Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster

The "Flying Spaghetti Monster" was first described in a satirical open letter written by Bobby Henderson in 2005 to protest the Kansas State Board of Education decision to permit teaching intelligent design as an alternative to evolution in public school science classes . By now the Church of the FSM is widely considered a legitimate religion, even by its opponents – We believe religion – say Christianity, Islam, Pastafarianiasm – does not require literal belief in order to provide spiritual enlightenment.

Some claim that the church is purely a thought experiment or satire, illustrating that Intelligent Design is not science, just a pseudoscience manufactured by Christians to push Creationism into public schools. These people are mistaken — The Church of FSM is legit, and backed by hard science. Anything that comes across as humor or satire is purely coincidental.

There’s no official count of Church membership in Europe (or anywhere else), but “Pastafarian” Facebook pages from countries across the Continent have accumulated thousands of likes while, country by country, FSM members have waged and even won legal battles for the privileges enjoyed by other religions. Along the way, something funny has happened to a movement founded in large part to critique organized religion: It’s gotten organized, and has taken on both the trappings and some of the social functions of a real religion.

Although “the only dogma allowed in the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster is the rejection of dogma”, some general beliefs are held by Pastafarians. Pastafarians believe that the universe was created by the FSM while very drunk, the effects of which can be seen in the resulting imperfections and contradictions in the universe.

“It’s not a joke. Elements of our religion are sometimes described as satire and there are many members who do not literally believe our scripture, but this isn’t unusual in religion. A lot of Christians don’t believe the Bible is literally true – but that doesn’t mean they aren’t True Christians.” Bobby Henderson

FSM’s big idea, in Russia as in Kansas, is that “nothing is inherently sacred; it’s sacred by virtue of the fact that people agree that it’s sacred,” says Douglas Cowan, a religious-studies professor at Renison University College, in Canada. As if to underscore the point, the Church may be the only one in the world with a God-back guarantee: If you’re not satisfied, Henderson has pointed out, “your old religion will most likely take you back.”