Sunday, 3 May 2015

This is why I love the internet

DID YOU KNOW  There is a religion called Pastafarianism, practised by the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster - the Flying Spaghetti Monster being the church's deity, also referred to as His Noodly Appendage.
THEIR BELIEFS  Pastafarianism promotes a lighthearted approach to religion and followers believe that modern man came from pirates instead of primates. Pirates, who are considered to be the first Pastafarians in history alongside penguins, were peaceful and loving explorers until missionaries and disciples from other religions outcast them as criminals. Pastafarians believe that the presence of pirates helps prevent global warming and natural disasters. The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster also opposes the teaching of Intelligent Design (or Creationism) in public schools (see below). 
    HOW IT BEGAN  In 2005, the Kansas State Board of Education permitted that Intelligent Design (the belief that the universe and all living things were purposefully designed and created by an intelligent agent - ie: Creationism) be taught in school science classes as an alternative to the Theory of Evolution (ie: Darwinism). Bobby Henderson, a 24-year-old Pastafarian 'prophet' and physics graduate, wrote an open letter protesting the board's decision. And it was in that letter that the  Flying Spaghetti Monster was first described, as seen in this extract below: 

    "... Let us remember that there are multiple theories of Intelligent Design. I and many others around the world are of the strong belief that the universe was created by a Flying Spaghetti Monster. It was He who created all that we see and all that we feel. We feel strongly that the overwhelming scientific evidence pointing towards evolutionary processes is nothing but a coincidence, put in place by Him. 

    ... Some find that hard to believe, so it may be helpful to tell you a little more about our beliefs. We have evidence that a Flying Spaghetti Monster created the universe. None of us, of course, were around to see it, but we have written accounts of it. We have several lengthy volumes explaining all details of His power. Also, you may be surprised to hear that there are over 10 million of us, and growing. We tend to be very secretive, as many people claim our beliefs are not substantiated by observable evidence." 

    WHAT HAPPENED  Bobby argued that his Pastafarianism beliefs were just as valid as those of Intelligent Design, and stated that Pastafarianism, Intelligent Design and Evolution should be given equal teaching time in the classroom. He then posted the full version of the letter on his website and thus, the Flying Spaghetti Monster phenomenon was born! When Bobby's letter was ignored by the State Board, he decided to promote Pastafarianism as his own religion. Most see it as a satire, but worshippers merely retort that there are elements in every religion that followers do not literally believe - it is the same with the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. 

    AND NOW  Pastafarianism has recently been brought to light in the media with cases of followers claiming their right to wear religious headgear in their driver's license photographs. The laws regarding driver's license photographs vary from country to country, but in most places you are not allowed to wear any form of head covering or sunglasses in your picture. Exceptions have been made, however, in the case of religious garb provided that your entire face is shown and it is something that you wear on an everyday basis. 
    In this case, the headgear in question is a colander, the official religious headpiece of Pastafarians. Many argue that since Muslims are permitted to wear hijabs in their driver's license photographs on religious grounds,  so too should Pastafarians be allowed to wear pasta strainers.  

    CZECH REPUBLIC, 2013 Lukas Novy was granted permission to wear a colander in his ID photograph as officials ruled that denying Lukas' request would be a breach of the country's religious equality laws.

    Keen to find out more? Check out this photo story by Jen Osborne entitled 'My Weekend with a Pastafarian' published in VICE Canada.

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