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Proposed: That We’d Just Be Better Off If We Forgot About That Flying Spaghetti Monster Stuff

Move over, Noodliness.

Move over, Your Noodliness.

I floated this post idea on Twitter and everyone told me to write it, so if this goes badly, I think I can just blame it on them, right? That’s how it works?

It’s not that the original Flying Spaghetti Monster wasn’t a useful allegory–in fact, it was a hilarious allegory with enough snark to give us atheists years of rib-elbowing and behind-hand snickering. It’s just that now, it’s become part of the dialect, if you will. OMFSM. Pastafarians. Whatever this was.

And I think, as this movement focuses more on social justice, as we combine feminism with atheism…or even if you’ve just wondered how to have more women in your group…we need to take a look at things like this:
[Excerpted from The Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster]

We’d like to tell you all about our Heaven, which features a Stripper Factory and a giant Beer Volcano.

[....]

Q: If there’s a Beer Volcano and a Stripper Factory in Heaven, what’s FSM Hell like?

A: We’re not entirely certain, but we imagine it’s similar to FSM Heaven, only the beer is stale and the strippers have venereal diseases. Not unlike Las Vegas.

*goggles*

Sorry, one of the big in-jokes in atheism has a stripper factory? A factory? Like the sort where inanimate objects are made? And simultaneously, we’re looking about for reasons women are less likely to be atheists than men?

Oh, there’s male strippers too:

Q: Are there male strippers in FSM Heaven for women?
A: Probably, but they are invisible to the non-homo guys.

Cuz it wouldn’t be heaven if straight men had to see nearly-naked dudes!

Antarctica, the cursed, is the continent that is the Pastafarian equivalent to Christianity’s Hell. The Beer Volcano froze over millennia ago, the strippers wear big bulky parkas and snow pants, and the place is covered in ice and snow.

Yeah, the real problem is when strippers cover up. That’s hell. </sarcasm>

I’d like to argue that this is not, perhaps, the face we want to put on our message. We do not want the intrepid high school google-er, sitting at her computer when her parents are out, trying to find out more about her unbelief and why there keep being pasta jokes and coming upon….Stripper Factory.

Oh, but you say, it’s just become part of what we do. It’s offhand! Most people don’t even know the whole thing about the Kansas School Board and the book and most of the people who do know about the book haven’t read it–and—–

Really?

Have you recently told a Christian they can’t just pick and choose the gay friendly parts of the bible, or giggled along as a Family Values Politician divorced–what does his bible have to say about that? Did you let them get away with pleading ignorance, or that it was the main message that was important? But you want me to ignore the strippers, because the important part is about teaching science in school?

I think not.

 

.

 

Comments

  1. says

    Haha, well I certainly wasn’t expecting the post to focus on this – but I’m glad it did! I’d completely forgotten about those “aspects” of FSM stuff, probably because I never really paid much attention to it.

    My main concern about the FSM (apart from what you just highlighted) is that’s just a little bit… annoying. And smug. I dunno, I have a bad react to smugness. I might be allergic.

  2. Kate Donovan says

    No, I agree! It’s just that it’s harder to say “You’re being smug!” without the comments turning into “nuh unh!” “uh hunh!”. And smug is hard to define.

  3. sarahmoglia says

    I figured you’d focus on how it’s mean to mock beliefs, and I was prepared to disagree with you, but I like the FSM…but damn, you’re totally right. I had vaguely forgotten about that part. You’re good.

  4. says

    Thank you! I wasn’t even aware of the sexism and homophobia, but for years now I’ve thought the whole “noodly appendage” thing was tired and worn out. Yes, it has a point, but it’s like “Where’s the beef” or “WHAZZZZZAP?!?!” never went away.

  5. Woo_Monster, Sniffer of Starfarts says

    Thanks for reminding me that this is in the FSM bible, or whatever it is called. It really disappoints me that 1) this bullshit is there in the first place and 2) I have had a picture of the Noodley One up in my room for years.

    I guess I will just take the picture out and leave the frame up, if people ask I will tell them it is a portrait of my new god. I have now converted to the church of the Invisible Pink Unicorn.

  6. The Mellow Monkey says

    Yikes. Yeah, that makes me rather cautious about making casual references to the FSM if it’s going to lead to those associations. Stripper factory? Ugh.

    Thanks for writing this, Kate!

  7. jackal says

    Yeah, the sexist objectification bothered me too. That’s why I dumped the FSM in favor of the Invisible Pink Unicorn. Wholly invisible and wholly pink, may Her holy hooves never be shod.

  8. Kate Donovan says

    Yeah, I’ve really only ever heard good things about the Invisible Pink Unicorn trope. (of course, by saying this, someone is going to come along and puncture my good feelings :P )

  9. Kate Donovan says

    Yeah! The author is the same as the author of the original letter to the Kansas School Board.

  10. coragyps says

    Pastafarianism? Heresy.

    We had a beautiful pink sunrise this morning, with no trace whatever of Unicornish shapes in the clouds. Proof positive of the IPU’s (PBUHHH) continued presence, and her not-giving-a-shit-about-us-ness! Hallelooyah!

  11. carlie says

    I hadn’t never noticed those parts, but when I first read them, I was not nearly as capable of noticing casual sexism. That’s a big mark of how far I’ve come in that in the last few years, that I’m completely with you on this now but hadn’t even thought it was a problem when it first came out.

  12. says

    I’ve always hated it because it seemed so juvenile.* Juvenile and sexist? Even more reason for people to quit the “joke”.

    *For the record, I also find the whole baby-eating thing to be juvenile too. One can really tell that much of the atheo-sceptic culture was originally concocted by young, unsophisticated, often sexist men.

