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The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster to perform weddings


Published: 29 December 2015 (GMT+10)
Michelangelo’s iconic The Creation of Adam painting has been satirised by the anti-creationist Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.


The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster is in the news again of late. The Australian chapter laments that they are falling behind progress in New Zealand, where the ‘church’ has recently been granted permission to perform weddings.1 Jeff Montgomery, New Zealand’s registrar-general of Births, Deaths and Marriages, has deemed that the group fulfil the requirement to “uphold or promote philosophical convictions” and can therefore nominate marriage celebrants.

They certainly do promote philosophical convictions. For those unfamiliar with this group, it began in Kansas in 2005 when a satirical letter was sent to the Kansas State Board of Education, protesting the teaching of intelligent design alongside the teaching of evolution.2 In the letter, Bobby Henderson poked fun at creationism, claiming that there was instead a Flying Spaghetti Monster (FSM) in the sky, changing the carbon dates of minerals with “His Noodly Appendage”. He also claimed that his belief was as valid as intelligent design.3 This basically puts a new twist on the old idea of ‘Russell’s teapot’, which states that the burden of proof for scientifically unfalsifiable claims lies on the one(s) making the claims.4

A movement has grown up around this idea, involving all sorts of lore and rituals. Also known as Pastafarians, the members claim that the undetectable FSM created the universe and that Bobby Henderson is his prophet. They wear colanders on their heads, claim that the original adherents were pirates and discuss supposed sightings of their ‘deity’.5 Their beliefs are unashamedly secular humanist. One of their ‘ordained ministers’ explained that the FSM does not discriminate on the basis of religion, sexual orientation—or even gluten intolerance!6

In the discussion however, there is a lack of distinction between creationism and intelligent design, presumably because this is not considered important. In their opinion, both rely on some kind of intelligence for the appearance of our universe, which goes against their humanistic worldview. The overriding principle appears to be that the universe was not made by any intelligent being to whom we might have to give account.

There is a certain amount of irony to the group’s claims. The implication is that both creationism and intelligent design are completely unscientific in their approaches, which is of course patently untrue. Although still a minority in the scientific community, there are significant numbers of highly qualified scientists who support creationist views. Numerous papers have been peer reviewed and published.7 In stark contrast, there appears to be only spurious, tongue-in-cheek support for the Flying Spaghetti Monster.8 In addition, the protests of the Pastafarians are aimed at keeping genuine scientific evidence of views that oppose evolutionary naturalism out of classrooms, thus reinforcing their view that there actually IS no evidence for them.

The biggest irony however is that this ‘church’ fails to see that evolution is scientifically unfalsifiable!9 The theory of evolution has changed significantly in the evidences used and the mechanisms proposed. The only claim that seems to remain constant is that evolution happened.

Any theory about an event that happened in the past simply cannot be proven scientifically. This highlights the differences between origins science and operational science. Origins science, including both creation and evolution, can only make inferences about happenings in the past from evidence at hand in the present.10 To be consistent and to ridicule all unfalsifiable positions equally, could I suggest that ‘church’ members also pose as monkeys wearing suits perhaps?

We should not be surprised that people wanting to live life on their own terms should be hostile towards Christianity. We are told in John 3:19 that people love darkness rather than light because their deeds are evil. Although a more light-hearted example, this is just one more case of people turning away from truth because it interferes with the way they want to live.

References and notes

  1. Lauder, S., Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster fights for recognition in Australia, abc.net.au, 18 December 2015. Return to text
  2. Langton, J., In the beginning there was the Flying Spaghetti Monster, telegraph.co.uk, 11 September 2005. Return to text
  3. Henderson, B., Open Letter to Kansas School Board, 7 April 2007. Return to text
  4. Russell, B., Is There A God? 1952, russell.mcmaster.ca. Return to text
  5. Vergano, D., ‘Spaghetti Monster’ is noodling around with faith, usatoday.com, 27 March 2006. Return to text
  6. Lauder, Ref. 1. Return to text
  7. Creation scientists and other specialists of interest; creation.com/creation-scientists. Return to text
  8. Henderson, B., The BBC has endorsed the Pastafarian universe-origin theory, venganza.org, 2 November 2015. Return to text
  9. Woetzel, D., Evolutionists retreating from the arena of science, 1 December 2009; creation.com/retreat. Return to text
  10. Batten, D., ‘It’s not science’, 18 September 2014; creation.com/notscience. Return to text

