I received the following email recently:
Thanks for writing the blog post about Pastafarianism. As a Pastafarian myself, I found your analysis quite entertaining. One thing to keep in mind is that Pastafarianism expects its adherents to follow their own innate sense of right and wrong when making decisions.
Although it is suggested that we shouldn’t kill anyone, it is only suggested because an outright command means that there is no room to account for the context of a situation (eg. killing in self defense, or as per Numbers 31:1-18, committing genocide of an entire country and raping the women and girls).
Similarly with the lack of laws over fornication or adultery, there are a few: refer to The Eight I’d Really Rather You Didn’ts, #4 and 8. Basically, if your partner is ok with it, then go ahead.
With your analysis of the Pastafarian afterlife, I could say the same towards the Christian afterlife.
All the same, thanks for your analysis! It was an enjoyable read!
I am actually rather surprised that the first person who wrote to me objecting to the Catholic Faith was a Pastafarian. But I suppose they have as much a right as any. I am glad you enjoyed my article. There are probably relatively few Christian apologists who seek to present the teachings of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster in an objective light and I did so. I suppose it would be wrong to mock Pastafarians as it would be wrong to mock any religion with which we disagree. Now I will respond the best I can to each of these claims.
So you say Pastafarianism (and, I suppose, the FSM) expect Pastafarians to follow their innate sense of right and wrong and make their own decisions. The Catholic Church would agree with this as far as it goes. We are called to follow our consciences, provided they are properly formed. Now, is it written in our hearts not to murder, but it is generally easier to follow this law if we see it written in stone from God. Also, if one’s conscience is badly poorly formed (as it can become by repeatedly doing evil, for instance), it is much easier to reform them properly if we have written laws.
Both Christians and Jews have always understood God’s command “Thou shall not kill” to refer only to murdering people. It is the only thing that makes sense, considering that in the same book, Exodus, God commands the Hebrews to kill people on multiple occasions. My problem with phrasing all the FSM’s commands as suggestions is that it appears to me that there is no fixed morality. There are, for example, exceptions to “Thou shall not kill”, but these exceptions themselves are fixed. It is always wrong to wantonly and deliberately take innocent life, for instance. This is part of the reason I am uncomfortable with the FSM’s command: “Speak unto the children of the seven seas, saying, If a soul shall sin through ignorance against any of the 8 “I’d Really Rather You Didn’t’s” of the FSM concerning things which ought not to be done, and shall do against any of them: I really don’t care that much. I’m all for flimsy moral standards.” (Piraticus 4:2-4) I will get into that later.
Numbers 31:1-18 is the section in which they kill the Midianites at God’s command. Genocide would generally be wrong, but God, the Lord of life and death, has the authority to command such. Moses did not commit this wantonly, but he carried out the justice of God. Pastafarians, perhaps, might not have much a different viewpoint. The FSM on multiple occasions cautions against Holy Wars, but obviously they hold that at some point in a person’s life, the FSM takes him to the Great Pasta Bowl. However, it is certainly false to say that they raped the women and girls. I think you are referring to Numbers 31:17-18, “Now therefore, kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman who has known man by lying with him. But all the young girls who have not known man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves.” They did not spare their lives for licentious pleasures. That was against the Hebrew law. He preserved the lives of the girls because they might be presumed innocent and live to do good. The boys were slain, either because they might be inclined to avenge the injury done to their relations or possibly because they were consecrated to the demon Beelphagor.
The two “I’d Rather You Didn’ts” which you quote are as follows:
4. I’d really rather you didn’t indulge in conduct that offends yourself, or your willing, consenting partner of legal age and mental maturity. As for anyone who might object, I think the expression is go f*** yourself, unless they find that offensive in which case they can turn off the TV for once and go for a walk for a change.
8. I’d really rather you didn’t do unto others as you would have them do unto you if you are into, um, stuff that uses a lot of leather / lubricant / lass Vegas. If the other person is into it, however (pursuant to #4), then have at it, take pictures, and for the love of mike, wear a condom! Honestly, it’s a piece of rubber. If I didn’t want it to feel good when you did it I would have added spikes, or something.
This is obviously differs from Christian morality, but that is not directly relevant. So basically the FSM calls for only willing sexual behavior and usage of contraception. As you have noted, it seems that that one’s partner should approve of it. But as noted, unless I am misinterpreting Piraticus earlier, the FSM does not care very much and is “all for flimsy moral standards. But thou shall try to remedy thy ignorance and read them. They’re actually pretty funny.” (Piraticus 4:5-6)
I would question, however, why it matters that one’s partner should approve. I would assume one of two things: either it the FSM condemns it or it hurts others. If the former is the case, three possibilities arise: first, things are good because the FSM says so; second, the FSM says things because they are good; or third, those things are good because they are in line with the FSM’s nature. If the first is true, then the FSM could suggest anything including rape, murder, and so forth, and it would be good. Since all these things are suggestions, we are still technically free to still do them. Alternatively, if the FSM suggests things because they are good, there must be something greater than the FSM, who is said to be “omnipotent, omniscient, benevolent, and the creator of all reality.” (Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster 157-158) I believe the FSM is said to be an invisible spirit who chooses to manifest himself as spaghetti and meatballs and not actually made of these things. As for the third possibility, that goodness is the nature of the FSM, this is the Christian viewpoint, but I am doubtful that this would be true of a monster who describes himself as “all for flimsy standards.” As for the other possibility, that whatever is good is good because it does not hurt or it even helps others, what is intrinsically good about the anti-aggression principle? Some would say we cannot hurt people because we must continue of our species, but then I do not quite see what is so special about our species which makes us need to be furthered, as I have explained in depth here. If, however, one says that we are not to hurt others because the FSM has endowed us all with dignity, I have a problem with that as well, since anything he gives to us must already exist to a greater extent in him. So I hardly see how our dignity infused by a deity who is “all for flimsy moral standards” is a good reason to behave with moral rectitude.
As for my views on the Afterlife, I suppose that same argument would be efficacious on Muslims. I do not know precisely what your qualms with my arguments are, but I am again glad you enjoyed it.
Bonum Certamen Certemus
I am the Catholic of Honor