You may have heard that a resident of one of the fine establishments for convicted criminals in Nebraska has had his religious freedom abridged by a U.S. District judge who ruled that Pastafarianism (also known as, and referred to in court documents, as FSMism) does not qualify for Constitutional protection.
In making his ruling, John Gerrard provided an excellent summary of Pastafarianism for the unfamiliar:
FSMism is a riposte to intelligent design that began with a letter to the Kansas State Board of Education when it was considering intelligent design. See, Bobby Henderson, The Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster 111-13 (2006) (FSM Gospel). The primary criticism of intelligent design—and the basis for excluding it from school science classes—is that although it purports to be “scientific,” it is actually “an interesting theological argument” but “not science.”
The article in Atlas Obscura continues:
The conceit of FSMism is that, because intelligent design does not identify the designer, its “master intellect” could just as easily be a “Flying Spaghetti Monster” as any Judeo-Christian deity—and, in fact, that there is as much scientific evidence for a Flying Spaghetti Monster as any other creator. See FSM Gospel at 3-4. 1 As the FSM Gospel explains, “[w]e are entering into an exciting time, when no longer will science be limited to natural explanations. . . . Propelled by popular opinion and local government, science is quickly becoming receptive to all logical theories, natural and supernatural alike.”
Based on this history, prison officials—and later, the court—not unreasonably determined that Pastafarianism is more satire than religion, and denied Cavanaugh such religious practices as wearing a pirate costume instead of his prison jumpsuit. But this particular cut-and-dry case belies Pastafarianism’s status worldwide.
I wonder if Christianity didn’t start out as a satire much like The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster? Imagine a group of ne’er-do-wells giggling in the ivied halls of the Aleppo College of Mud and Dung about how it was much funnier to add the Holy Ghost to Father and Son lest it sounded too much like a cross-country moving van company.
Perhaps this will help: