Our father, who art in starches

I can safely assume that almost every single human being on this planet subscribes to one established and credible theory or another on how the universe, our planet and we humans came to exist in the first place.

Some believe that an almighty God created we humans and our planet we inhabit (regardless of any specific religious association). Others turn to elemental science and the theory of evolution to explain how the universe, its many components and the modern creatures on this earth came to be. Some people blend the two theories into one, coming up with a creation story cocktail of sorts known as intelligent design.

And lastly, there are those who would like to believe in the idea that our universe and all that dwells within its borders was brought into existence by a sentient, fully omnipotent, colossal wad of loose pasta. These people, dear readers, are known as Pastafarians.

Founded in 2005, The Church of The Flying Spaghetti Monster is a free-form, anti-dogmatic religion regarded by its founder and followers to be a fully legitimate religion; much evidence proves this point to be true.

This church has thousands of active members, a thoroughly informative and professionally-done Web site, a gospel currently available in print – The Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster – and a cult following comprised of droves of people on college campuses and internet groups all over the United States.

These examples explicitly show The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster is actually quite well-established and popular with its loyal following. Even more entertaining (and shockingly eye-opening) is the story of the Church’s creation, as well as its message.

In May 2005, Bobby Henderson, a college graduate living in Kansas, discovered the Kansas school board was planning to implement intelligent design into its educational curriculum.

As a rebuttal to this, Henderson wrote a lengthy essay to the school board, indicating his own beliefs on intelligent design – that the universe was created by said Flying Spaghetti Monster – were just as credible as the common Christian viewpoint on intelligent design. Also included in the letter were line graphs linking global temperature increases to the declining number of pirates in modern times.

Needless to say, many have criticized and derided Henderson, but many more have fervently supported him and the Flying Spaghetti Monster church’s message. Now, Henderson’s Web site says it receives thousands of hits every day, and has been Googled over 2 million times. All of this info can be found on the Web site, www.venganza.org – I highly recommend visiting it.

So, what’s the point of all this baloney about pasta monsters and vanishing pirates? It all depends on one’s personal interpretation of the movement.

Personally, I applaud Henderson for his outright chutzpah and sheer audacity to pull such a move. He has indicated on his site that he has no problems with religion in general; he dislikes it when people misuse religion to further their own personal agendas, or when religion is attempted to be placed into areas where it does not (legally) belong, such as public schools, in specific.

I wholeheartedly agree with Henderson’s message; it is unbiased, and at the same time it pokes fun (with a boatload of humor) at just how bull-headed people can be about religion. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: religion is a wonderful thing for people to have, but it’s a terrible thing for people to manipulate.

Henderson’s message (and that of the Church of the FSM) strikes a powerful chord with my sentiments on the issue, and I hope people will truly understand what the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster is all about: it’s about being unbiased and open-minded.

Although some may view the FSM religion as nothing more than a cheap shot aimed at dismantling mainstream creed in today’s world, it is actually the polar opposite of such a viewpoint. This church is a mechanism for people to be free-form in their religion, and to take it however they want.

Some Pastafarians see FSM as a way to break free of the fire and brimstone/hell or heaven ideologies which so many people fall into. Others take membership in this church as a medicine to keep them in line from being too judgmental or critical in their religious lives (yes, some Pastafarians are Christians). And for others, it’s a way to have fun by dressing up in a pirate costume and trying to (jokingly) convert others into believing in Pastafarianism.

But one of the best messages this church disseminates is this: no one religion is any more credible than another. When taking into consideration just how many different religions there are (and have been) on this planet throughout its lengthy history, who is to say, based solely on faith, that any one religion is superior to any other?