  13. Nentuaby says

    Oh, YES PLEASE. I was “wired in” enough at the time to actually see the Gospel of the FSM when it was disseminated, and it’s been grinding my teeth ever since that something involving the f’ing “Stripper Factory” has been a major part of our culture.

  14. ildi says

    Delicious irony that I didn’t know that was in there, much like many Christians don’t know what’s in their Bible…

  15. says

    I never really got into FSM — though I do get amused by the sign at what’s about to be the old South Street Seaport for Fulton Street Market — but (probably not unrelatedly) I didn’t know it was a whole thing, let alone a sexist and homophobic thing.

    Like ildi, I wonder how many adherents of real religions have the same reaction, though: “theological leaders of my faith say that‽”

  16. says

    Russell’s teapot made the same point without this sort of thing. So, while we probably won’t forget about it, replacing it is not exactly unprecedented.

  17. cubist says

    One could argue that since the FSM is a parody of religion, and misogyny is a strong thread running through many forms of religion, FSM should include misogynistic bits, as long as FSM parodies said misogynistic bits as much as it does everything else in religion.
    One could also argue that a truly effective parody takes the target’s peculiarities and turns ‘em up one more notch, using exaggeration to throw a harsh spotlight on said peculiarities, and the “Stripper Factory” schtick… really isn’t all that much of an exaggeration of religious misogyny (see also: Islam’s “72 virgins” schtick, among other things).
    And there’s also the notion that Splash Damage is a thing to be avoided.
    So… I think besomyka’s onto something. One aspect of religion which the FSM doesn’t make fun of, is the tendency for relgiion’s “eternal, unchanging Scriptures” to, er, shift and change with the times. For instance, there’s the “new light” doctrine of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, and the Mormon church’s flip-flopping on whether or not black people are fully human, and yada yada yada. Why, then, can’t FSM doctrine mutate in some appropriately silly manner, to better match up with contemporary moral sensibilities?
    These days, you don’t see a lot of Xtians citing Scripture in support of the proposition that Slavery Is AOK—even though there were lots of Xtians who did exactly and precisely that back in the 19th Century. The culture changed with respect to slavery, and Xtianity changed with it; similarly, I think it would make perfect sense for Pastafarianism to change with respect to sexism/misogyny. And if this change helps the FSM to skewer religion just that little bit more effectively, I say it’s a win/win situation.

  18. mcbender says

    Wow. Put me down as another person who never knew that was in there – I will definitely be divorcing myself from this meme, or at least being much more careful in how I use it (I remember the original letter to the Kansas City school board and still think fondly of it, although I don’t think that was entirely free of problematic elements either). Thank you for pointing this out!

    Among other things, I am now extremely uncomfortable with the fact that I used to include a few jokes about the FSM in my slides when teaching about finite state machines (also FSMs) in a computer engineering course. I will certainly not be doing that any more! The culture in such fields doesn’t need any further infusion of misogyny, and I wish I had not inadvertently contributed to it in such a way.

  19. jerrybarrington says

    Here’s the problem: If, by some miracle, you got the more organized atheists to give up the FSM jokes, there are way *more* people who aren’t part of the movement who just like the joke. They don’t *care* whether you get more women in the movement. By all means, encourage the movement to be more open to women. Just realize that the FSM jokes won’t go away.

  20. YYZatcboy says

    (quote) One could argue that since the FSM is a parody of religion, and misogyny is a strong thread running through many forms of religion, FSM should include misogynistic bits, as long as FSM parodies said misogynistic bits as much as it does everything else in religion… I think it would make perfect sense for Pastafarianism to change with respect to sexism/misogyny. And if this change helps the FSM to skewer religion just that little bit more effectively, I say it’s a win/win situation. (/quote) You know what, this sounds like a totally awesome writing challenge. I accept. may never make it public but it would be fun to work on (something to do). Thanks for the idea!

  21. sumdum says

    I never read the FSM bible, didn’t know that was in there. I never used the meme anyway, my country is secular enough, compared to the USA, I never have to hide my atheism or use a parody to make a point. If someone asks (but they rarely do, people here are generally apathetic about religion) I’m just direct and say I’m atheist.

  22. Forbidden Snowflake says

    The argument that Pastafarian sexism is ironic exaggeration of Abrahamic sexism is undermined by the fact that the Pastafarian commandments actually seem like an honest attempt to represent progressive values rather than ironic exaggeration of the Biblical commandments. So I can’t really buy this line of apologetics.

  23. thetarr says

    You snowflakes at FfTB have no sense of humour. Trying to redefine and suck the fun out of anything you talentless hacks couldn’t think of first.

  24. CT Chimako.27 says

    Did not know that was there. It could be seen as a tasteless parody of other religions rather than something sinister. However, I don’t like it. Which is a problem because the fastest way to find my peeps without coming out and losing my job here in Southernstan USA is to use this symbol. :: sigh :: just imagine me making this face :-/ Maybe the teapot will get the same response? I dunno. I love the idea of the Invisible Pink Unicorn (see avatar) but that’s just not as well known as the FSM.

  25. grignon says

    Your first paragraph suggest you were hesitant about writing this piece. I think you should trust your instincts more than your Twitter encouragers.
    Pointing out that a satirical construct, expanded mostly as a platform for punning, is a poor model for actual behavior/belief is unnecessary for all but the most obtuse. All you’ve done here is give legs to a meme that has none. This is probably the first reference to FSM I’ve seen in the last 6 months of skeptic/atheist surfing. It’s also the first mention I’ve seen of a “gospel”. I was surprised to see the FSM heaven bears a strong resemblance to the Muslim version.

