If you’ve not yet been introduced to the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, you may want to read Bobby Henderson’s Open Letter to the Kansas School Board to highlight the absurdity of teaching “Intelligent Design” alongside actual scientific evidence of evolution in the school system. It started as a brilliant attempt to use satire to highlight the ridiculousness of this approach to public school education, but has grown into a cohesive movement of intelligent people who wholeheartedly reject the “theory” of Intelligent Design being taught in public school science classes.
Today, my favorite local paper, the Intelligencer, actually brought the Pastafarian movement into full public awareness with this article by Lou Sessinger in which he explains the raison d’etre for the FSM:
Maybe you haven’t heard of FSM. Its Pastafarians believe that a being known as the Flying Spaghetti Monster created the universe.
But, according to an Associated Press story, discussions of their beliefs will be on the agenda this weekend when religious scholars convene in San Diego for the annual meeting of the American Academy of Religion.
Nobody takes the Pastafarians seriously, least of all the Pastafarians, but serious scholars think the religion’s growing fame in popular culture raises important questions about the essence of religion.
Henderson, of course, wasn’t serious, but his underlying principle was: If you’re going to allow intelligent design to be part of a science curriculum, why not allow everything else? The only thing taught in a science class should be the best available science.
Kansas eventually repealed guidelines questioning the theory of evolution. Whether it had anything to do with the Flying Spaghetti Monster is open to debate.
But FSM got a lot of laughs, as well as condemnation. It has thrived on the Internet and on college campuses as something funny and interesting.
Scholars, though, see some food for serious discord about the nature of religion amid the humor.
I think it’s ironic that satire often falls short of its intended effect, as Sessinger describes:
…readers of satire fail to get the satirist’s purpose, mistakenly thinking that he supports the very problem that he’s attacking.
Therefore, many readers were appalled when Irish author Jonathan Swift, sometimes called the father of modern satire, proposed in the 18th century that the British could solve the problem of Irish overpopulation and poverty by encouraging parents to fatten up their children and feed them to the rich.
Therefore, you have to suspect that there are some people out there who actually believe the Flying Spaghetti Monster created the universe.
Honestly, I don’t care what anyone else believes or teaches their children in their own home or private school. But in my children’s public school, I want science, not religion, taught in the classroom. Now that you’ve unwittingly been touched by the FSM’s noodly appendage, give some thought to where the line should be drawn.