Bishop Bobby Henderson FSM
With an eccentric deity and a gospel full of pasta puns, religious parodies, and pseudo-science, Bobby Henderson’s Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster is one of the most amusing and fastest growing movements to oppose the teaching of Intellectual Design or Creationism as alternative to the Darwinian Evolution theory in American public schools.
The United States is one of the most religious countries in the world. As such, it has long been the seat of debates between science and religion, including the issue of teaching creationism alongside evolution theories in classrooms. The introduction of Intelligent Design as a scientific theory prompted a lot of reaction, not only from the scientific community but also from organizations and private individuals as well.
In 2005, the Kansas State Board of Education sparked another debate when it considered teaching both evolution and creationism in Kansas public high schools. It was met with opposition from people who believed that the theory lacks scientific reasoning. The opposition included Bobby Henderson who sent the board a singular letter which discussed an amusing and satirical belief that the earth is created by a spaghetti and meatballs deity known as the Flying Spaghetti Monster.
Bobby Henderson was then just a twenty-something Physics graduate from the Ohio State University. Today, however, he is widely known as the author of the Gospel of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster and the founder of Pastafarianism.
What Is Pastafarianism?
Pastafarianism, otherwise known as the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, is a parody religion that satirizes Intelligent Design’s lack of scientific evidences despite its claims. Bobby Henderson’s Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster claims that the world is created by a spaghetti and meatball deity. The Flying Spaghetti Monster is the Supreme Being and the only true Creator of the Universe. Nobody has really seen the spaghetti monster, but Henderson states that faith enables Pastafarians to believe in His Noodly Goodness. In his letter to the Board of Education, Bobby Henderson asserted that the Spaghetti Monster is true and the beliefs of the religion are valid and based on scientific evidences. Therefore, it deserves to be taught in public schools as well.
Bobby Henderson likewise posted the letter on his website where it attracted attention and went viral. It got featured in various websites, blogs, even the news. The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster received a lot of favorable response from the public that numerous publishing companies urged Bobby Henderson to pen the Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster- that much he did in 2006. The book about the Flying Spaghetti Monster was published by Villard Books in March 2006.
Bobby Henderson’s flying spaghetti monster became the symbol for opposition against the inclusion of Intelligent Design in science courses. With the support of scientific communities, the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster played an important role in dropping Intellectual Design teachings in Polk County, Florida in 2007.
The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster made a great impact by adding humor to their already outrageous and eccentric concepts. Their principles and assertions made people listen and think through things, even though they find the whole spaghetti monster thing too incredible in the beginning. By using these outrageous claims to support and follow the reasoning of intelligent design, Bobby Henderson and the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster has ironically drawn attention to the flaws and loopholes of the said theory.
The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster is somehow akin to the Flat Earth Society in terms of using humor, pseudo-scientific evidences, and irony to challenge scientific concepts in favor of religion. For instance, both Bobby Henderson’s Flying Spaghetti Monster and Flat Earth Society movements used straightforward manners of conducting experiment and interpreting data to prove their points. However, the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster- with Bobby Henderson’s distinctive manner of treating its absurd deity and witty parodies with the utmost seriousness like they were the most logical and normal thing on earth-makes Pastafarianism stick out more and hang around longer than other groups.
Bobby Henderson’s The Gospel of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster
The Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster contains a creation myth, a set of commandments, several “proofs” and other instructions for cooking pasta, worshipping the Spaghetti Monster, and living the true Pastafarian way.
Pastafarianism believes in the Flying Spaghetti Monster, the Creator and the ultimate truth of the universe. The Spaghetti Monster is invisible, but His presence touches believers with His Noodly Appendages. Moreover, the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster believes that the Spaghetti Monster is too beautiful for mortals, and that seeing His face will cause death to the beholder. Even saying the Great Flying Spaghetti Monster’s true name can lead to death to the speaker. This is the reason why His Noodly Goodness had a lot of names.
The Spaghetti Monster created the earth and everything else from His overflowing knowledge and powers. His first creations were the mountains, the trees, and a small human being called the midget. He then spent three days in creating the rest of the universe. He also created a wife for the midget and put them in the Olive Garden of Eden, where they lived contentedly until the Spaghetti Monster accidentally caused a great flood while cooking.
The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, Pirates, and Evolution
The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster does not believe in Darwinism, nor do they believe that the earth is billions of years old. According to the Gospel of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, the earth was created only around 5000 years ago. The fossil evidences and radiocarbon dating findings were all planted and manipulated by the Spaghetti Monster to confuse scientists. With the earth having been created only thousands of years ago, the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster asserts that the million-year timeframe for evolution is simply impossible.
The pirates were very important to the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. According to Bobby Henderson, these pirates were the first followers of the spaghetti monster. He further made clear that the original pirates were lovely human beings who loved adventures and giving away candies to children, but their reputations were destroyed by made up stories of theft and violence.
According to Bobby Henderson, the pirates were also the ancestors of modern man. The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster believes that all men came from pirates, not primates. This is proven by the fact that we share only 95% of our DNA makeup with primates compared to the 99.9% match with pirates.
Bobby Henderson also presented a graph which he says proves the correlation between global warming and the decrease in the number of pirates. He points out that the number of global warming and natural disaster cases increased when the number of pirates decreased. He also mentions the association of pirate activities and low carbon emission in Somalia.
The Spaghetti Monster’s “I Really Rather You Didn’ts”
The Flying Spaghetti Monster gave Captain Mosey the stone slabs containing the “Ten Condiments” in Mt. Salsa. However, the Pirate Captain dropped two of slabs on his way down, leaving only eight I’d Really Rather You Didn’ts” that we know now. These commandments are the ultimate guide in living how a true follower of the Spaghetti Monster should live. They address issues of everyday behavior, sexuality, and dealing with people who don’t believe in the Spaghetti Monster. Bobby Henderson used these commandments to summarize his criticisms of extreme and closed minded religiosity.