Helpful Resources

Readers’ comments

David B.
What's really sad is that so many mainline churches are no different underneath it all -- their clergy think that God is real only in the "Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus" sort of way.
[link deleted per feedback rules]
L. R.
I enjoy reading about the satirical FSM since in this overly politically correct world, our nation's Judeo-Christian founding principles are almost illegal to mention (in God We Trust etc). Christmas trees, manger scenes and menorah's are almost illegal unless we allow all religions or cults to display their symbols. I find it fascinating to be "pc", the courthouse in Crossville, TN did display the spaghetti monster on its grounds....Oye
vey, google it. [link deleted per feedback rules]!
Peter H.
@ Steve P.
I'm afraid I didn't find Dawkins' 'answer' humorous at all - I found it to be a complete red herring. He didn't even attempt to answer the question. After he considered for a while ('dead air' for about 20 seconds) he started talking - sounding very clever, of course - about something completely different, which I see as evidence that he had absolutely no evidence on which to base a sensible answer to a sensible question.

By the way, I have found two different versions of the interview on the Internet - one with the 'dead air' time chopped out and one keeping the long wait for him to answer the question. If anyone wants to hear and see it, it shouldn't be difficult to find.
Mike W.
The real irony of FSM-ism is that if you claim to believe in that religion, then you are no longer an atheist. At which point they say that it's only a joke. Well, if their argument is only a joke, then why should creationists take it seriously?
John Z.
There is a knowledge in everyone that there is a God (Romans 1:20). And those in the FSM movement show this when they ridicule God.

Why mock something if you're convinced it doesn't exist? Why do atheists go on diatribes against God (Christianity)? It's because atheists know there's a God, and this scares them.

Of course, denial is strong, and sadly, most people who mock God will live their lives outwardly professing atheism. Inwardly is another story, however.
Phillip C.
I can't believe these guys have been given permission to perform church weddings! Those Pastafarians, Christian Science dudes, and Scientologists sure know how to draw attention to themselves. Sometimes, I wish the law would come down hard on these people. I live near a Church of Scientology building, which serves as a constant reminder how influential these guys are. :(
Gian Carlo B.
The biggest irony of the Pastafarians is actually that their FSM is unfalsifiable and is not even scientific, heck there's even no evidence, as less as evolution. This idolatrous group have some guts to make themselves fools by making wild claims that creationist have no scientific support when their belief of this so called Spaghetti alien is not even provable nor is it even scientifically valid anyways.
Don Batten
But that is the whole point of their blasphemous parody; there is zilch evidence for their FSM (they would readily acknowledge); which of course they are saying is exactly the same as believing in the Creator of the Universe. But their very activities show that they are bothered by the real God, for which there is abundant evidence for those who are willing to see. They are in denial.
Steve P.
Had some trouble reading this one, not sure I comprehend it fully, that, or I disagree with it, perhaps I am not sure yet.

I believe this is the intended usage of "unfalsifiable" here:

Unfalsifiability - Logically Fallacious
Unfalsifiability. (also known as: untestibility) Description: Confidently asserting that a theory or hypothesis is true or false even though the theory or hypothesis cannot possibly be contradicted by an observation or the outcome of any physical experiment, usually without strong evidence or good reasons.

(As opposed to something that cannot be falsified).

However, creation.com has given us hundreds of examples and articles with strong evidence and good reason that show evolution is inherently falsifiable... As does scripture:

Romans 1:20 (NIV)

20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

Or, as was put to Dawkins:

"Can you give an example of one genetic or mutational process that would increase the information in the genome?"

While his response was humorous, it illustrates the larger scale problem, the lack of evidence contradicts the predicted outcome. Therefore, with Biblically accurate ease, evolution can be proven inadequate as a worldview, and therefore potentially false, by definition:

"Falsifiability or refutability of a statement, hypothesis, or theory is the inherent possibility that it can be proven false. A statement is called falsifiable if it is possible to conceive of an observation or an argument which negates the statement in question."

So, it would seem to me the problem with FSM is their failure to consider the falsifiability of a secular humanist world view.

Errol B.
Perhaps we should be lobbying governments to include taxpayer funded courses which teach the frog to prince fairytales as scientific fact in biology... oh wait, that’s already happened. Oh well, maybe we can lobby governments to include teachings which deny the 1st & 2nd Law of Thermodynamics, the well established scientific principle of Cause & Effect & perhaps do away with teaching Biogenesis?? Oh yeah, that’s right, nothing new under the sun.
Danny W.
The FSM used to bother me until it dawned on me that it really is a good representation of what they actually believe: that somehow lifeless goo miraculously became alive, developed intelligence and even the ability to fly!

(All in violation of the laws of chemistry and genetic entropy. Clearly a faith, though a disprovable one.)

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