Religious discrimination — Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster Australia

This is the text of the submission the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster Australia submitted to the AGs Office in response to the Religious Discrimination Bill. Who we are We are a fast growing, but minority, religious group who believe in equality, freedom, safety and acceptance of everyone. We believe in celebrating the fact […]

via Religious discrimination — Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster Australia

I Had a Dream (then I woke up and wrote it down.)

The Flying Spaghetti Monster did appear to me, the sometimes modest, sometimes not, oracle and this is what was revealed to me.

 

I stood in a house of worship, many people were in attendance, celebrating their own gods. All faiths worshipped together in peace and harmony. We all lined up in front of the altar and moved in an orderly fashion to the side of said alter where a monk or friar of some kind, sat discretely at a small table and waited for the individual congregants. People were happy. and some talked quietly amongst themselves as they moved closer to the front. It was reminiscent of a communion service. The Pope of the Romans stood in front of me in the line. When he approached he took the wafer and cheap fortified wine of his faith. As my turn approached, I moved towards the small table and took some pieces of the wafer, which although seemingly just a wafer, took a while to consume. The monk looks at me and says, ‘blessed be’ and I respond, ‘Blessed be glob forever.’ After eating the wafer, I went directly to a cruet of oil, touching a finger on the surface of the oil I lifted my hand to my forehead and made the sign of a circle in the middle of my forehead. ‘May the sauce be with you.’ The monk said. ‘Blessed be glob forever’ I replied. ‘Ramen’

A Jewish woman stands in the place of meeting, she remembers the space when it was a different house of worship. ‘There was a Rembrandt here, a Monet there, so much useless stuff, now there are just a couple of small pictures to remind people of where they are.’ Against a wall there was a shrine of sorts, it was known as ‘the Shrine of the unknown god’ a monument to all the deities throughout human history that people had sought comfort or protection from and who were no longer venerated. It is a large circle, made from stone, like a portal in a cheap sci-fi movie. On the front is carved the symbols of every religion, it is for anyone of any faith to meditate on the nature of human religious experience and send a prayer to all the gods of human history. Kneeling in front of the shrine, a young woman lights incense.

After the communion with peoples chosen deity, all leave the house of worship for a celebratory meal. All are happy and at one with themselves and each other for all people now see and acknowledge a shared experience and humanity.

Then the cat known as Spawn of Satan, jumped on the bed and announced his presence and desire for sustenance,  and pressed my nose with his paw, perceiving said nose to be an on switch. Wishing my nose not to be bitten by S.O.S, I had no choice but to rise.

Was there to be more to this message of shared purpose and mutual respect from the FSM? I may have to power nap at some time today to seek that answer. Sleeping through the day? Never. I am communing with my deity.

Goodnight and Ramen.

ACCEPTANCE

Headwear at Twenty Paces.

Three-Cornered-HatThe issue of whether Pastafarianism has sects has often been discussed and will undoubtedly continue to be so. I have even seen it suggested that there are Twenty-one sects! I find this highly dubious and would love to see a break down of how many people adhere to the various sects. Never the less, there is a clear division amongst Pastafarian and to find it, one needs only to look as far as the mirror. What do you see on your head, a colander or a tricorn (pirate) hat? Maybe your dome is free to the elements? Are you nervous about wearing a piece of kitchenware on yer head but aren’t sure about the whole pirate thing? I hear you. I feel your pain. Read on and you may find some solace.

I think it is the wise person who hesitates. In all seriousness, this issue of headwear could one day be enough to create a division in followers of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, thus creating denominations or, if you prefer, sects within the Pastafarian movement. These things can happen when people loose site of their similarities and instead focus on the things that divide. Denominations within the Christian religions have occurred over much less. An example of this is the establishment of the Orthodox branch. They came into being over an irreconcilable difference of opinion over one word in a creed. Yes, that’s right ONE word. So, in a context like that, us Pastafarians must always endeavour to focus on the positive and/ or common ground, regardless of nationality, personality or faith background. You want to wear a colander? Wear one. You want to wear a tricorn? Wear one. If yer really smart you might be able to find a way to wear both at the same time! Is there, however, common ground in regards to headwear?

I have been meditating on this issue of colanders versus tricorns for a while now and I have come up with the following, all-inclusive model…

We wear the tricorn hat (which most people only seem to associate with pirates) in recognition of the role of Pastafarian pirates to human history. Remember we aren’t talking about nasty, vicious, ruthless pirates that still exist. (for more on pirates see the blog called ‘The Problem with Pirates.’) Pastafarian pirates were a kind of fusion between the chosen people of the FSM and the deity’s messengers. They were also the FSM’s first missionaries, spreading joy and good will wherever they went. Therefore, wearing the tricorn is a noble pursuit, as it reminds the wearer of the need to lead a life that is respectful of others. It is thus a symbol of our faith.

By now you may be thinking, ‘Right, tricorns it is!’ But before you head to the kitchen to chuck out your colander, you need to read on …

The colander is the true holy headwear. The FSM slid from the Holy Colander at the inception of creation. The earth itself seems to have been created from two upturned colanders, on which all was placed. The sky is one big colander. This becomes especially visible in the night time, when light shines through the holes in the colander. The light we can see in the night sky is the light coming through from heaven. As we look up at the night sky it is hard not to feel connected to the FSM. Wearing a colander connects the wearer directly to the deity. It is the Holy head wear and is like an ecclesiastical thinking cap and is thus the Pastafarian equivalent to a liturgical garment, such as a mitre (the kind of pointy hat worn by a bishop, archbishop and the pope, but not the sort of pointy hat worn by witches, wizards or the KKK) It is worn as a Holy garment for prayers, liturgies and observances on the Sabbath, for services and prayer meetings, or however else Pastafarians will choose to structure their observances of the FSM in the future.

Therefore, the tricorn can be seen as secular wear, worn as an observance of faith and witness to non believers, both as day ware and evening ware and the Colander as sacred, i.e. worn as a liturgical garment. If people choose to wear a colander at other times, or people prefer wearing a tricorn on the Sabbath observances, all is good. The world will not stop rotating, the FSM will not strike anyone down for wearing the ‘wrong’ hat. Does anyone really think our deity cares that much? Remember, this is a religion free of obligation, so wear what you like, how you like, just don’t be a jerk.

Ramen.hats v tricorn

“The FSM will not strike anyone down for wearing the ‘wrong’ hat.”

Ode to the FSM

The first to come into being in the earliest times, the Flying Spaghetti Monster, who came into being at the beginning, so that his mysterious nature is unknown. No god came into being before him; there was no other god with him, so that he might tell his form He had no mother, after whom his name might have been made. He had no father who had begotten him and who might have said: “This is I!” Built from his own egg and semolina a mysterious birth, who created his own beauty, the divine glob who came into being by himself All other gods came into being after he began himself.

Ramen.

fsm and earth

Pastafarianism as a Gateway Religion

CONSCIENCE1

When Alice went on her adventures, she firstly fell down a rabbit hole then subsequently went through a mirror. These were her gateways or portals to another dimension. When speaking about drug addiction, certain substances are referred to as ‘gateway drugs’ in so much as they can lead people onto taking heavier, stronger and potentially more harmful drugs. Pastafarianism can be seen as a gateway in reverse, weaning people from entrenched beliefs and cultural practices that can negatively impact on their freedom of choice and even free will.

The basic tenants of Pastafarianism are very simple, namely, be kind to others, respect other people’s beliefs and don’t be nasty. It’s really that simple. Most people couldn’t object to a manifest like that, yet find themselves shackled to the beliefs of their cultural background, with so much baggage the conveyor belt will be revolving for hours! These are the people who can benefit from a gateway religion, to help them transition to free thinking and free will. They will know they are seeing the light when they no longer feel guilt or remorse for leaving their old ways behind.

The Christian church tells people that they were created with free will, that is, the ability to choose to do the right thing or not. However, being a hierarchy, with a defined code of moral conduct, those very same people are constantly being told that most of the choices they make in their lives have come straight from the dark side of human nature, that is they say, ‘you are a sinner and need to ask for forgiveness.’ Furthermore, people are told that they were born in sin and from the time of their birth were already guilty of the primordial guilt that we all inherit as human beings. It becomes hard, if not impossible to win.

