Two dozen academics have endorsed the pasta god. Three members of the Kansas board who already opposed teaching intelligent design wrote kind letters to Mr. Henderson. Dozens of people have posted their sightings of the deity (along with some hilarious pictures). One woman even wrote in to say that she had "conceived the spirit of our Divine Lord," the Flying Spaghetti Monster, while eating alone at the Olive Garden.
The FSM punctures one of intelligent design's selling points, Henderson says. People who are uncomfortable with both creationism and science can see intelligent design as a more reasonable alternative. Design advocates leave that guiding force creator unnamed. In this way, Henderson says, intelligent design leaves itself open to any creator, even a bowl of pasta.
Henderson and his followers satirize creationism in often-tasteless japes, such as a claim that heaven has a stripper factory. The FSM gospel contains its own creation myth, guides to propagandizing the faith (including a step-by-step guide to building your own flying spaghetti monster out of pipe cleaners), some pseudoscientific "proofs" of the FSM's existence and many pasta puns.
To support his account, he added a crudely drawn picture of the deity "creating a mountain, trees and a midget" and, as an afterthought, posted the whole thing on his website. Barely three months later, Mr Henderson has discovered that he really has created a monster. His website - www.venganza.org - receives as many as two million hits a day. It has been featured on several widely read blogs, one of which is offering a $1 million (£545,000) prize for "proof" that the Flying Spaghetti Monster does not exist.
In perfect deadpan he wrote that although he agreed that science students should "hear multiple viewpoints" of how the universe came to be, he was worried that they would be hearing only one theory of intelligent design. After all, he noted, there are many such theories, including his own fervent belief that "the universe was created by a Flying Spaghetti Monster." He demanded equal time in the classroom and threatened a lawsuit.
Soon he was flooded with e-mail messages. Ninety-five percent of those who wrote to him, he said on his Web site, were "in favor of teaching Flying Spaghetti Monsterism in schools."
Also known as “the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster”, Pastafarianism was a parody of religion created in 2005 by Bobby Henderson in protest at the decision by the Kansas State Board of Education to require the teaching of intelligent design as an alternative to evolution in the state’s public schools.
By design, the only dogma allowed in the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster is the rejection of dogma. That is, there are no strict rules and regulations, there are no rote rituals and prayers and other nonsense. Every member has a say in what this church is and what it becomes.
To outsiders it makes us hard to define, but here are some general things that can be said about our beliefs:
We believe pirates, the original Pastafarians, were peaceful explorers and it was due to Christian misinformation that they have an image of outcast criminals today
We are fond of beer
Every Friday is a Religious Holiday
We do not take ourselves too seriously
We embrace contradictions (though in that we are hardly unique)
Further, Pastafarianism asserts that Global Warming, Earthquakes, Hurricanes and other Disastrous Events are a clear consequence of the decline in the number of pirates since the 1800s. Prayers are ended with “RAmen” instead of “Amen”; it also angers the Flying Spaghetti Monster if one teaches about Him without wearing pirate regalia.
Pastafarianism is the belief that the universe, as we know it, was created by the Flying Spaghetti Monster some 500 years ago. He, in His wisdom — and more so His choice — left behind fossils and other historical artifacts merely to confuse us. The Flying Spaghetti Monster is invisible and undetectable, and He intentionally planted any and all evidence of Evolution by Natural Selection.
Joke religions are nothing new, of course. The "Church of the Sub-Genius" has mocked campus cults since the 1980s. More than 70,000 Australians declared themselves "Jedi" in their 2001 census.