  26. Kate Donovan says

    I think you both missed my point and my sarcasm. You haven’t seen the fsm? Scroll up, another commenter is using it. EvolveFish sells it. Hey, that’s two!

    My point was not that it’s a poor model for religion, it’s that when we don’t examine our in-jokes, we can end up perpetuating things we don’t want. I’m quite flattered that you think my blog post can give lets to an entire meme, but you seem to have missed my point.

  27. Scr... Archivist says

    This reminds me of something from Subgenius lore. As the alien X-ists destroy Earth on July 5, 1998 (which is still in the future), the paid-up Subgenii will be Ruptured up to the Escape Vessels. These ships are also Pleasure Saucers, and contain the Alien Sex Goddesses who will have sex with the Subgenii during the trip back to Planet X.

    Sounds like something dreamt up by men. If I recall correctly, the goddesses are neuter shapeshifters and customizable to the needs of each individual Subgenius. I think this may be an accommodation to straight female and gay male adherents of the Church.

    But it’s still pretty weird.

  28. intransigentia says

    HOly shit! I’ve been bothered about this aspect of Pastafarianism for years. It’s really nice to hear I’m not the only one. Thank you for bringing this up.

  29. says

    As a couple of other people have said, the solution’s obvious.

    Lo! I have been vouchsafed a vision. Lo! His Noodle Appendage reached down from on high and caressed my brain, and now I know that heaven shall be thuswise:
    Each of the faithful shall be given 72 of the faithless to be hir slave, and the slaves shall ministers to their masters. And each of the faithful that hath suffered from racism shall be given racist slaves, and each of the faithful that hath suffered from sexism shall be given sexist slaves, and the faithful that hath suffered from ableism and agesim shall be given ableist and ageist slaves. And the duties of the slaves shall be to fetch beer from the sacred beer volcano, chocolate from the chocolate volcano and bolognaise sauce from the sacred well, and also shall they prepare the pasta and waft their masters and mistresses with the feather fan.

    There shall be a zero gravity room, where the faithful can play together in whatever combinations they deem good.

    The Super Gigantic Hadrom Collider shall be available for the faithful to play with every Friday.

    And lo, there shall be another revelation at 7 pm Eastern, to tie up any missing details.

  30. CaitieCat says

    This is why my first tattoo was of the IPU, right on my forehead. If you can’t see her there either, then Welcome, Sibling!

  31. cubist says

    Fair enough. Can you buy the conclusion, that it would be neat to have a New FSM Revelation (or whatever) to fix the sexism?

  32. says

    Oh Nos! You got us there! Unless…

    It’s not that the original Flying Spaghetti Monster wasn’t a useful allegory–in fact, it was a hilarious allegory with enough snark to give us atheists years of rib-elbowing and behind-hand snickering.

    Humorless? No, just willing to skeptically examine our own memes and cultural nooks and crannies the same way we loudly insist the religious do with theirs.

  33. biogeo says

    Good and useful criticism. I don’t think people who have referenced the Flying Spaghetting Monster need to feel bad for contributing to a sexist culture, since while the “stripper factory” thing certainly is repugnant, it’s not a particularly prominent part of the meme (which was around for something like a year before the “Gospel” was written with its “stripper factories”), as evidenced by the fact that most of us hadn’t heard of it at all. But I also think it’s reasonable to avoid referencing it in the future in favor of similar memes that don’t have the same problems, like the Invisible Pink Unicorn, or Russell’s Teapot.

    At the same time, I think that there’s a lot to like about the basic FSM joke, it being well-known, enjoyably absurd, and successfully tying two forms of science denialism (creationism and global warming denial) together. I think this “How to be a fan of problematic things” blog post applies: http://www.socialjusticeleague.net/2011/09/how-to-be-a-fan-of-problematic-things/ .

  34. biogeo says

    I have to say, the irony of people continually droning that “FfTB” saw never gets old. I especially like the way you’ve paired it with “talentless hack” here! The total lack of self-awareness is delicious.

  35. Rational Feminist says

    I’ve never really appreciated the FSM anyway. The joke/parody/satire religion when we aren’t religious; and then some stand up for the FSM like it is real. Like God. Just always seemed like too much stupid to me. Now, reading this, it also has all the bad parts of religion. What is the upside to the FSM? I forget.

  36. says

    Yes, it is time for a feminist revelation! And, this being the FSM and not one of those silly gods, there is no need to keep the old sexist stuff the way Christians are stuck with a Bible they can’t amend. So, tear out the bad stuff and fix it any way necessary! :)

  37. Daluva says

    Admittedly I have never read the gospel of the FSM myself, but are we sure it referenced female strippers specifically? There could be male strippers made in an adjacent factory. And there are woman who drink beer. The FSM was an excellent meme at the time of its inception (c 2005) purely because it so excellently satirised the actions of the ID creationist movement at that time. As the influence of the ID creationist movement has subsided (or so it would seem) we have less need of the it now.

  38. Kate Donovan says

    I don’t wish to be rude, but I actually clarified that point in the post. With quotes.

  39. says

    As a part time Pro wrestling fan I Looooooove that link! Thanks for posting it!!! That is the attitude that the people who rail at Anita Sarkeesian need to grok!

  40. Tarkar says

    I thought the whole point was that the idea of a “stripper factory” makes no sense, and thus it was a parody of the claims of religion which atheists said made no sense…

  41. CaitieCat says

    Sure. And the fact that all the references assume that the adherent is a hetero cis man? Just a coincidence, right?

