Books : reviews

Bobby Henderson.
The Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.
HarperCollins. 2006

rating : 4 : passes the time
review : 21 July 2007

It started with an open letter to the Kansas school board, requesting equal teaching time for a particular alternative theory of Intelligent Design, that of the Flying Spaghetti Monster and His Noodly Appendage, and the requirement for pirate regalia:

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.

Although the school board deigned no official reply to this plea, it brought to the world's attention the whole religious movement of Pastafarianism, with Bobby Henderson as its Prophet. And now its own Holy Book (reviewed here) has been published for the movement's growing readership.

The recent publicity has, naturally, spawned schisms (The Reformed Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, The Reformed Church of Alfredo, ...). However, despite these minor differences, the newly popular church threatens to outshine the One True Way, that of the Invisible Pink Unicorn, May Her Hooves Never Be Shod.

Henderson's Gospel starts as it means to go on:

The Intelligent Design proponents make a compelling, and totally legitimate, argument that if a theory has not been proven, then one suggested theory is just as good as another.
     Take gravity ... Until we have a proven answer ... it's reasonable that all suggested theories should be given equal time ...
     What if it is He, pushing us down with His Noodly Appendages, that causes this force? ... the fact that the gravitational powers of the Spaghetti Monster haven't been disproven makes it all the more likely to be true. ...
    And while it's true that we don't have any empirical evidence to back up this theory, keep in mind the precedent set by Intelligent Design proponents. Not only is observable, repeatable evidence not required to get an alternative theory established in the curriculum, but simply poking holes in established theory may be enough.

And, of course, there's the stunningly irrefutable defence of the FSM creation story:

None of us, of course, were around to see it, but we have written accounts of it.

The gospel's highlight is possibly The Eight "I's Really Rather You Didn'ts". I submit that the world would be a much better place if all religions, and all secularists, adopted these asap. The instructions on how to make various graven images are also rather useful. However, apart from these occasional high points, this gospel is somewhat of a mish-mash of collections of writings of various authors, of variable quality, with repetition and contradiction. (Hmm.)

If you haven't already, go read that letter, and browse the associated website to get the highlights; buy the book mainly to offend people.