We have written about our friends at The Church of The Flying Spaghetti Monster, and the fact that “pastafarians” help keep our country religiously free.
While some consider this “church” an irreligious affront to the world’s faiths, in reality it is an excellent yardstick by which we can measure religious tolerance.
The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster (COFSM) may seem a rogue mockery of all things sacred, but COFSM is the result of a funny fiction work that morphed into a reality and a way of believing — for the sole reason that people wanted it to be real. In 2006, Bobby Henderson wrote a funny book, The Gospel of The Flying Spaghetti Monster. Scientific American gave it this review:
An elaborate spoof on Intelligent Design, The Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster is neither too elaborate nor too spoofy to succeed in nailing the fallacies of ID. It’s even wackier than Jonathan Swift’s suggestion that the Irish eat their children as a way to keep them from being a burden, and it may offend just as many people, but Henderson, described elsewhere as a 25-year-old “out-of-work physics major,” puts satire to the same serious use that Swift did. Oh, yes, it is very funny.
With no hoops to jump through to join, today they claim to have “millions if not thousands” of members.
We have interviewed our friend Oliver Benjamin and written about our cool friends in Dudeism who rally around the overarching messages in the movie The Big Lebowski. Their relaxed Dudeist way of life is an inspiration to many and a welcome relief to stressed out masses everywhere.
But just what is an invented religion? What if the author of a funny story or film was just having fun writing a story or screenplay and had no intention of starting a whole religious following? Do ideas sometimes get launched as simply fun and then take on lives of their own? Should we be careful about what we write for fear we will have millions of worshipers to manage?
Should we take invented religions seriously? Should we feel threatened by them? Do they undermine the validity of our own faiths that we consider to be authentically endorsed by God? Are there commonalities between “invented religions”? Do they pose any harm? What happens when they start to gain momentum, money and power? Would people fight and lay their lives down for them? Are all religions, to some degree, invented by people? Do we find ways of believing what we want to believe? What should we know about L.Ron Hubbard and Joseph Smith?
If you would like answers to some of these big questions and if you can set aside 25 minutes to listen to Professor Carole Cusack discuss the role of invented religions for a Religious Studies Project (in association with the British Association for the Study of Religions,) in about a half hour you will have a whole new appreciation for them:
Tagged church of the flying spaghetti monster, cofsm, Dudeism, Dudely Lama interview, how to start a religion, Modern Religion, new religions, oliver benjamin dudeism, professor carole cusack, professor carole cusack lecture, religious humor, religious satire, religious spoofs
“Controversial, challenging, and meticulously researched, Eliza Wood’s Crisis of Faith is equal parts thriller and cautionary tale of religious extremism and home-grown terrorism, questioning where we are going as a nation and as a planet.”
‒ James Rollins
—New York Times bestselling author of Bloodline
The Tale of Queen Jehan And The Three Kingdoms is a beautifully illustrated children’s book that teaches racial, ethnic and religious cooperation through metaphor.
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