    Come on. There’s not really a lot here to be defended. It’s a crap “gospel”, and the elements alongside that crap are tainted by it. There’s no “but my FSM belief doesn’t include those bits” here; Kate’s talking about, for instance, the potential effect of a young woman or gay man, say, who tries to find atheism resources online, encounters this “joke”, and discovers that atheism is no fucking better than the Abrahamic bullshit she’s leaving behind.

    How can people not see this is an issue? Do we really want to be no better than them? Cause me, that’s not why i’m an atheist, so I can get the same bullshit power-over that the religionists prize.

  42. says

    I’m not giving up the FSM meme 100%, because I have a totally awesome Surly FSM in space pendant.

    But I am now a follower of the second revelation unto the holy Santa Sheila Marinara. But I have pointed out a few times to followers of the Old Way that my stripper factory is set to produce the David Tennant and Rachel Maddow model robots.

  43. Ysanne says

    The point of the whole FSM thing was not to have a parody religion for its own sake, but to point out how extremely arbitrary and ridiculous it is to give “equal time” to the creation myth of one particular religion and claim it is a “scientific” alternative to evolution. Since for most people somehow their own religion’s creation story isn’t recognisable as mythology, whereas other religions’ stories are clearly made up, the FSM was brought in as an example of a myth that would seem absurd and yet familiar to even the dumbest creationist.
    And since the original idea was quite well-written, it took off and developed in unfortunate directions reflecting current society…

  44. Ysanne says

    Agree.
    So either the scriptures need to be changed to reflect a non-sexist heaven, or the misogyny-sexism aspect could be played up into a form that makes it an unmistakeable jab at the sexism of real religions. The current thing is at a quite murky in-between point that does more harm than good.

  45. Robert B. says

    Well, crap. I’m going to have to convert and start worshiping Russell’s teapot, now. Or maybe Sagan’s invisible dragon.

    Maybe I should be ecumenical. Do invisible dragons like tea?

  46. Tarkar says

    “You know, I’m suddenly getting the idea that religion is nonsense. I mean I just see no empirical evidence for gods or the supernatural! Maybe I should check out what atheism is all about.”

    *5 minutes of googling later*

    “A spaghetti creature with strippers? How ghastly! If this is what atheism means, forget it! Sorry for the lapse of faith, Jesus. We good again?”

    Please tell me on what planet this could be mistaken as a plausible thought process of an actual human being.

  47. CaitieCat says

    Nothing illogical about it, you just have to recognize their hidden premises.

    If you start from: “My life sucks because my family are religious and sexist because of it.”

    To: “I wonder if there’s another way? Much of my current religion’s varieties are the same. Maybe I’d be better an atheist. But then my family would hate me, maybe cut me off. Is it worth it?”

    We always need to recognize there are societal and personal pressures beyond simply “what do I believe?” at work in people’s lives. Intersectionality.

    If we want to win those cases, we have to be something visibly better, an alternative that makes people’s lives better. ALL people’s lives, not just sexist hetero white guys. Try and think outside your own circumstances, and your own Spock-like perfect rationality, and consider what it might be to be, say, a 15-year-old Indian-American girl, looking at the prospects of her parents pushing her into a marriage she doesn’t want, because “that’s how we do things”. (cf., among other things, Bend it Like Beckham).

    How does she feel when she finds the “stripper factory” part? How does she feel when she finds the pit?

    What encouragement are we giving her in trying to do what we claim we’re interested in: getting people to give up religion?

    Logic is logic. Just because you don’t recognize the premises people are using in their syllogism, doesn’t mean they don’t exist, or that the other person isn’t logical. that means it’s your ignorance that’s the problem, not their ability to think critically.

  48. doubtthat says

    All the legitimate criticisms were spot on.

    My point is less substantive: it was a kind-of-funny way to mock the god-botherers that was taken way too far. It’s the equivalent of giving the guys that do the Sonic ads a feature-length film.

    It is distressing that something so frivolous immediately becomes a vehicle for trite Dude-Bro “humor.”

  49. says

    As others have mentioned, there is always the IPU (pbuh). I think is a better parody anyway – the contradictory characteristics of invisible and pink satirize the omni-god’s contradictory characteristics (especially as regards theodicy), and that the IPU (pbuh) is a Her subverts the monotheistic deity’s masculinity.

    I also like that there isn’t really a movement or anything behind IPU-ism the way there is for Pastafarians.

    Full disclosure: My first tattoo, gotten in 2007, was of the symbol of the IPU. (May her hooves never be shod!)

  50. throwaway, extra beefy super queasy says

    You’re right. They won’t go away. But they will be pushed underground, unobserved by the casual onlooker, and will not represent a majority of us. The “problem” only exists if the goal is to completely eradicate sexist/homophobic behavior and speech. Which isn’t what people here are saying. They want a new “revelation” which they can be comfortable with presenting to the world. Barring that, an abstaining from this FSM jokiness at their own personal level.

  51. throwaway, extra beefy super queasy says

    It’s the equivalent of giving the guys that do the Sonic ads a feature-length film.

    I think I’m sick now… Just the thought… Ugh. Good analogy though.

  52. says

    Hey all gendered ppl like to have sex! Usually… OK maybe not that inclusive of asexual ppl but better than the FSM splitters! Shape shifting mutants are seriously inclusive of all sexual preferences… All hail Bob!

    “But it’s still pretty weird.”
    … Hmm and J.R “Bob” Dobbs isn’t? In fact that would be a pretty good description of the whole of the SubGenius “religion” :-)

    Anything in Discordianism? Would be a toss up between that and the SubGenius lot for my religion as a joke preference.

