Here’s a few links worth reading on Pastafarianism, a new parody religion that is laying down the gauntlet for multiple theories of intelligent design to be taught in science classes around America.

Open letter to Kansas school board

Wikipedia – Flying Spaghetti Monster

The premise is that “Flying Spaghetti Monster” cult devotees deserve an equal hearing on their creation science ideas.

I noted the following comment on the Wikipedia site with interest:

A rival faction, based on SPAM (Spaghetti & Pulsar Activating Meatballs), has formed and is calling for a Holy War against FSM … The SPAM website is a subsection of Yoism, which calls itself “the world’s first open source religion,” [2] and also claims to be the first serious religion with a sense of humor, obviously having never heard of the history of the Church of the SubGenius or Discordianism.

Now, I must say thanks to Tall Skinny Kiwi for bringing the phenomena to the attention of emerging church bloggers, but, but, but, I note once again that EC bloggers picking up on this are failing to do any serious exegesis. They are commenting without really asking what is this in front of their faces.

Are any aware, for instance, that Discordianism is a form of Neo-Paganism that, humour aside, involves serious magic. Yes, the Principa Discordia is seriously bent at first glance, but I can personally vouch that Discordians I’ve met in my journeys are as hard core as any other Neo-Pagans or Esotericists. As an aside, it was interesting to read Margot Alder’s “Drawing Down The Moon” recently and find out just how many pagan groups started out as joke religions.

So the issue at hand: how is that emerging church bloggers, who claim to be so much more attuned to new spirituality currents than their modernist counterparts, are not reflecting on this missiologically? What does Pastafarianism say about our culture? Why attack creationism in this way, through myth making, rather than a more analytic way? Yes, we like to laugh at the fundie Christians too at times, but do get so caught up in post-modern culture that we’re unable to analyse it? Have a laugh by all means, but seriously, if you wish to call yourself a missionary in the seas of post-modernity, do your exegesis.

3 thoughts on “Pastafarianism?

  1. Yes interesting. The Principia Discordia stuff was presented in the “Illuminatus” trilogy of novels by Robert Anton Wilson and Robert Shea in the 1970s, and it was a piece of humour, but humour designed to lessen pre-existing tensions inside the neo-pagan communities.
    So what we need to appreciate is that first we had the neo-pagans constructing or adapting magickal materials in different groups. Tensions developed. A way of diffusing it was with “Hail Discordia” the goddess of chaos via the trilogy of novels.
    Of course the reverse is also true. The Church of All Worlds (CAW) is a pagan group whose name (and some of its vocabulary) was derived directly from a Robert Heinlein novel.
    We have also seen The Matrix films inspire the e-religion “Matrixism” (which I’ve written up about at my circle of pneuma blogspot); and Jediism derives from the Star Wars films.
    Certainly some overlaps in pop culture in novels, films and TV, and on-line behaviour, as well as off-line behaviour.
    But what bothers me, alongside of your concerns, is that the New Spirituality is not exegeted by some Christians who nonetheless assert they are at the heartbeat of missions in postmodernity. The impression seems to be on the part of some Christians that today seekers are not “into” heavy reading or doing courses, just like the 8 second screen-change on TV, they zip from one website to another and are not picking up deep concepts, just mixing-up experiences.
    This seems to me to avoid the facts concerning how the New Spirituality functions, how metanarratives do indeed exist and function in new spirituality circles, that people do indeed enrol in courses for yoga, meditation, tarot reading, Cabala, past-lives therapy etc. And that at both the grass roots and academy our culture is being transformed for the moment by the revival of the esoteric.
    To grasp it requires some hard research (off-line). And one can not just read books and magazines, one can see it in alternate cultural events and festivals, and see it in meetings halls all over the place, and the vocabulary being used by seekers is in a dialect that is far from church-ese jargon, and even removed from the jargon favoured in some Emerging Church circles.
    The cultural exegesis shows some deep concepts have taken root, and cannot solely rely on the Internet to get a radar fix on where people are at.
    Both you and I have done some of the hard yards by being on the coal-face with people in deep conversations, as well probing the literature, listening in at their groups’ meetings and so on.
    I have yet to see any sustained and deeply substantial missional discipleship (here meaning the call to follow Jesus before calling to believe) taking place inside the heart of these circles.
    Serious contextualisation warrants the exegesis first, and followed by the process of reaching inside that culture.
    And if Christians think oh all that new age stuff that’s just “has-been hippies” from the 60s, then man you ain’t seen nothin’ yet!


  2. For reference I have started up the ‘Marinarianite Sect’ of Flying Spaghetti Monsterism
    Rediscovery of the Dead Seafood Scrolls has led to a renaissance in FSR studies, undermining conventional views of His Noodly Appendages.


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