In Defense of the Flying Spaghetti Monster

The Flying Spaghetti Monster (FSM)
The Flying Spaghetti Monster (FSM) | Source

(Disclaimer: This article intends to examine the Flying Spaghetti Monster as a fictional concept, and is not intended to be a parody.)

From what I understand, the birth of the figure, known as the Flying Spaghetti Monster (FSM), goes something like this. Some theists (often Christians) believe that creationism should be taught to school children alongside evolution. Intelligent Design is the idea that a powerful being, or deity, created the universe and everything we see in it. Numerous scientists and non-theists are understandably concerned by this as the study of science is more than just evolution. So, when a school board was considering the addition of creationism into their curriculum, one man wrote to the board likening the evidence for god to a flying spaghetti monster. In other words, there is no evidence for either, therefore they are on the same believability scale and, therefore, shouldn’t be taught in science classrooms. The letter he wrote was available online and the noodle deity went viral as a tongue and cheek nod to the flaws in creationism and theism.

I remember a similar argument from my philosophy class in college, though that example stated that a teapot was orbiting Saturn. The idea was that we couldn’t disprove the teapot theory, even if it seemed unlikely. Modern advancements in space travel will probably, one day, disprove the teapot theory, but god isn’t measurable the way a teapot is. So, no matter how far along science gets, it will probably never prove there is no god. However, just because god cannot be disproven, it doesn’t mean he can be proven either. Which is where the Flying Spaghetti Monster comes in. If one can exist because it cannot be disproven, why can’t the other?

There was a question I asked here on HubPages a while back that stated “Can you prove the Flying Spaghetti Monster doesn’t exist?” The reason I asked this particular question was because it’s opposite was a frequent post in the Q&A section. A theist would ask “Can you prove god doesn’t exist” and, when atheists failed to do so, the poster would claim victory on the side of god. Since the Flying Spaghetti Monster similarly can’t be disproven, I figured I would see what sort of answers I would get. Most responses were those who participated in the ruse, insisting that the FSM is real. While the others firmly stated that he wasn’t, even though it wasn’t possible to disprove him. So, why would a theist disregard the FSM but still believe in god? To figure this out, we are going to have to break down each one. It should be noted, however, that miracles and faith cannot be used to support either. The reason being is that these things don’t come with a signature and a miracle could have been caused by the FSM just as much by god.

The first and most obvious flaw with the Flying Spaghetti Monster is that we know who created him and why he did it. It was conceived of as an extreme parody to make a point, and not a real messiah. Similarly, spaghetti is a man-made food that doesn’t exist naturally, in much the same way that the teapot is man-made. Based on this information we can reasonably assume that the FSM does not exist. However, we cannot definitively prove it.

God and other deities have a leg up in this regard. Time has distanced us from the original writings, which means data on the creation of the bible, and other holy books, is limited. There are some histories that match up, and writings that were preserved remarkably well. But, ultimately, we will never know what happened during that time. Also many religious books incorporate things that can exist in nature, like apples, snakes, bushes and a human version of their god. This makes it easier to identify with than a flying ball of noodles. Religion’s age is also an advantage because it has had the time to spread. It’s very easy to assume that something is right when the majority of the world believes it. However, popularity does not equate the truth. And, despite god’s age and mystery, he cannot be definitively proven either.

So, let’s imagine that the creator of the FSM was born two thousand years ago. And, let’s imagine that the FSM was depicted as a human wheat farmer that preached a message of personal empowerment. How would we regard that mythology today? Would it be easier to accept? There is a quote by Penn Jillette that states “If every trace of any single religion were wiped out and nothing were passed on, it would never be created exactly that way again. There might be some other nonsense in its place, but not that exact nonsense. If all of science were wiped out, it would still be true and someone would find a way to figure it all out again.”

There is certainly something to be said about the consistency in the rules of science. If we forgot the world was round, it would still be round. If we forgot the laws of gravity, they would still hold us to the Earth. And if we forgot the scientific method, something remarkably similar would take its place. That’s not to say that all science always matches up perfectly, but the idea is that its concepts are things that can be rediscovered over and over again. By contrast, religion relies exclusively on its holy books and verbal storytelling. The mythology of Jesus cannot be rediscovered without a second visit from god. And, since divine visitation is non-existent in the modern world, we can only move forward without a deity.