  53. lanir says

    Any good joke has a run (good in this context means it achieved what it set out to do). When it’s over, make a new one. No big deal, and certainly no need to try to carry the sarcasm far enough that you’re enshrining idiocy just like the thing you’re making fun of. Starts being a little less obvious that it’s sarcasm at that point, even from the inside.

    I always assumed the stripper references were solely for shock value and they were paired with the beer volcano to try to make it all sound like something utterly ridiculous that nobody should take seriously. Shock value is cheap, not worth much. It should be dropped as soon as it becomes inconvenient. Atheism as a movement probably just has different needs today than when that was written, which Kate pointed out pretty effectively. I’m not deeply into that so I my take on it isn’t necessarily worth much.

  54. Tarkar says

    You know I just looked at PZ’s post on the subject and I think he inadvertently got it right. To quote:

    “think we just have to declare Bobby Henderson a false prophet, or at best someone who interpreted the divine word of the Flying Spaghetti Monster through the filter of his own cultural milieu, because have you noticed the sexist and homophobic nonsense in the gospel of the flying spaghetti monster?

    Oh, hang on…have you noticed that it’s all nonsense? I think that’s part of the point.”

    He was right up to here… but then:

    “But I quite agree that if you’re trying to invent a satire of religion that’s supposed to be better than the genuine article, it would be nice if it didn’t perpetuate the social poison of the patriarchy.”

    Who said it was supposed to be “better”? Like he said it’s ALL NONSENSE, and not to be taken seriously. People who go around and wear pasta strainers on their heads and say ramen prayers, and write “FSM” on religion questionnaires are, as they say “doing it wrong”.

    The idea that anyone actually desires an FSM-style afterlife or views that as the perfect idea, as opposed to it being just a parody is silly.

    Hell, I don’t even drink beer, for example. I think the stuff is nasty. How come you’re not complaining about how the nonsensical FSM heaven will drive beer haters away from atheism?

  55. CaitieCat says

    That’s a rather disingenuous and silly question, really.

    Because beer-drinkers aren’t a group with a millennia-long pattern of prejudice and power over them.

    Was that supposed to be hard?

    Really. It’s interesting how hard you’re fighting to keep the sexist bullshit in it, as somehow necessary? And yet at the same time completely irrelevant. If I were laughing, I’d call that cognitive dissonance a joke, but – and this is the crucial bit – we’re not laughing.

    And if the sexist bullshit just coincidentally happens to line up with prevalent prejudices, and has no obvious signs that it’s meant to parody them, then there is a strong possibility of two things happening:

    1) people who are oppressed in those ways will feel the movement has little to offer, being more of the same bullshit.

    2) people who like to have the power that goes along with there being an oppressed class will have their ideas unironically reinforced.

    What part of that structure is supposed to be so beneficial to atheism that we have to keep it, and at the same time (per your assertion) so irrelevant we’re supposed to not care?

  56. kenlord says

    Recently a Sheikh in the middle easy went on and on about how Mickey Mouse should be killed because mice are dirty and the Koran demands all mice be killed.

    And I’m sure anyone here who heard about it laughed and laughed at how silly it is to demand the death of a fictional cartoon character.

    Now some would like to see then end of a fictional character that only exists as way to point out how wrong creationists are.

    Funny that.

  57. CaitieCat says

    Wow. What a devastating syllogism. Gosh.

    Well, I know when I’m beaten. Because obviously, a proporal that we consider not using something because it’s continuing to hurt our movement’s growth is the same as a fundamentalist death threat.

    It sure feels valuable to be shown such high-level rationality. This’ll totally convince everyone that social justice is such a silly game. You’re almost as brave a hero as Dawkins.

    *slow clap*

  58. Joe Z. says

    Religious people get upset and defensive when their fictional god is criticized for the promotion of harmful biases.

    Now, atheists are getting upset and defensive when a fictional god is criticized for the promotion of harmful biases.

    Funny that.

  59. Joe Z. says

    Also, if Ashley were calling for censorship of some kind, the comparison might have some merit. Since she’s not, it doesn’t.

  60. doubtthat says

    I haven’t run across you before, so apologies if that’s satire, but holy buttercakes, that was absurd.

    You have resorted to a conceptual argument — in all cases it’s wrong to criticize fictional characters — when we’re having a factual conversation.

    You make this dumbassed analogy with the endless racially offensive fictional characters of the past:

    ” A Shiekh in the middle east hates Mickey Mouse, therefore you should criticize horribly racist characters like ‘Little Black Sambo'”: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Story_of_Little_Black_Sambo

    So, criticism and calling for the ‘end’ of a fictional character is a perfectly appropriate activity. We just need to scrutinize the reason:

    -Because it promotes harmful racial characters? Good Reason.
    -Because it promotes harmful sexist notions? Good Reason.
    -Because the Qu’ran says so? Bad Reason.
    -Because it’s kind of stupid and has long since worn out it’s humor value? Good Reason.

  61. kenlord says

    CaitieCat – I actually agree that the sexist bits of the FSM dogma should disappear. I agree that the prejudices in the movement are hurting the movement, although I don’t think the fine details of pastafarianism are really the crucial bits upon which the movement will live or die.

    The prejudices in FSM’ism were not necessary for showing how wrong creationists are, and I’m pretty sure that the creator of the FSM didn’t intend for pastafarianism to take on the life that it has … From what I’ve read on his websites he’s downplayed the promotion of it as an actual ideology a lot over the years, apparently preferring that people just get the point of his argument and be nice to each other (and to take notice of the abuse he receives from christians). But maybe people aren’t very aware of this.

