FSMism For the True Believer

imageYou 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:

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Time to Shelve the Ten Commandments

MosesJust yesterday I got in an argument with a neighbor who insisted that the only laws we really need are enumerated in the Ten Commandments. Being somewhat versed in this artifact of primitive culture, I foolishly pointed out that the first four items simply emphasized the need to adhere to a jealous god. And then, in the best Abbott and Costello fashion, my neighbor said, “Of course.” Damn! Here I was a highly educated critical thinker trying to convince a neighbor here in South Carolina than there were many problems with her understanding of her religion.

I proceeded to point out a few of the questionable, inaccurate, or inconsistent passages in the Bible (yes, I have read it more than once and studied it at the university) only to be told that despite the entire Bible being written under the divine guidance of God, the questionable passages were the work of men who had other agendas and that any discrepancies or inconsistencies were easily answered by having Faith.

I must have been foolish and resorted to a friendly Goodbye as she left to go back to what I imagined was a Holy Shrine in one corner of her bedroom.

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Did Jesus Ever Exist?

JesusWe have discussed the veracity of the stories contained in the Gospels and even the possibility that Jesus was a real person, but according to an article on Alternet, Valerie Tarico writes that a growing number of scholars are openly or actively arguing against Jesus’ historicity. The article, reprinted at Salon is titled

5 good reasons to think Jesus never existed

Most antiquities scholars think that the New Testament gospels are “mythologized history.” In other words, they think that around the start of the first century a controversial Jewish rabbi named Yeshua ben Yosef gathered a following and his life and teachings provided the seed that grew into Christianity.

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