Pastafarianism doesn’t believe in stigmatic guilt. All are equal. All are welcome. If you don’t believe something anymore, don’t feel like you have to do it or say it. No one is going to make you stand up and recite a creed to prove you’re not a heretic and are in fact part of ‘the club’ Heck, you don’t even have to eat pasta, that’s how much we mean it. Beer volcano not to your liking? Don’t have one then. Clearly heaven will provide your  beverage of choice. However great this all sounds, it can scare people.

People grave freedom, they’ll go out on the streets and wave placards for it, both for themselves and others. Freedom of thought, freedom of assembly, freedom of religious expression. Yet often when people are given freedom they don’t know what to do with it. Being told what to do and what to think can be comforting and reassuring. Take those certainties away and people fear that they’ll do the wrong thing and make the wrong choices. Most people underestimate themselves and maybe over-estimate the intentions of those in the hierarchy making the decisions. I’m not suggesting anarchy here, anarchy takes much too much energy and I’m to be frank just too lazy for it, I’d rather sit down have a drink and eat some pasta.

Pastafarianism tells people, ‘do what you like, think what you like, pray what you like to whatever to like, just don’t be a jerk.’ Yet within that broad framework Pastafarianism offers community, which is the thing people really crave – support, community, respect and a sense of belonging. So don’t be afraid, you faith refugees or ‘Faith-u-gees’, the Flying Spaghetti Monster is waiting with open noodly appendages in welcome for you. All are welcome at this holy table.

Ramen.

CONSCIENCE2

Drink like an Egyptian!

FSM pyramid

We venerate the ancients for their contributions to civilisation. I don’t mean the usual things like writing, the wheel, technology and so on, but the really important things like beer and wine. Who discovered that ‘off’ grape juice could actually be a good thing is something that could be debated for ever probably, enough to drive anyone to drink. The Egyptians have long been regarded as the inventors of beer, yet the recent discovery of ancient distilling equipment in China has brought the timeline into question. Maybe the Flying Spaghetti Monsters divine revelation stretched over the known world simultaneously,  thus  avoiding potential future conflict and blog posts like this? In my heart of hearts, the Egyptians invented the Holy Beverage, they loved it so much it was what they were paid in. In fact they loved their beer and bread so much that they went on strike for it.

In 1170 BCE, labourers working on the tomb of Rameses 3 walked off the job over not receiving their rations of beer and flour. Ancient Egypt didn’t have a monetary currency but rather workers were paid in staples, such as beer and flour. The tomb workers hadn’t received their rations for several months and walked off the job. it’s unknown how long they were off the job before the Pharaoh relented. This was the first recorded strike in human history (and for the Holy beverage!)

To the ancient Egyptians, wine was a status symbol. Everyone drank beer, even children drank a watered down version (I guess it was safer than drinking water from the Nile?) However, wine was a scarce commodity in Egypt and most of it was imported from places like Greece. Even having a vineyard in Egypt was a status symbol, as it demonstrated that the owner was wealthy enough to be able to afford to set aside the land and staff for a labour intensive crop. It was most probably the Egyptians who came up with the idea of mixing white wine and red wine together thus making Rose. We recognise their bravery in walking off the job and their thrifty inventiveness in mixing different wines together. So …

Drink like an Egyptian, waste not a drop!

In Search of Feaster.

The miracle of Easter is that I still miss it. As a piece of drama, you really can’t go past it, it’s got it all, goodies, baddies, a dinner party, a betrayal, denial, you name it, it’s there. The story really starts ramping up the week before Easter on Palm Sunday, when J.C. rides triumphantly and humbly (not sure how you do both) on the back of a donkey. The true star of the story is the donkey. The donkey was at the manger, it carried Mary as the family fled to Egypt as Palestinian refugees fleeing persecution, and here it is again, carrying J.C on his final journey into Jerusalem, where we are told he knows what fate lies ahead for him.