    Despite recognition of the FSM being an allegory, the article is written as if atheists are actually fundamentalist Pastafarians demanding their stripper factory and homo-blinders, that if we don’t stamp this aspect of FSM out, and now, the larger movement shall die.

    So rather than going nuclear with trollish sarcasm on my comment, apparently missing the point of it, and apparently assuming the worst of it and of me without knowing anything about me, how about we just don’t do that. Let’s look closer at what’s going on, and let’s try to actually be constructive in our pursuit of social justice.

    For starters, have you tried talking to Bobby Henderson? He’s not that hard to find. I don’t know him at all, but I suspect if you actually asked him about the prejudice problems in the FSM’s dogma, he might respond.

  62. says

    I wish to be rude: what part of there will be male strippers, but they will be invisible to us heteros, because EWW* did you miss?

    *paraphrase

  63. Tarkar says

    And what about the fact that it’s a beer “volcano”?

    Even if it erupts beer instead of lava, volcanic eruptions can release shockwaves that are more powerful than nuclear bombs! Wouldn’t that be potentially a much worse problem than the existence of strippers? And lots of people have died from volcanoes! That’s a serious issue in real life!

    I mean what if someone wants to be an atheist but then they hear about the volcano, and their family died in a volcanic eruption? How terrible!

    Maybe you should demand they change it to a beer fountain instead.

    In case you’re not getting the point: The whole FSM thing is stupid, it’s supposed to be stupid, and treating it like it’s SERIOUS BUSINESS just makes you look stupid.

    If people actually believed in FSM you would have a point. But they don’t.

  64. Tarkar says

    And doesn’t it support stopping global warming by increasing piracy?

    Pirates steal things and kill people! If you talk about FSM favorably, you are in favor of the Somali pirates. That’s the logic you’re using here.

  65. CaitieCat says

    This article is written as nothing like your characterization, and only someone truly desperate to defend this would simultaneously be saying it’s irrelevant and should be ignored, and is also so important it can’t be excised.

    You got the sarcasm the first time because your argument was flabby and pathetic, and didn’t require refutation to show its foolishness. Present something worth engaging with, something new, and it might be worth responding, but otherwise, time for you to find someone else who’s willing to be your JAQ-off material, as I am done.

    Have a nice evening.

  66. CaitieCat says

    You keep using that word, “logic”, but I don’t think it means what you think it means. You are, still, trying to argue simultaneously that the sexiam is both completely irrelevant, and crucial to the parody. Which is it? I’m well-armed to counter either pathetic worthless contention, but as long as you’re shitting out of both sides of your mouth at once, there’s little to be gained. See if you can get the maid to make up your mind for you.

  67. Tarkar says

    Did I ever say anything was “crucial to the parody”? Uh, no. Way to put words in my mouth. TBH I thought the entire thing was sort of amusing when it started but now it’s become nothing more than a worn-out punchline. I’m just pointing out how fucking moronic it is to make a big deal over something so intrinsically stupid.

    Now while we’re at it, why is it called the flying spaghetti “monster”? The word “monster” generates a natural negative reaction – monsters are scary and dangerous!

    They should obviously change it to the Flying Spaghetti Fluffy Bunny.

  68. Tarkar says

    http://www.venganza.org/about/

    “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”

    Why aren’t you complaining about this? This isn’t a very moral or enlightened stance to take! In fact, it’s downright awful.

    I mean just look at this: http://tribune.com.pk/story/486779/troubled-at-sea-freed-seaman-recounts-atrocities-of-somali-pirates/

    How could anyone support an organization that defends this kind of thing?

    I’ll tell you how: BECAUSE NO ONE TAKES IT SERIOUSLY. FFS.

  69. Daluva says

    Apologies, you are all correct. I do seem to have missed that point. Please ignore.

  70. F [is for fluvial] says

    I’m surprised so many have not noticed this before. It bothered me years ago, the first time I saw it.

    I doubt it was thought out at the time, but My Personal Interpretation of the Gospel is that it makes no sense anyway, and is nothing to be admired, except strictly as parody. And no, that isn’t the way everyone takes it, which is quite obvious from FSM-related stuff out there. I don’t think anyone really thinks a return to piracy is suggested for reasons of belief, and to combat global warming, but sexism, on the other hand, is quite a bit more insidious.

  71. F [is for fluvial] says

    Serves me right for posting before reading to the bottom of the thread.

    I think the bit that is suggested here, and which you may be missing, is that there are Obvious Wrong things, and Non-Obvious Wrong things, given our cultures. The Obvious Wrong things in FSM lore we laugh at, we can see they were put there intentionally. The Non-Obvious Wrong things (and sexist behaviors and language and these being wrong are quite obviously Non-Obvious to many) may be laughed at because some simply find them amusing. Like sexist crap.

    Now, I hardly know the original intent, and it may or may not seem like a mockery of normalheterowhiteguy beer, sports, beer, strippers, beer, cars, beer., but jokes about that stuff are equally likely to bee seen as supporting, as they are seen to be as mocking. (And the super-ironic hipster-type crowd will have it both ways.)

    So this has been pointed out as problematic, which I think it is.

  72. Joe Z. says

    Being intrinsically stupid doesn’t prevent something from being harmful. I thought this was obvious to freethinkers and skeptics.

  73. biogeo says

    If it’s stupid, and supposed to be stupid, why on earth are you bothering to defend it?

