The Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster
First edition cover – designed to look like a hardback
|28 March 2006|
|Media type||Print (Paperback)|
|LC Class||PN6231.R4 H46 2006|
The Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster is a satirical book written by Bobby Henderson that embodies the main beliefs of the parody religion the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster or Pastafarianism. The Flying Spaghetti Monster was created by Bobby Henderson in an open letter to the Kansas State Board of Education in which he parodied the concept of intelligent design. After Henderson posted the letter on his website, it became an internet phenomenon and was featured in many large newspapers, which caught the attention of book publishers. Released in March 2006 by Villard Books, The Gospel elaborates on Pastafarian beliefs established in the open letter.
The Gospel includes a creation myth, set of commandments, and guide to evangelizing, and discusses history and lifestyle from a Pastafarian perspective. Henderson uses satire to show flaws with creationism and prove the Flying Spaghetti Monster, lampooning the intelligent design movement in the process. The book, which has sold more than 100,000 copies, was generally well received.
In 2005, Bobby Henderson, then a 24-year-old Oregon State University physics graduate, parodied the concept of intelligent design by professing belief in a Flying Spaghetti Monster in an open letter to the Kansas State Board of Education. He sent the letter prior to the Kansas evolution hearings as a satirical protest against the teaching of intelligent design in biology classes. In his letter, he noted,
I think we can all look forward to the time when these three theories are given equal time in our science classrooms across the country, and eventually the world; One third time for Intelligent Design, one third time for Flying Spaghetti Monsterism, and one third time for logical conjecture based on overwhelming observable evidence.—Bobby Henderson
In May, having received no reply from the Kansas State Board of Education, Henderson posted the letter on his website. Shortly thereafter, Pastafarianism became an internet phenomenon. As public awareness grew, the mainstream media picked up on the phenomenon. The Flying Spaghetti Monster became a symbol for the case against intelligent design in public education. The open letter was printed in many large newspapers, including the New York Times, Washington Post, and Chicago Sun Times, and received "worldwide press attention" according to one journalist.
According to Henderson, newspaper articles attracted the attention of book publishers; at one point, six publishers were interested in the Flying Spaghetti Monster. In November 2005, Henderson received an $80,000 advance from Villard to write The Gospel of The Flying Spaghetti Monster. Henderson said that he planned to use the proceeds to build a pirate ship, with which he would spread the Pastafarian religion. The book was released on March 28, 2006.
|“||The book is necessary so that people see how much hard evidence supports the existence of the FSM. You can make a pretty strong argument for His existence. Especially if you use the same sort of reasoning the ID people do: specious reasoning and circular logic.||”|
—Bobby Henderson, explaining why he wrote The Gospel
The Gospel presents the tenets of Pastafarianism—often satires of creationism—elaborating on the "beliefs" established in the open letter. It includes a creation-myth, a "propaganda" guide for evangelizing, some pseudo-scientific "proofs", and several pasta puns. Along with crude drawings and altered stock photography, Henderson employs irony to present perceived flaws with evolution and discusses history and lifestyle from a Pastafarian perspective. The book also provides a Pastafarian "Guide to the Holidays." Furthermore, Henderson discusses the original Pastafarian "belief" that the decline in the number of pirates, who are revered by Pastafarians, has directly led to a rise in global temperature. He provides further "evidence" of this relationship with the observation "that many people dress up as pirates for Halloween, and the months following October 31 are generally cooler than those that precede it." This and other scientific claims made by Henderson are intended to be disputed. The claim that declining numbers of pirates have resulted in rising temperatures is meant to demonstrate that correlation does not imply causation.
The book urges readers to try Pastafarianism for 30 days, saying, "If you don't like us, your old religion will most likely take you back." Henderson states on his website that more than 100,000 copies of the book have been sold.
Pastafarian creation myth
The Gospel begins with the creation of the universe by an invisible and undetectable Flying Spaghetti Monster. On the first day, the Flying Spaghetti Monster separated the water from the heavens; on the second, because He could not tread water for long and had grown tired of flying, He created the land—complemented by a beer volcano. Satisfied, the Flying Spaghetti Monster overindulged in beer from the beer volcano and woke up hungover. Between drunken nights and clumsy afternoons, the Flying Spaghetti Monster produced seas and land (for a second time, accidentally, because he forgot that he created it the day before) along with Heaven and a midget, which he named Man. Man and an equally short woman lived happily in the Olive Garden of Eden for some time until the Flying Spaghetti Monster caused a global flood in a cooking accident.
This creation, "claimed" by Pastafarians to be only 5,000 years ago, would be considered laughable by many scientists. To this, Henderson satirically retorts that the Flying Spaghetti Monster presented all evidence to the contrary in order to test Pastafarians' faith. In addition to parodying certain biblical literalists, Henderson uses this unorthodox method to lampoon intelligent design proponents, who he believes first "define [their] conclusion and then gather evidence to support it".
