The mocking of religion

IMAGE: The Flying Spaghetti Monster

The Flying Spaghetti Monster – cos if you’re going to believe in anything creating the world, why wouldn’t it be a flying spaghetti monster?

I watched a video this morning on Fox17 today (I know, that was my first mistake… but you gotta give the other side a chance to speak as well… right?) See the link below if you want to. Basically, the video is about how it’s become “cool” to mock religion within the United States (and the tone of the video suggests that perhaps it is more widespread, and it has become “cool” to mock religion worldwide) Mr Mendte then says

“…faith in something greater than ourselves is an important underpinning of a civilised society…”

This really incensed me.

Amongst the readers of this blog, will be those that know of my search to consolidate religion and spirituality (in my own head). For a long time now, I’ve worked within a human rights organisation, and have seen how much pain a religious stance can bring on a massive scale. Yet, I’ve also personally met many deeply religious people, and they were happy, at peace with themselves, and truly loved life in a way that seemed impossible if you didn’t believe that this life was a gift from someone greater than yourselves.

I’ve also met many atheists who think it is ludicrous that there is something out there that is greater than ourselves. That we are such insignificant specks in this vast universe, that is it simply arrogant to think that as a species, our human race has been created…

Amongst all this, I’ve done two post graduate Theology degrees, talked with many people, had two children (and struggled with what to tell them) and yet, remain agnostic. I don’t want to make a choice either way, and I think that to do so is to preclude any possibility of an open mind.

Yet, respect is one thing that I have deeply ingrained within me, I may not believe in your God, but I sure as hellfire (notice what I did there) will fight for YOUR right to believe in your God. This is why the video angered me so. The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster is not the “atheist club” that Mendte seems to assume it is.

As Bobby Henderson said so well:

“we are not anti-religion, we are anti-crazy nonsense done in the name of religion. There is a big difference. Our ideal is to scrutinize ideas and actions but ignore general labels” 

Which is also why Mendte’s statement also angered me. If humankind (in general) had a little more faith in themselves and a little less faith in someone else, then perhaps as a people, we would be in a much better place. We teach this to our children, and yet ignore it en masse when we should remember. We teach our children to trust in themselves, to increase their own self-esteem and know that they can overcome any challenge if they put their mind to it… and yet, as a society we sometimes don’t do this and instead pray to a deity to save us. It is not an important underpinning of civilised society, I propose, that instead, it is a way to control society and reduce us from individuals with free thought to a mass of people who obey and follow.

So, I repeat, I respect you, the religious reader, and I respect your religion. Please respect mine.

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6 thoughts on “The mocking of religion

  1. This is Larry Mendte. If you don’t believe that “The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Squid” is mocking religion, regardless of what its founder says, than you are as gullible as those you malign for having faith in something greater than themselves. Also, please introduce me to all of the non-athiests you find in the anti-religion. Finally, to carefully cherry picked my piece to make a point, and then said basically the same thing I said and claimed it as your own – hat no on should mock or disrespect another’s beliefs.

    • Firstly, thanks for taking the time to read my post Mr Mendte, i’m glad that we can start a debate on the topic.

      Let’s answer some of those points… it is the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. There is no squid involved.

      I myself am a non-atheist. As I said in the post, I am an agnostic, this means I do not blindly, and faithfully believe that there is no higher being, and yet, I also do not blindly and faithfully believe that there is a higher being.

      I must admit, I did cherry pick your piece a bit, mainly because, as I said in mine, the line that I quoted was what inspired me to write my piece. If you felt I didn’t take on all your points equally and fairly, for that I apologise.

      I do not mock or disrespect another’s religion. I do acknowledge that perhaps a lot of the followers of FSM see it as satire. I was raised as a religious person and have had much experience in many religions, Christianity in particular has many values and principles which I very much endorse and like. What I do not like is the vast numbers of people who are devout Christians who then spout hatred… whether it is against something as (what I think of) harmless as the Church of the FSM, or something much more damaging, such as the hatred towards those who happen to love someone of the same sex.

  2. Okay, I am an ordained minister of The Church of the FSM, and I resent that anyone would resent us. I think that the main point here is that it is necessary to represent religion satirically as a lighthearted attempt to open the eyes of it’s blind followers. The Flying Spaghetti Monster is no more or less valid than Zeus, Thor, Allah, Rah, or the Abrahamic God that for the time being seems to be the God of choice. They are all fiction, but let’s get down to claims that this “mockery” of religion is offensive. In the Old and New Testament guidelines are laid out how to treat your slaves, when to beat your women and stone them to death, to leave your uncircumcised child to die, and the murder of countless men, women, and children in the name of God – often to glorify him.
    Source: The Bible http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/int/long.html
    My point is, how can a book that inspires so much hate and intolerance so well received amongst the general population? Well for starters, most Christians will deny that such verses even exist because they are unaware of them, or dismiss them as archaic and historical – pertaining to a distant past. If the Bible is the word of God how can this be? Did he not have the insight to write more than a simple period piece? Most Christians that I know do not feel that babies should sometimes be left to die, or women should be beaten to death, and believe in the Bible not because it is rational or logical but because they have a deep seeded NEED to have faith in something. This mentality has led to more deaths and genocides than any other way of thinking, and in my mind is the biggest threat to my children and to society as a whole. Even if the Christian right is no longer on the front line preaching violence and genocide (remember the inquisition?) they are still trying their hardest to thwart personal freedoms such as gay marriage and abortion and to deny science to our children (evolution and the big bang anyone?).

    Just because you have the right to believe in an invisible man in the sky, which you rightfully should have the freedom to do, once you use that belief to indoctrinate children and spread hate, ignorance, and misinformation – I will begin to mock and criticize it however I feel appropriate. People demand tolerance for religion, when I think that the existing tolerance for these misguided and ill informed beliefs are one of the root causes of the problem. Most people that have invisible friends that talk to them are committed to psychiatric hospitals but if you happen to call that invisible friend God than you can run a tax exempt institution from it.

    And for the original poster, regarding atheism vs. agnosticism. To me, agnosticism is a bit silly. What would you say if I asked if you believed if there was a three headed miniature giraffe hiding in your desk right now. Would you say, “I don’t know, I haven’t opened the drawer yet to check”. Or would you say with some level of certainty that “No there is not, that is a ridiculous notion that defy common sense and all that I know about the universe and laws of nature.” If you need to have absolute evidence to disprove anything beyond any theoretical scenario than you would not truly be able to disprove anything. Think Russel’s Teapot, and remember that the burden of proof is not on me as an atheist to prove that a God does not exist but rather on the theist who is making the outrageous claims to begin with.

    • Thanks!! I just read your profile and I must say I think we share a lot in common! If you’re on Twitter, I’d love to chat more! (i’m @vivster81)

      and I agree with almost all your points, but would still like to hold in my heart the right to believe that there might be a three headed miniature giraffe in my desk… what I will say tho is that if I do open my drawer and am disappointed to in fact find that there is no miniature giraffe, I won’t then turn around and assume that perhaps for now it has run to hide, or that perhaps it is invisible unless I have enough faith that it is there. But if I don’t have the ability to open the desk drawer, then I will stick with, “I don’t know yet”

      love it! great comments!

      • Thanks man, I’m on twitter @tburke89 although I have virtually no followers so I don’t use it very often. I just discovered wordpress yesterday and I already prefer this site to twitter and will probably continue to use it regularly. I followed your page, I look forward to more friendly conversation and exchanging of ideas in the future.

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