Saturday, October 22, 2011


USA (Religion News Service) - When congregants of West Side Church and the Christian Life Center awoke in June to news that their churches had been vandalized, their frustration quickly turned to confusion.  In addition to the anti-Christian slogans scrawled on the walls of the two buildings, the words “Praise the FSM” were painted everywhere.  “FSM” stood for “Flying Spaghetti Monster,” the Deity of a spoof religion called “Pastafarianism” that’s popular among some atheists and agnostics.  However, mere hours after news of the vandalism broke, Bobby Henderson, the head of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, publicly condemned the vandals; and Hemant Mehta, author of the Friendly Atheist blog, posted an online plea for donations to help fund repairs. In less than 24 hours, he raised more than $3,000. 

But while the vandalism seemed to be an isolated incident, it has spurred a discussion among atheists about the usefulness of so-called “joke” or “invented” religions in the nonreligious movement.  Pastafarianism was founded in 2005 when Henderson, then a physics student, sent a letter to a Kansas school board satirically critiquing the theory of intelligent design by citing “evidence that a Flying Spaghetti Monster created the universe.”  For many atheists like Mehta, harmless religious satire is part of the atheist experience.  Atheists in Australia are divided over a parody religion called “Jediism,” based on George Lucas’ “Star Wars” film franchise.  “When (religious) people try to dominate the political landscape, sometimes the humor you find in things like the Flying Spaghetti Monster is a very subtle and powerful way of pushing back,” says Greg Epstein, the Humanist chaplain at Harvard University.

Carole Cusack, professor of religious studies at the University of Sydney and author of the book “Invented Religions,” notes that members of the eclectic and diverse atheist communities view the sarcasm in different ways.  “The first is as fellow warriors in the ongoing campaign to make religion look ridiculous,” Cusack said. “The second is as a nuisance, muddying the waters by proposing parody religions instead of calling for the end of religion.”  Nowadays, people rationalize everything and transform it to science, to logic, and have distorted truth by atheism. 

Vaishnava philosophers have discovered that all the mistakes we are guilty of making originate from (1) error, (2) inebriation, (3) the shortcomings of our senses and (4) an inclination to deceive others, and by these our boldest and strongest thoughts are lost. ... All people are subject to fall victim to these defects. The only exception is God Almighty and His associate counterparts, who remain within the Absolute Truth. God is all-knowing, all-powerful and all-blissful. He is omnipresent, omniscient and omnipotent, and none like Him can be found anywhere. He is one without a second and possesses infinite powers. ... When theism is forced to give way to pantheism, atheism, scepticism and agnosticism, then irreligion, unscrupulousness and duplicity bring about chaos on earth. Sin and its consequences surge around us, tumultuously clamouring to have their way against our wishes, and we find ourselves in the midst of a whirlpool. He (God) comes to save us from their clutches and re-establish peace and order.

Śrīla Bhakti Saranga Mahārāja :
Lecture: “God-realization”
“Omnipotent God Beyond Error”
Śrī Sajjana-tosani Patrikā, Vol. IV, No. 11 (June 1959)
Rays of The Harmonist No 13 Karttika 2003
Bhaktivedanta Memorial Library -

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