It’s nice to see that the Flying Spaghetti Monster is finally getting some serious recognition. After all, he’s on the agenda of the American Academy of Religion’s annual meeting. Granted, the title of the talk is, “Evolutionary Controversy and a Side of Pasta: The Flying Spaghetti Monster and the Subversive Function of Religious Parody.” But for a group that dresses like pirates and calls themselves Pastafarians, it still qualifies as credibility.

I think one of the more interesting aspects of this inquiry is the question, what does it take to be considered a religion? At what point do the Masons go from being a fraternity to being a religion? After all, they have rituals, codes of conduct, philosophies, and group identity. What they lack is a mythology. If that is the defining difference, then followers of the FSM should be considered a religion. They have a mythology, albeit a silly one. But silly is in the eyes of the beholder. After all, some aboriginal mythologies sound pretty silly and are taught as fiction in modern schools. How many westerners think the pantheon of Hindu gods, some with multiple arms, others as elephants, etc. is a pretty “silly” mythology? (Of course, no one says that openly because we already have one major religion that hates us and pissing off an additional billion people just seems like a bad idea.)

Noodle on FSM… noodle on.

Are You Really Spreading Christmas Cheer?

As the season of mass consumer consumption is rapidly approaching, I thought this might be an important bit of news to keep in mind. Scientists have found that materialism and low self esteem go hand-in-hand. It seems obvious, but people who define themselves by what they own are constantly being told by relentless marketers that they have the wrong stuff. So ipso facto, they are unhappy about that. I like the quote from Mad Magazine:

“The only reason a great many American families don’t own an elephant is that they have never been offered an elephant for a dollar down and easy weekly payments.”

Minimally, I would like those of you groaning and moaning about people on your Christmas list who are hard to buy for because they don’t seem to want anything to consider that maybe this is a good thing. Maybe those people who can’t think of anything for you to buy them are happier than the ones with long Santa wish lists.