By now, The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster must be familiar to most people who keep an eye on the goings-on in the online world. Conceived as a spoof, albeit with a serious purpose, the FSM, as it is known to many of its devotees, has acquired quite a following.
It is not surprising that while the irreligious delight in the whole idea and the activities of FSM fans, the religious community should also take notice of it. What might have seemed a passing joke has become something more. I don’t doubt that some religious believers dislike the whole idea and even feel insulted. After all, the idea that the world was created by a Flying Spaghetti Monster is no more stupid than the ideas of the religions that they themselves firmly believe in. This point is surely not lost on them.
It is therefore perhaps not all that surprising that the FSM is to be discussed at a religious conference, as recounted in this news item, Pasta Monster Gets Academic Attention. I am not sure that it is legitimate to include “academic” and “religion” in the same sentence but we’ll let that pass.
What caught my attention was not so much that the FSM is to be discussed but the following remark reportedly made by one of the delegates concerned:
Lucas Johnston, the third Florida student, argues the Flying Spaghetti Monsterism exhibits at least some of the traits of a traditional religion — including, perhaps, that deep human need to feel like there’s something bigger than oneself out there.
They can’t let it go, can they? According to believers, if you are religious then you are religious and if you are an atheist, well, you are still religious. This is all of a piece with the nonsense that atheism is somehow “fundamentalist” or that atheists, like believers, “have faith”. They just cannot accept the idea, never mind the reality, that some people have escaped the clutches of the pathological mindset that is religion. They have to lower the debate to their own level.
Ah well, never mind. It’s Sunday and we are going out to eat at one of our favourite haunts, Pane Vino in Chapel Market. Guess what we are planning to eat? Yes, pasta is on the menu!