Pastafarianism gets academic attention

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M. Spector M. Spector's picture
Pastafarianism gets academic attention


M. Spector M. Spector's picture


When some of the world's leading religious scholars gather in San Diego this weekend, pasta will be on the intellectual menu. They'll be talking about a satirical pseudo-deity called the Flying Spaghetti Monster, whose growing pop culture fame gets laughs but also raises serious questions about the essence of religion....

Meanwhile, Flying Spaghetti Monsterism (FSM-ism to its "adherents") has thrived - particularly on college campuses and in Europe. [url=]Henderson's Web site[/url] has become a kind of cyber-watercooler for opponents of intelligent design....

His Web site tracks meetings of FSM clubs (members dress up as pirates) and sells trinkets and bumper stickers. "Pastafarians" - as followers call themselves - can also download computer screen-savers and wallpaper (one says: "WWFSMD?") and can sample photographs that show "visions" of the divinity himself. In one, the image of the carbohydrate creator is seen in a gnarl of dug-up tree roots.

It was the emergence of this community that attracted the attention of three young scholars at the University of Florida who study religion in popular culture. They got to talking, and eventually managed to get a panel on FSM-ism on the agenda at one of the field's most prestigious gatherings.

The title: "Evolutionary Controversy and a Side of Pasta: The Flying Spaghetti Monster and the Subversive Function of Religious Parody."

The presenters' titles seem almost a parody themselves of academic jargon. Snyder will speak about "Holy Pasta and Authentic Sauce: The Flying Spaghetti Monster's Messy Implications for Theorizing Religion," while Gavin Van Horn's presentation is titled "Noodling around with Religion: Carnival Play, Monstrous Humor, and the Noodly Master."

Using a framework developed by literary critic Mikhail Bakhtin, Van Horn promises in his abstract to explore how, "in a carnivalesque fashion, the Flying Spaghetti Monster elevates the low (the bodily, the material, the inorganic) to bring down the high (the sacred, the religiously dogmatic, the culturally authoritative)."

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.

He recognized the point when his neighbor, a militant atheist who sports a pro-Darwin bumper sticker on her car, tried recently to start her car on a dying battery.

As she turned the key, she murmured under her breath: "Come on Spaghetti Monster!"


TemporalHominid TemporalHominid's picture

Yargh! I be in Fiddler's Green.

Jerry West

Thanks for this, MS, I ran into Pastafarianism some time back and now list it occasionally as my religious choice whenever a questionnaire asks about religion. [img]smile.gif" border="0[/img]

On another note, from the satire section of The Record, here is a recent entry:


....You will be pleased to know that two of our cousins from Alabama dropped by the chicken ranch the other day. Billy Bob and Daisy Mae Zorq. Billy Bob has just received his ordination from the Oral Monica Institute of Theology (OMIT) and is now a full fledged pastor in the Pastryite faith. He hopes that soon he will have his own radio program and later be able to expand his evangelistic endeavours.

Pastryites believe that the spirit of the world resides in pastry and that omnipotent being of the universe is the Great Pie In The Sky, usually referred to as the GPS. The Pastryite creed can be summed up by: Work and pray, live on hay, You'll get pie in the sky when you die.

A schismatic group known as the Donut Dunkers hold that the donut, not pie, is the superior pastry. This group is heavily populated with police officers.


On yet another note this recent article in The Nation may be of interest:


....Evolutionary biologists respond that hiring a biologist who doesn't accept evolution is like hiring a mathematician who doesn't accept multiplication.

[url=]Link to article[/url]


Audra Williams: [url=]SIT DOWN, “PASTAFARIANS”.[/url]