    That was a rhetorical question, because I think I know the answer. It’s because while the *content* of the FSM joke itself is clearly stupid, and supposed to be, its *context* has become pretty significant over time. It’s a shibboleth for us secularists, a way of identifying that we “get” a shared joke. We all get to enjoy this silly little thing together, and every time we see someone reference “Touched By His Noodly Appendage,” or say “Ramen” at the end of a comment, we feel a small bond with that person, on the basis of our shared understanding that Creationism is bullshit. I think you’re defending the FSM “Gospel,” stripper factories included, because you see this critique as attacking your shared bond with other secularists. So far from being unimportant, this really is “SERIOUS BUSINESS,” to you as well as Kate. If you truly thought this were unimportant, the proper response would be “Boy, Kate’s wasting her time. I’m gonna go play Minecraft (or whatever my hobby is).”

    But here’s the thing. We atheists, agnostics, humanists, skeptics, rationalists, whatever, we like to think that our ability to think critically about religious claims frees us to be more objective and rational. But this is true *only* as long as we continue our critical thinking and analysis of the rest of our deeply held cultural ideas, *including* our shared shibboleths as secularists. And if there are elements of our larger culture, or our subculture in particular, which are problematic, we need to be prepared to look at them objectively. That’s all this is. Stripper factory. Hey, that’s kind of sexist. Maybe we should think about what that means, and avoid it in the future. Done, now we move on. Candy for everyone. Instead, I think people are responding to this critique of an aspect of the FSM meme as an attack on their tribe. Being part of a tribe is great; tribalism isn’t.

    I think you should really ask yourself why you’re even bothering to respond to this. If the answer comes up something like “Because it’s so STUPID,” ask again, because I don’t think you’d bother to respond if Kate had in fact written something obviously stupid, like “Hey guys, 2+2=5.” Something in this is motivating you to respond, and I think it might be something that you recognize, at some level, has some validity.

  74. jerrybarrington says

    You missed the point. There is a *very* large group of people out there that enjoy FSM jokes. Extremely few of them are members of *any* atheist organization, altho many of them are atheists. So even if the organized atheists all quit making FSM jokes, the world won’t notice. They’ll still see plenty of atheists making FSM jokes. And they’ll still assume that organized atheists do to.

  75. CaitieCat says

    Dude, that’s even worse than the “totally important/utterly irrelevant” bit.

    Seriously, are you saying, for instance, that because the greater part of the atheist world isn’t yet interested in giving women equal rights, that we should just sort of throw up our hands and say, “Oh, well”? Or do we organize and do something about it? And spend our time around people who are interested?

    Really weak argument.

    Just because someone else chooses to uncaringly do things which hurt people, in no way implies that it is appropriate or moral to continue doing so ourselves. Should we give up trying to grow the atheist movement, because we’re never going to get the majority of Muslims or Talibangelical Christians or Haredi Jews to go along?

    Or maybe this will make the point better:

    + Mom Voice: If all the sexist atheists are going to jump off bridges, are you going to as well just to go along?

    – Mom Voice

  76. CaitieCat says

    Yep, thank you, that’s my point. If it’s so unimportant, funny that some small subset feel the need to leave SO MANY COMMENTS insisting it’s totally unimportant. I don’t understand how someone argues that something is at the same time totally irrelevant, and worth dropping a dozen comments on a single thread in defence of it.

    Especially considering the quite moderate, quite polite, suggesting-only approach that Kate took for the post. You’d think, from the commentary, that she’d written a screeching screed of screaming Feminazi harpy cries, calling for the immediate burning at the stake of anyone foolish enough to defy her imperial will.

  77. c2t2... says

    I’d suggest a fix to make the ‘parody’ more clear.

    Original:
    Q: Are there male strippers in FSM Heaven for women?
    A: Probably, but they are invisible to the non-homo guys.

    Revised:
    Q: Are there male strippers in FSM Heaven for women?
    A: Are you implying that women are people? We’re a religion; that isn’t allowed.

  78. unnaturalphilosopher says

    The whole FSM thing anyways seemed deeply adolescent. But it also had the feel of something written in the pub after a few beers by 18 year old blokes so that’ll be part of it.

    I’m afraid it seems rather par for the course in our select region of geekery. Written by neckbeards who giggle at the word “homo”

  79. throwaway, extra beefy super queasy says

    You missed the point. There is a *very* large group of people out there that enjoy FSM jokes. Extremely few of them are members of *any* atheist organization, altho many of them are atheists. So even if the organized atheists all quit making FSM jokes, the world won’t notice. They’ll still see plenty of atheists making FSM jokes. And they’ll still assume that organized atheists do to.

    Why should we give a damn about people who aren’t part of “the movement” using FSM as a joking ridicule of organized religion’s absurd beliefs anyway when the goal is to get your own house in order first?

    I’m also questioning your use of a quantifier without having substantiated the amount. How much, precisely, is: “a *very* large group of people” who would not abstain from such jokiness? Why should we be daunted by such ex asino quantities?

  80. =8)-DX says

    If there’s a stripper “factory” in heaven.. isn’t that where people go to “work”? They should flesh out the whole FSM theology a bit, because it sounds like this is what the conversation would be like in heaven:

    A: HARTY-har-harrrrr!
    B: Are you a stripper?
    A: Shiver-me… oh yes, I work on line 7. And you?
    B I’m a bender, line 3.
    A: Ah, health plan any good? Noodles?
    B: Well youknow how it is, the pirates come and go..
    A: Aaaargh!

  81. jerrybarrington says

    Seriously? From surveys, on the order of 10 million Americans outright identify as atheists, and about 20million more *are* atheists, based on questions that don’t mention “atheist” but ask about belief in gods. American Atheists’ Facebook page can’t even manage 80,000 likes!

    Also, “get your own house in order first” implies you intend to fix theirs up next. Largely, they aren’t interested.

