Friday, February 01, 2008

Spaghetti - To eat, not worship

One of my favorite foods is spaghetti. One of my favorite places to take a date is “The Old Spaghetti Factory” (No, they don’t serve old spaghetti, it’s . . .well, that’s just its name, that’s all). Yes, spaghetti - particularly my Mom’s spaghetti - has always held a special place in my heart. (Love you, Mom!) But I had no idea that I was unwittingly worshipping a deity. Yes, friends, according to certain people, spaghetti created the heaven and the earth.

It all began with a student’s concern about “intelligent design” being taught in his college. Intelligent design is the idea that the universe came into existence by intentional creation rather than by completely natural processes. But as it is being taught in many schools, intelligent design doesn’t say specifically that “God” did it. So why couldn’t it have been a spaghetti monster? Bobby Henderson sent a letter to his school board regarding this issue. Here are some quotes from the letter:

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.

It is for this reason that I’m writing you today, to formally request that this alternative theory be taught in your schools, along with the other two theories. In fact, I will go so far as to say, if you do not agree to do this, we will be forced to proceed with legal action. I’m sure you see where we are coming from. If the Intelligent Design theory is not based on faith, but instead another scientific theory, as is claimed, then you must also allow our theory to be taught, as it is also based on science, not on faith.

Here’s the short version of the argument: Since there’s no way to prove how the universe came to be, we might just as well believe that everything was created by a flying spaghetti monster, or FSM for short. If you’re going to be fair to all religions, you would need to include the spaghetti monster belief along with all the others. Sadly, some people can’t take a joke- but in this case, that includes the people who made up the joke in the first place! Here’s what Bobby says about the spaghetti monster theory that he made up himself:

Some claim that the church is purely a thought experiment, satire, illustrating that Intelligent Design is not science, but rather a pseudoscience manufactured by Christians to push Creationism into public schools. These people are mistaken. The Church of FSM is real, totally legit, and backed by hard science. Anything that comes across as humor or satire is purely coincidental.

He has to say that, or his threats of “legal action” would have no basis. As ridiculous as the idea sounds, there is some validity to the idea that this faith can be- and should be- considered valid. In the history of the Christian church, there are examples of denominations that have seemingly “cropped up” from the soil and become a part of the culture. These faiths are all “legit” in the sense that they are things that people believe. Whether you or I believe them is not the issue. SOMEBODY believes them. So if we deny the FSM, then shouldn’t we also deny EVERY other faith that isn’t exactly like ours? Spaghetti can be messy, can’t it?

But I wouldn’t look for too many spaghetti monster churches soon (unless of course you count the Old Spaghetti Factories). Here’s a quote from an “Answers in Genesis” article about the FSM:
We are not worried that Flying Spaghetti Monsterism is going to lure away Christians; rather, the religion’s obvious primary purpose is sardonic humor. Nevertheless, it reflects a growing attitude of mockery toward not just organized religion, but also toward any suggestion that there is something—or Someone—“out there,” beyond ourselves and our fallen notions.

One of my favorite comments from Bobby about the FSM comes from a recently-written article that was quoted on the FSM site:
Religion doesn’t have to make sense. You have to have faith. There’s all sorts of things that don’t make any sense in FSM. It’s fine. I contradict myself all the time. You can get away with anything in the religion business.

“The religion business.” I’m afraid many of us are guilty of thinking of religion that way. It’s not a business, folks. Your heart is more precious than that. And the words “I contradict myself. . . you can get away with anything” seem to validate the point. When all is said and done, he’s not serious. In order to really believe and support something, you have to take it seriously. You can’t be intellectually honest if you knowingly contradict yourself. You can’t lie to yourself - at least not forever. This too shall pass. The people who “worship” the spaghetti monster do so for the reason that he truly is a joke. Take him seriously and the humor is gone, as is any reason to “worship” him. Andy Kaufman would have loved the spaghetti monster. Indeed, we don’t have much to fear, except perhaps heartburn. (I would like to suggest that the FSM is actually the “Smog Monster” from the classic motion picture “Godzilla vs. the Smog Monster.” Note the stunning similarity! You disagree with me? Prove I‘m wrong. Hence, the point.)


A REAL RACE: A favorite movie of mine growing up was “The Great Race” starring Jack Lemmon, Tony Curtis and Natalie Wood. It's my favorite Blake Edwards film and it's a lot of fun. But I never thought it was anything other than a make-believe story. It just seemed to fanciful to be true. You can imagine my surprise when I recently learned it was based on an actual race!

Okay, so there probably wasn't a pie fight, and I don't think they stopped in some country where the king looked exactly like one of the drivers! But there really was a “Great Race” from New York to Paris that took place 100 years ago this month. It certainly doesn't sound as “funny” as the movie, as it includes a few tragedies as well as triumphs. Columnist Joe Blackstock writes about it at the site below:

It was part of a spectacle later dubbed "The Great Race," made famous by the 1965 Blake Edwards comedy of the same name starring Tony Curtis, Jack Lemmon and Natalie Wood. Some scenes were filmed in the San Bernardino Mountains.
An Italian-made Zust automobile and five other cars left New York on Feb. 12, 1908, and headed west into the dirt trails that served as "highways" then.
Carrying two drivers and a mechanic, the Zust overcame snow, subzero temperatures and plenty of mud, crossing the Cajon Pass more than six weeks after leaving New York. The Zust's arrival in the Inland Valley was little consolation for residents upset over missing the American entry and race leader, the Thomas Flyer, 10 days earlier.

There's more. They're going to do it again! 100 years after the original race, drivers are preparing for another New York to Paris trek. You can read more about it below:

The next thing you know, we'll find out that “Pete's Dragon” is based on a real story!


SALE AWAY: Just a quick FYE update as promised: The sales never got any better than the 20% off every CD or DVD. You have to remember that FYE probably wasn't under any great stress to sell everything in the two closing stores. They've got plenty of other locations where they can store their stuff. I bought a few more goodies, including some extra empty CD cases (probably the best buy in the store) and said farewell FYE – at least in my area. Let's hope it's not farewell forever.

Stay tuned to this station for a Valentine's Day treat!