Caleb is an ordained minister in the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster and a Pastafarian rights activist.
What is a Pastafarian?
"The eye patch is a constant reminder that others don’t see the world the same way we do. Not yet, at least.”- Bobby Henderson, founder of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster
If you're not familiar with Pastafarianism, it can seem pretty ridiculous. A religion where the chief deity is a flying mass of pasta? Why? A better question would be "Why not?" Every major religion in the world has some kind of quirk that, if you really think about it, is just as odd. We'll talk more about that later. For now, all you need to know is that Pastarfianism is in fact a real, legitimate religion. What are we for? All that is good! What are we against? All that is not good! Pastafarians don't have a strict set of codes, or laws, or dogma. We just believe that we should strive to do our best and be good. Our humble, but swiftly growing religion was founded by the prophet Bobby Henderson in 2005. You can read the details here. While I would love to go into all the nitty-gritty details of the faith I hold so dearly, I'm really here to just spread awareness that we exist and that we are a legitimate religion, just like any other.
Well yes, but actually no.
To call Pastafarianism satire is to miss the point of Pastafarianism. Many people seem to think that because the Flying Spaghetti Monster, or FSM for short, is silly, that Pastafarians aren't serious. That is simply not the case. The church of the FSM is not an atheists club, nor is it an attack on other religions. Just because our beliefs are unorthodox doesn't mean they aren't valid. You can laugh, but at the end of the day, every belief that Pastafarians hold is just as provable (or unprovable) as the tenets of other religions. Can you PROVE that gravity isn't the FSM holding our planets together? Can you PROVE that Jesus wasn't resurrected? Can you PROVE that reincarnation doesn't exist? I could go on. So why then are Pastafarians denied legitimacy in mainstream society? In 2018 a U.S. Army soldier applied for a religious exemption to grow a beard to comply with his Norse Pagan faith. This request was approved. In 2019 another U.S. Army soldier, Specialist John Hoskins applied for the same beard exemption as the aforementioned pagan soldier. His request was denied. Even with an official letter from Bobby Henderson requesting that the Army honor Hoskins' request, the Army denied it. Where exactly is the line drawn? The reasoning behind the denial was that Pastafarianism was not Hoskins' "sincerely held religious belief". Who are they to decide what is, or is not a sincerely held belief? The only person who can possibly know that is the person themselves. You can read the full story in the Army Times here. And while we are on the subject, since when is "sincere" belief a basis as to whether a religion is true or not? Take a look at this quote from Bobby Henderson, and decide for yourself.
"Some Pastafarians honestly believe in the FSM, and some see it as satire. I would just make the point that satire is an honest, legitimate basis for religion. Satire relies on truth to be effective. If it’s a joke, it’s a joke where to understand the punchline you must be conscious of underlying truth.
Compare our religion to those that are built on lies. I am not talking necessarily about mainstream religions (which themselves are often full of mysticism and ad-hoc reasoning), but think of cults, or churches where the leaders are scamming their followers out of money. These are groups where the followers fully believe. Are these churches legitimate since they have many True Believers?"
Yes, it is a big deal. Or at least, it should be.
While I cannot speak for people outside of the United States, religious freedom is kind of a big deal here.
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."- Amendment One of the U.S. Constitution.
If Congress doesn't have the power to prohibit the free exercise of religion, then some Army General nobody has ever heard of certainty doesn't. I digress. I could talk all day about why Spc. Hoskins being denied a beard makes my blood boil, but that could be an article in and of itself. So then, why is it so hard for Pastafarians to be taken seriously? They aren't harming anyone, they aren't making ridiculous amounts of money off the desperate and the needy. Not one person has ever been harmed in the name of the FSM. Pastafarians aren't doing half the unscrupulous things that every other religion on the planet does, and yet they can't even receive status as an official religion here in the U.S. Ironic, seeing as we are supposedly the land of the free.
I can, and I do.
It's no secret that the current state of the planet's climate is...less than ideal. With the possibility of catastrophic sea levels in the relatively near future, it's no surprise that people are worried. The FSM is not ecstatic about high levels of warm water either seeing as he boiled for our sins. So this is why he had the foresight to instruct us all to become as pirates. Why pirates you ask? Well because it is scientifically proven that the more pirates sailing the seven seas there are, the lower our wonderful home planets temperature is. Just think about it. Was global warming a thing during the golden age of pirates? No! only after pirates have all but disappeared, has there been a worrying increase in the planet's temperature. Don't believe me? Not to worry, I have a source. That's why September 19th (Talk like a Pirate Day) is such a revered holiday among Pastafarians.
May you all be touched by his noodly appendage!
Thank you all for reading. If you have any questions about Pastafarianism or are interested in becoming a member, but aren't sure what to do, please reach out! I have also linked to the official Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster if you'd like to purchase it for yourself. R'amen.