I’ve never been a huge fan of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. I understand the concept, I like the idea, but the entire concept to me always came off as ridiculous. Soon, I assume, we will see a spike in FSM search results, due to Houston football player Arian Foster mentioning it in a Yahoo article.
For those unaware of what the Flying Spaghetti Monster is, the idea is a religion based on worship of a Flying Spaghetti Monster, a mess of noodles with two large meatballs, with googly eyes. Adherents give prayers to the Flying Spaghetti Monster (may you be touched by his noodly appendage, amen), and strict orthodox worshipers wear pasta strainers to revere him.
To summarize, the whole thing is bunk. Useful bunk though, the sort that examines why people are willing to respect equally ridiculous ideas when they are part of a real faith. The best use of the Flying Spaghetti Monster has been to stretch and strain the allowances given to the religious. Need a day off of work? Say it is a religious holiday for the FSM, can your employer legally tell you no? Need to eat pasta no matter where you are? The FSM required a full bowl to be eaten at 2:30pm, I’m sorry boss I’m going to have to step out of this meeting. A man in Austria won the right to wear a pasta strainer on his ID.
These things happen because we have set up a system where cultural fairy tales give you a pass. It has become a landmine for governments and their citizens alike. Is that person childishly afraid of shadows after midnight? Or is that a religious stance that shouldn’t be mocked? When something is simply cultural, we can tell people to buck up and deal with it. I don’t care what your ancestors did, in my courtroom/classroom/bathroom, you flush and dang man wash your hands. Religion, our current system gives the religion the right of way. So if someone’s religion requires them to take a dump on their hand and try to shake hands with everyone, sorry everybody but you’re going to have to smell that.
Arian has a good idea. The FSM as a religious trolling tool is clever, but I fear that one day we will troll ourselves into oblivion. The same way everyone jokingly said ‘bro’, until we were making ‘bro’ puns, and then just said bro without irony. I don’t want to reach the point where the FSM’s use isn’t to show how nonviable a system of infinite accomadationism is, but instead creates a path for religion to cement further paths to nonsensical allowances.
Arian Foster seemingly intends it as a teaching tool. The Flying Spaghetti Monster is a great faux religion for children, because there is no expectation they will believe it. It has few strict rules, there are no (I hope) churches. Like Santa, there is an expectation that the FSM has an expiration date, and your kid will make the decision to stop believing once they realize that there isn’t a floating mess of noodles leaving them spaghetti in their room every christmas.
All I’m saying is there is a fine line to play. I understand the need to mock the more ridiculous ideas of faith, from magical hats and underpants to mystical winged guardians and ascended bald-guys, but I fear the day where my children quake in the presence of marinated noodles.