It is always a shock to discover that the universe as you know it is a tissue of lies. When I was a beardless youth, my Mom told me Jorma Kaukonen never smoked pot, so I shouldn’t, either. How I reeled when informed some years later that not only did the nimble-fingered guitarrero of Jefferson Airplane smoke pot, he smoked it on two different occasions! So you can imagine the blow that fell when I discovered that my own brand of hope-tinted atheism (the gist of it is that although I don’t believe in a God, that doesn’t mean He shouldn’t cut me some slack once in a while) was founded on nothing more than something crumbly that you shouldn’t found things on, like sand. Gentle reader, be prepared: the Spaghetti Monster is coming. And He is coming from the sky.
For those of you unfamiliar with Pastafarianism, it is a new cult that has arisen around what was intended to be a witty counterargument to the establishment of a creationist program called ‘Intelligent Design’ to be taught in Kansas schools. Evolution, so the enlightened folks on the Kansas State Board of Education observed, was a completely unproven theory. There was no evidence whatsoever to suggest that the billons of years of paleontological evidence of the slow sorting-out process of biological change was in fact evidence of the slow sorting-out process of biological change, any more than it is evidence that the last supper was consumed at an Olive Garden franchise. This breadstick is my body, eat of it. Note how, even while groping for an analogy, my mind turned to Italian food. It turns out the reason we like it so much is because it is divine.
The prophet Bobby Henderson started the thing. Intelligent Design (ID) essentially states that the universe is far too cleverly designed to have ‘just happened’, as isolated cranks such as the world scientific community have insinuated. The entire ID concept falls apart the minute you try to drive across Boston and realize that even major urban centers can ‘just happen’ without a guiding hand, divine or otherwise. The simplest possible explanation of ID is as follows: take any scientific postulate you want, add “because God said so” at the end, and voila: bingo. Bobby Henderson sensed that there was a circular argument aborning, and he didn’t want state funds going to perpetuating the thing. So, in one of those flashes of wisdom that could only have been inspired by divine afflatus, he made a little drawing with a ball point pen.
The drawing, on a piece of lined notebook paper, shows a scribbled spaghetti monster flying through the sky, its flanks bulging with meatballs. There is a mountain with some trees below. At the foot of the mountain stands a midgit. Except for the spelling error, Mr. Henderson had invented a perfect religion with a single drawing. The Flying Spaghetti Monster (FSM) created the world, you see. That is what He is flying above. And any time you hear about how God created the universe? That’s because the FSM created God. So to the Intelligent Design scenario, right after “because God said so,” add “as directed by the Flying Spaghetti Monster”. To their credit, two members of the Kansas State School Board have promised to include Pastafarianism in their curriculum.
There are other benefits to joining this brand-new religion besides tweaking the beards of the holy bureaucratic Ted Kaczynski types in Kansas. It promises a stripper factory and a beer volcano in heaven, for example. And it stipulates that global warming is directly attributable to the decline in the number of pirates worldwide, which is why adherents will often be seen dressed as pirates, in an attempt to counter the trend. But most of all, if you’re a fan of the Internet (and who isn’t except the President of the United States), you should know that most of the really clever, interesting people that graduated from high school at age 10 and care about Open Source Code and invented blogs and so forth have already converted. Flying Pasta Monsterism is like Kabbalah or Scientology, except with way cooler adherents than Madonna or Tom Cruise.
But how did I come to believe this religion, which is really just a kind of plug-in module on all other religions? Exactly the same way everybody believes in a religion. It’s easy, once you know how, and the FSM showed me the way. Two words: just because. Just because what? Doesn’t matter. Choose a god you like the looks of, and move on bathed in His light. Or marinara.
BEN TRIPP is an independent filmmaker and all-around swine. His book, Square In The Nuts, may be purchased here, with other outlets to follow: http://www.lulu.com/Squareinthenuts. Swag is available as always from http://www.cafeshops/tarantulabros. And Mr. Tripp may be reached at email@example.com.