The liturgy, or narrative of Holy Week builds over the week, in a similar way to the story, you have a procession on Palm Sunday, where people walk around with palm fronds and crosses made from palm leaves (a proportion of which are kept and burnt the next year to make the ashes for Ash Wednesday.) On Thursday Christians remember the betrayal of J.C for 30 silver coins, it is also the day of the ‘Last Supper” and the foot washing – a symbolic enactment of humility and how we should treat others. Now days there are Churches who have a Passover meal (sneaking in references to J.C naturally). Later in the church the Gospel is read and the sanctuary is stripped bare. This is symbolic of death and the empty tomb. The parishioners leave the church in darkness and silence. On Friday, the devoted worshiper is spoiled for choice, depending on how miserable one wants to feel, a popular choice is the Stations of the Cross, that retrace the steps of J.C. from Palm Sunday to the Resurrection on chocolate bunny Sunday. Turn your television on and you’ll see the ‘faithful’ doing this around sites in Jerusalem, I call them the’ Jesus farted here tours’ Not very wholesome of me I know.

There’s other stuff, involving gasoline and firelighters but I won’t go into that. I think you get the picture, there’s a lot going on. By the time Sunday comes around, you’ve eaten, fasted, paraded, maybe seen Passion Plays, read in the dark – you are so ready for chocolate and booze! But what I’ve come to learn is that liturgy is important, the role of ritual and tradition is for some reason important for the well being of humans, if it isn’t organized religion it will be something else, maybe the religion of football? Playing sport, being part of a team, involvement in a political party, an ideology, we seem to need that connection with something external to us. I see this as neither good nor bad, it’s just a thing.

So where does that leave Pastafarians and Feaster? It leaves some of us still filling in the gaps. I believe that over time people will create practices, prayers, litanies, fitted for Pastafarian observance. If people find them interesting, meditative or just plain fun, they’ll use them, if they don’t they won’t. Pastafarians are every variety of human imaginable, let’s not be nervous of one another’s practices going forward. It seems that some people are getting too dogmatic about not having dogma. We are a faith of no obligation, so do what feels right for you, with sensitivity to and acceptance of others. What is the sound of one hand clapping? It may well be the sound of a lone Pastafarian chanting Pastafarian psalms (Pastalms) to see if the words fit!

So, fellow Pastafari, embrace difference, it’s what makes us unique and the world less boring!

Ramen.

he is risen

The Perfection that is Pasta.

I have been known to meditate on the perfection that is a bowl of pasta. I usually refrain from disclosing this revelation on my inner workings as, it quite frankly sounds more than a little crazy, but, hey, crazy is as crazy does I guess. However, serious times require serious responses. On a recent shopping trip to the hell that is the local supermarket, I ran into some friends I hadn’t seen for a while, so we pulled over and had a chat. I saw in my friends, potential Pastafarian converts and I mentioned that I thought I had the perfect religion for them – ‘Pastafarianism.’ The reaction? ‘Pasta what?’ fair enough. Before I could edify her on the wonder that is the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster (blessed be Glob forever) she informed me that she hates pasta, can’t stand it even. I pointed out that she didn’t have to eat it, but to be frank I was so shocked at the idea that someone could hate the holy food that much that it left me quite speechless.

It had never occurred to me that someone could actually hate pasta, after all, what’s there to hate? Pasta itself doesn’t really taste of anything much. Like a pizza topping, there may be particular pasta dishes you don’t like, so just try a different sauce for example. I can’t help but to think that people who hate pasta simply haven’t had good pasta. Maybe it is the abomination that is tinned spaghetti that is responsible, or maybe this is a drawback of having a food-based deity? Whatever it is, it is an evil that Pastafarianism must stand up against and take head on!

Food has been closely connected with religion and ritual for a long time, possibly since a woman in a garden was tricked into eating a piece of fruit by a talking snake. Food is good. We like food, it doesn’t just feed our bodies but can feed our souls as well. The Japanese tea ceremony, the Eucharist and even birthday cake can come into this category – food that means more than the sum of its parts, food for ritual.

But back to pasta. I believe that pasta comes second only to bread as being the most widely consumed and widely used food in the world. It covers everything from instant noodles to lasagne, wontons to cannelloni. It’s flat, round, fat, thin, stuffed, sauced, served hot or cold in any form from a terrine to a dessert. It is one of the planets most versatile foods. So, for anyone to say that they hate pasta, it means they simply haven’t eaten enough of it. If the Flying Spaghetti Monster deity did not exist, we would have to make it up to give thanks for this wonder of human creativity that is pasta, in all it’s glorious forms!

Ramen!

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