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Is the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster a religion? 

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lcowan6 | Student, Undergraduate | Salutatorian

Posted November 24, 2012 at 3:24 PM via web

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Is the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster a religion? 

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted November 24, 2012 at 3:45 PM (Answer #1)

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This is an interesting topic.  In the strictest and most direct form of an answer, no.  The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster is not a religion.  It arose out of a letter from a college student. Bobby Henderson, in May 2005 to the Kansas Board of Education.  At the time, the board was moving towards enacting legislation which would teach the theory of Intelligent Design alongside evolutionary thought.  The letter brought out the idea that the notion of "intelligent design" presumes that a Christian form of such design would be advocated.  To this, Henderson makes his case that multiple visions of intelligent design should be advocated, including the case for the Flying Spaghetti Monster:

I am concerned, however, that students will only hear one theory of Intelligent Design.  Let us remember that there are multiple theories of Intelligent Design. I and many others around the world are of the strong belief that the universe was created by a Flying Spaghetti Monster. It was He who created all that we see and all that we feel. We feel strongly that the overwhelming scientific evidence pointing towards evolutionary processes is nothing but a coincidence, put in place by Him.

The statement in the letter was that those advocating intelligent design should not automatically shift the burden of proof onto those advocating science and evolutionary thought.  Rather, the burden of proof should be on those advocating intelligent design as a competing narrative, proving to be just as valid as the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

The "religion" of the Flying Spaghetti Monster is not a religion, per se.  The followers of this religion, Pastafarianism, claim to reject dogma:  "By design, the only dogma allowed in the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster is the rejection of dogma."  In this, one can see how the religion of Pastafarianism seeks to raise questions about the elevation of religion in public discourse and its insertion into public realms such as education.  Through such a religious queries, members of Pastafarianism have been able to spark debate about "religion in the public square" and prompt debate about the topic whether there should be a public reach of religion in the first place.

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