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Thursday, July 06, 2006

And now, for something completely different... The Flying Spaghetti Monster

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Image hosting by PhotobucketMonty Python - Walski's all-time favorite comedy troupe

Having had just about enough of the political goings-on, Walski decides to train his sights on other things. And no, this has got nothing whatsoever to do with Monty Python. As a matter of fact, it's about religion.

To be precise, this post is about one odd religion that has emerged recently. Walski doesn't suggest you embrace it (unless you really, really want to), by the way.

Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster (FSM)
Backgrounder: This began as one person's response to the Kansas School Board's attempt to include Intelligent Design as part of the school curriculum, side-by-side with Evolutionary theory. Intelligent Design has been termed a pseudo-science, as it ultimately falls upon religious belief to explain certain scientific phenomena. The church's official website can be visited here.

Image hosting by PhotobucketAn alternate view of Intelligent Design

This religion is basically started out as a satirical critique of the Kansas school board to teach Intelligent Design in schools. The founder, Bobby Henderson (described by Al-Jazeera as "a physics graduate and prophet of the Pastafarian cause"), initially wrote a series of letters to members of the board, urging them to include the FSM's version of Intelligent Design, since it was feared that only one view of Intelligent Design would be focused on (i.e. the one put forth by the conservative Christian creationists). The letter was serious sounding, but of course satirical. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Some of The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster's beliefs (source: Wikipedia):
Image hosting by Photobucket
All life on Earth was created by the Flying Spaghetti Monster, and that in the beginning the FSM created a mountain, trees and a midget.
The FSM's chosen outfit is the full pirate regalia.
As such, Global Warming, and other natural disasters are the direct result of the declining number of pirates since the 19th century.

Image hosting by PhotobucketThe corellation between Global Warming and
the decline of full-blown pirates over the last century

And what do the followers of this new religion call themselves? Pastafarians (of course, what else would they call themselves?).
(more FSM and Pastafarians in the full post)

Through the viral way many things spread through the Internet, the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster has become an Internet phenomenon, spawning merchandising galore (iPod skins, t-shirts, mugs, etc.), and has been reported extensively by the American media:
USA Today: 'Spaghetti Monster' is noodling around with faith
Wired News: Passion of the Spaghetti Monster
The Chicago Sun Times: Gospel by pasta sticks it to religion's funny bone
and many others including a report on the American version of CNN.

FSM Gospel Image from WikipediaThere is even a book out, explaining the belief structure of this new religion, entitled "The Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster" (available online at Amazon and Barnes and Noble). A sort-of preview can be found at Wikipedia.

So far Walski has not seen this in any bookstores around KL, and based on the recent banning of some 18 books by the Internal Security Ministry, it may be a few years yet before the authorities read it (some of the books banned had already been out and sold openly for several years). If you do happen to spot it, please give Walski a holler.

Meanwhile, this phenomenal oddity continues its spread across America. Walski doesn't know if it'll ever see the light of day here in Malaysia or not. But as the local political scene gets stranger and stinkier by the day, we could use some silly distractions like this.