Do You Believe In The Flying Spaghetti Monster?

No god, no brahma can be called
the maker [creator] of this wheel of life [and death];
just empty phenomena roll on [without fixed forms],
[inter]dependent on [changing] conditions [are] all.

– Visuddhimagga (XIX)

The Flying Spaghetti Monster (FSM) is the deity of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster (Pastafarianism), which humorously and smartly criticises the teaching of intelligent design (ID or creationism) in public schools. FSM was first mentioned in an open letter by Bobby Henderson in 2005 to subtly protest the Kansas State Board of Education’s permitting of ID (which proposes that a god worshipped by a religion created all) to be taught as an alternative to evolution in science classes. FSM soon became a sensational symbol of opposition to ID. The letter proposed that since the invisible and undetectable FSM created the universe, he should be taught too. Pastafarianism has even become a legally recognised ‘religion’ in the Netherlands and New Zealand! This satirically drives the point home, that anyone can propose any similar belief arbitrarily, and yet demand to be taken seriously, absurd as the belief system seems. For instance, I can also claim that a Swimming Banana Demon (SBD) made us all! Likewise, I can simply reply to naysayers that SBD is invisible and undetectable, thus ‘getting away’ with it!

FSM has since become a contemporary livelier way to express Russell’s Teapot. In Bertrand Russell’s words, from an article titled, ‘Is There A God?’ – ‘Many orthodox people speak as though it were the business of sceptics to disprove received dogmas rather than of dogmatists to prove them. This is, of course, a mistake. If I were to suggest that between the Earth and Mars there is a china teapot revolving about the sun in an elliptical orbit, nobody would be able to disprove my assertion provided I were careful to add that the teapot is too small to be revealed even by our most powerful telescopes. But if I were to go on to say that, since my assertion cannot be disproved, it is intolerable presumption on the part of human reason to doubt it, I should rightly be thought to be talking nonsense. If, however, the existence of such a teapot were affirmed in ancient books, taught as the sacred truth every Sunday, and instilled into the minds of children at school, hesitation to believe in its existence would become a mark of eccentricity and entitle the doubter to the attentions of the psychiatrist in an enlightened age or of the Inquisitor in an earlier time.’

In short, the burden of proof lies with those who make unprovable claims; not its rejectors. Of course this makes sense, for who else better to prove FSM or SBD exists? Life is also too short to personally seek what extremely unlikely to exist. In fact, an entire life would be wasted in trying to prove FSM’s reality. Yes, FSM is the placeholder for many beliefs with a similar template that requires blind faith. Where does Buddhism come in? While proof that there is a creator deity remains amiss, the historically existing Buddha never claimed to be one. Instead, he personally verified and reasonably taught that there is no such being. Being fully enlightened, he surveyed the reaches of space and time to prove this to himself, following up with the teaching that if an all-powerful, all-knowing and all-good creator exists, he would (have the power, knowledge and goodness to) not allow the slightest suffering – since he makes the rules and all. However, this ‘unintelligently non-designed’ world is rife with pain. With unparalleled compassion and wisdom, the Buddha even ascended to a heaven to prove to a god that he had mistaken himself to be a creator!

He who has eyes can see the sickening sight;
Why does not Brahma [equivalent to the creator god idea] set his creatures right?
If his wide power no limit can restrain [if omnipresent and omnipotent],
Why is his hand so rarely spread to bless?
Why are all his creatures condemned to pain?
Why does he not to all give happiness [if omnibenevolent]?
Why do fraud, lies, and ignorance prevail?
Why triumphs falsehood — truth and justice fail [if omniscient]?
I count your Brahma one the unjust among
Who made a world in which to shelter wrong.

– Bhuridatta Jataka (453)

Related Articles:

The Buddha’s Victory Over A God & Demon

Are Buddhas Omnipotent, Omnibenevolent & Omniscient?

Is There A God Who Allows Suffering?

Did The Universe Have A Creator?

How Were The First Humans ‘Created’?

‘Creation’ Of Evolution

Open Letter On FSM

Please Be Mindful Of Your Speech, Namo Amituofo!

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