Stephen Colbert is not affiliated with the Flying Spaghetti Monster.
Stephen Colbert is not affiliated with the Flying Spaghetti Monster. | Source

I often liken the Flying Spaghetti Monster to Stephen Colbert. His program was designed as a parody for the extreme, and often silly, newscasters on 24 hour news networks. By taking such an approach he has been able to shine a light on various practices that the public would have otherwise known nothing about. The FSM is another such parody, designed to shine a light on the cracks in theism and certain religions. While some might interpret its presence as an insult or an offense to believers, I think it’s more valuable as a critique. The downside of old world religions is that they are dragging outdated concepts with them. Bigotry towards women, homosexuals and other races should never be passed to new generations. So the Flying Spaghetti Monster should be regarded as a wake up call; an opportunity to update religion. There are many good humanitarian efforts that come from organizations like these and theism is a valuable comfort when we lose those we love. But we need to take the positives and discard what doesn’t work anymore. Otherwise the FSM will continue to get more popular and god will become that much more of a joke.

Are you offended by the Flying Spaghetti Monster?

  • No, I think it's funny.
  • No, it doesn't affect my beliefs.
  • Yes, it is an insult to believers.
  • Yes, it is childish.
See results without voting

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Comments 11 comments

cathylynn99 profile image

cathylynn99 2 years ago from northeastern US

blessings to you from his divine noodleyness. friends have coined "skettymon" as an appropriate related expletive.


Borsia profile image

Borsia 2 years ago from Currently, Philippines

You have said it all so well that I don't know that I can add anything except my votes.

As you included what I think s the most revealing analogy, that given by Penn Jillette "while religion and gods would never be reinvented in the same way science would", I won't dwell.

The theist have a great desire to ignore a very basic truth of debate of any subject. That the entire burden of proof lies with those who claim that something, anything, exists. While there is no burden of proof to the concept that that thing doesn't exist.

In fact there is no way to prove a no-thing. There never will be and there can't be.

Demanding proof that something, anything, doesn't exist is nothing more than an empty ploy to put the non-believer in a position of trying to disprove something rather than proving nothing. When that something can't be proven or measured in any way they try then try to call it a win, which is intellectually bankrupt from the start.


cheaptrick profile image

cheaptrick 2 years ago from the bridge of sighs

I'm Italian and I can tell you for sure that spaghetti is Not man made!I grew up on a spaghetti Farm that was six inches wide and twenty miles long...we also grew Angle Hair for the local Church.

Every Sunday we received the Parmigiana blessing and prayed for perfect spaghetti growing weather"Cloudy with a chance of meatballs". Yes...yes...FSM is as real as...I am that I am


M. T. Dremer profile image

M. T. Dremer 2 years ago from United States Author

cathylynn99 - Could 'skettymon' be used in place of 'bless you' when someone sneezes? As an atheist it feels odd to say bless you. Thanks for the comment!

Borsia - I agree; the debate is entirely lopsided, often putting the non-believers in the position of having to 'explain' themselves. Considering how many deities there are out there, it seems like atheism should be the default belief and other deities would need explanation. But, I guess theism doesn't work that way. Thanks for your comment!

cheaptrick - The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster is certainly detailed enough to accommodate. Thanks for the comment!


cathylynn99 profile image

cathylynn99 2 years ago from northeastern US

my husband says "gesundheit" - geZOONThite, which is "wellness" in german. so you can wish a sneezer good health.


cathylynn99 profile image

cathylynn99 2 years ago from northeastern US

to hear gesundheit isn't uncommon in western Pennsylvania.


M. T. Dremer profile image

M. T. Dremer 2 years ago from United States Author

cathylynn99 - It probably isn't common in Michigan either, but I'll give it a try. :)


Sharp Points profile image

Sharp Points 19 months ago from Big Bear Lake, California

This piece is great! I love the illustration of the flying spaghetti monster, i'm going to draw it sometime. Anyways very creative take on the whole thing, way to think outside of the box.


M. T. Dremer profile image

M. T. Dremer 19 months ago from United States Author

Sharp Points - Thank you for the comment!


peachpurple profile image

peachpurple 18 months ago from Home Sweet Home

never heard of this monster but you did a great hub about it. and cute picture too


M. T. Dremer profile image

M. T. Dremer 18 months ago from United States Author

peachpurple - Thank you for the compliment and the comment!

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    M. T. Dremer671 Followers
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    M. T. Dremer has been an atheist for more than 20 years and has been debating theology openly for almost 7 years.



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