  82. jerrybarrington says

    False dichotomy. That people are OK with the “stripper factory” joke doesn’t mean they aren’t interested in giving women equal rights.

  83. B-Lar says

    Any planet where you can believe any thing for whatever reason you choose. ie, all of them, assuming you have the breathing apparatus.

  84. haitied says

    I always thought of the stripper factory as a spin on the 70 someodd virgins thing.. Mockery can be a double edged sword tho.

  85. Orwell says

    Women should have complete control of their bodies. Unless they want to be a stripper, of course. Then the collective will of the people must intervene. We will become prudes like our religious right enemies. You just see. You cannot “live and let live” when a member of The Junior Anti Sex League, comrade. And sense of humor also goes against the Party ™ line.

  86. Suido says

    Wow. You’ve wasted a lot of time on this thread defending something that you think no one takes seriously.

    Would you like a ribbon for your brave defense of something you think is inconsequential subject matter?

  87. Beth says

    Have you recently told a Christian they can’t just pick and choose the gay friendly parts of the bible, or giggled along as a Family Values Politician divorced–what does his bible have to say about that? Did you let them get away with pleading ignorance, or that it was the main message that was important? But you want me to ignore the strippers, because the important part is about teaching science in school?
    I think not.

    I think the problem is that you are telling Christians that they can’t just pick and choose whatever parts of the bible they like. Christians can and do pick and choose the parts of the bible they like and discard those they don’t. Telling other people what they ‘ought’ to believe doesn’t persuade people their beliefs are incorrect. They just think you are ignorant (or worse) for attributing beliefs to them they don’t actually hold. If you want to convince them to change their beliefs, you will have to deal with the beliefs they actually hold, not what you think they should believe just because they call themselves Christian.

    Once you let go of the idea that you can dictate other peoples beliefs based on your interpretation of their “holy scriptures”, there really isn’t any problem with sexist jokes in the FSM*. After all, the whole thing is meant to be a joke! The almighty FSM wants you to be amused.

    *Or least, no more of a problem than sexist jokes elsewhere.

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  89. nathanaelnerode says

    Actually, the problematic material is in the original letter.

    To be fair, the original letter really is saying “Christian doctrine is just a made-up self-serving fantasy, so here’s *my* made-up self-serving fantasy, which is just as ridiculous and offensive as Christian doctrine.”

    Unfortunately, this is a case where expanding on it makes it less excusable.

  90. nathanaelnerode says

    Discordians have been known to smugly say that the Church of the Sub-Genius is basically Discordianism without the style.

    The Church of the Sub-Genius is arguably, historically speaking, an outgrowth of Discordianism, being founded by people who knew the Discordian scriptures well.

    I’m rather fond of Discordianism, myself; it has subtle depths. Remember, King Kong died for our sins.

  91. nathanaelnerode says

    The “Gospel” is actually a collection of different works by different people, EDITED by Bobby Henderson. Kind of like the Bible….

    My favorite bit is the long proofs of the existence of the FSM, each modeled explicitly after one of the illogical “proofs of the existence of God” used by Christians, Muslims, etc.

    I keep the book around just for reference for those, because they were very carefully constructed point for point, and are really nice to have as reference arguments when talking to Christians who are trying to use one of these “proofs”. Showing that the same argument proves the existence of the FSM usually causes them to give up on that entire class of argument and move on to something else.

  92. says

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  93. says

    “There is a fundamental distinction between the way that Christian apologists approach proving a negative, and the way that atheists approach proving a negative.

    The distinction is that Christian apologists give good reasons to accept that something doesn’t exist or isn’t true, whereas atheist apologists will commit a fallacy known as an argument from ignorance. The atheist will say “If you can’t prove to my satisfaction that God exists, then I am justified in not believing.” It is an argument from ignorance to say that “X” does not exist because it hasn’t been proven to my satisfaction. However, Christian apologists will say, “We have good reasons to not accept your claim.” and then will proceed to give those reasons…

    ..It should be recognized that when the atheist is arguing for a deity in order to refute any type of theism, including Christianity, that the atheist is forsaking their own worldview for in favor of another. The presuppositions of Pastafarianism are inconsistent with the presuppositions of atheism. Since the arguments and objections that atheism brings to the table in regards to Christianity are not sufficient, it is necessary for atheists to posit something as absurd as a Flying Spaghetti Monster.

    Since the presuppositions of Pastafarianism are inconsistent with atheism, when they adopt this worldview to try to challenge the Special Revelation of Christianity, they are actually forsaking their own belief that no gods exist. If the arguments that atheists used against Christianity were so consistent, there would be no need for them to mention the Flying Spaghetti Monster. It seems that the atheists have not realized that if could successfully prove the existence of a Flying Spaghetti Monster, then atheism would be false. The Flying Spaghetti Monster undermines the entire atheist worldview.”

    Learn more here: http://answersforhope.com/falsifying-flying-spaghetti-monster/

  94. gbjames says

    Oh, Jesus H. Christ on a unicycle. The Whyman. Please look up the word “satire” and study up on how it is used.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] I think we just have to declare Bobby Henderson a false prophet, or at best someone who interpreted the divine word of the Flying Spaghetti Monster through the filter of his own cultural milieu, because have you noticed the sexist and homophobic nonsense in the gospel of the flying spaghetti monster? [...]

  2. […] Sunday Assembly often uses the word “godless” to describe the space they’re creating, and both the original group and it’s offshoots across the globe align themselves with atheist orgs and “celebrities”. The global bodies that represent secular humanism do the same, and include people like Richard Dawkins as “noted humanists” (more on why Dawkins is the worst here. bonus: pastafarianism is disgusting, too). […]

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