain circles for their views, and all of them were questioned by their peers for their work. And each was vindicated by some variant of peer review. Those principles are generally accepted, because they work.

    You are quite correct that the FSM is not about faith. That is the point. Faith in what? The comparison is between faith in a nebulous, poorly defined notion of God versus faith in a tangible, understood process which can be directly observed (scientific research.) Faith isn’t even the right word for the latter: inductive reasoning is far more accurate. We see the process provide answers, correct misconceptions, and generally demonstrate the possibility of making things better for a lot of people. Thus, there is confidence that it can continue to do so. On the other hand, people have been praying for the end of days for well over a thousand years, convinced that it’s just around the corner. Their faith is in something that has no tangible evidence. Just to prove I’m open minded, Jeremy, if Jesus returns tomorrow, I promise to acknowledge I’m wrong.

    You are mixing and matching different shades of the meaning of rights. No one here would offer that hate mailers don’t have a legal right to post their “concern” for us. We’re speaking more of moral rights, as in hate mailers asserting their supposed moral superiority to us in telling us of their concern. That’s not even kosher in Xtianity, and yet they do it.

    Similarly, you are mixing different shades of the meaning of belief, just as you mixed meanings of faith and of rights. It’s true that atheists make a positive statement in asserting their lack of belief in a God. Again, examine the underpinnings of that belief. Are they choosing to believe that something exists, despite the lack of evidence? Or are they choosing to believe something doesn’t exist, because there is no evidence of it. Both have flaws. One, at least, attempts to respect the observable world.

    And, because I haven’t yet personally attacked your character, and I hate to disappoint you, I must say that you strike me as a Liberty University philosophy major. Apologies to any pastafarian philosophers in our midst.

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