Captain Mosey and the Eight "I'd Really Rather You Didn'ts"
The book contains the Eight "I'd Really Rather You Didn'ts", adherence to which enables Pastafarians to ascend to heaven, which includes a stripper factory and beer volcano. According to The Gospel, Mosey the Pirate captain received ten stone tablets as advice from the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Of these original ten "I'd Really Rather You Didn'ts", two were dropped on the way down from Mount Salsa. This event "partly accounts for Pastafarians' flimsy moral standards." The "I'd Really Rather You Didn'ts" address a broad array of behavior, from sexual conduct to nutrition. One reviewer commented that this parody of the Ten Commandments "reads like a bitter shopping list of the same criticisms" given to organized religions. One commandment is "I'd really rather you didn't build multimillion-dollar synagogues / churches / temples / mosques / shrines to [His] Noodly Goodness when the money could be better spent ending poverty, curing diseases, living in peace, loving with passion and lowering the cost of cable."
Scientific American described The Gospel as "an elaborate spoof on Intelligent Design" and "very funny". In 2006, it was nominated for the Quill Award in Humor but did not win. Brenner Wayne of The Austin Chronicle characterized the book as "a necessary bit of comic relief in the overly serious battle between science and superstition." Simon Singh of the Daily Telegraph wrote that the Gospel "might be slightly repetitive... but overall it is a brilliant, provocative, witty and important gem of a book." Reviewers at both the University of Pittsburgh and Penn State were generally positive about the book. In his book The God Delusion, biologist Richard Dawkins commented: "I am happy to see that the Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster has been published as a book, to great acclaim." Meanwhile, Casey Luskin of the Discovery Institute, the hub of the Intelligent Design movement, labeled the Gospel "a mockery of the Christian New Testament".
- Boyles, Michael (2006-03-30). "A buffet of carbs for your soul". U. Pittsburgh: BOOK REVIEW (Financial Times Ltd.). Retrieved 28 January 2010. "The Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster is a light and enjoyable read that takes a humorous approach to the Intelligent Design/Evolution debate, leaving neither side unscathed in the process."
- Vergano, Dan (2006-03-27). ""Spaghetti Monster" is noodling around with faith". USA Today Science & Space article. Retrieved 2007-02-05.
- Henderson, Bobby (2006). "The FSM Book". Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Venganza.org. Archived from the original on 27 April 2010. Retrieved 2009-10-18.
- "Verbatim: Noodle This, Kansas". Washington Post. August 28, 2005.
- Page, Clarence (November 15, 2005). "Keeping ID out of science classes". Dallas Morning News.
- Boxer, Sarah (2005-08-29). "But Is There Intelligent Spaghetti Out There?". New York Times Arts article. Retrieved 2007-02-05.
- Henderson, Bobby (2005). "Open Letter To Kansas School Board". Retrieved 2007-01-09.
- "Discussion of the Open Letter". Henderson, Bobby. Retrieved 2007-04-07.
- "In the beginning there was the Flying Spaghetti Monster". London: Daily Telegraph. September 11, 2005. Retrieved 2009-12-19.
- "The Flying Spaghetti Monster". New Scientist. August 6, 2005.
- Rothschild, Scott (August 24, 2005). "Evolution debate creates monster". Lawrence Journal-World.
- Henderson, Bobby (August 2006). "Comment on the Open Letter". Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Retrieved 30 December 2009.
- Singh, Simon (2006-09-03). "Was the world created by god, evolution or pasta?". The Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved 28 November 2009.
- Wolff, Eric (November 16, 2005). "The Case For Intelligent Design: Spaghetti as the Creator". New York Magazine. Retrieved 29 January 2010.
- Craig, Katleen (December 22, 2005). "Passion of the Spaghetti Monster". Wired News. Retrieved 29 January 2010.
- "The Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster". Random House. 2009. Retrieved 2009-10-18.
- Brenner, Wayne (2006-04-14). "The Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster". The Austin Chronicle. Austin Chronicle Corp. Retrieved 2009-10-18.
- The Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, p.123
- Van Horn, Gavin; Lucas Johnston (2007). "Evolutionary Controversy and a Side of Pasta: The Flying Spaghetti Monster and the Subversive Function of Religious Parody". GOLEM: Journal of Religion and Monsters 2 (1). Retrieved 2010-01-29.
- Savino, John; Marie D. Jones (2007). "Wrath of the Gods". Supervolcano: The Catastrophic Event That Changed the Course of Human History: Could Yellowstone Be Next. Career Press. p. 56. ISBN 978-1-56414-953-4. Retrieved 2009-11-25.
- The Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, p.xiv
- The Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, p.70
- The Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, p.72
- The Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, p.37
- Grus, Doel (2009). "Pastafarianism is False". Your Religion Is False. Brightwalton LLC. p. 74. ISBN 978-0-9824818-0-6. Retrieved 2010-01-24.
- Citta, Kyle (2008-12-14). "CITTA: Pastafarianism garners as much hard evidence as intelligent design". Daily Nebraskan. Retrieved 24 January 2010.
- The Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, p.77
- Rundle, Megan (2006-04-07). "Henderson tackles Intelligent Design with humor". Penn State: BOOK REVIEW (Financial Times Ltd). Retrieved 28 January 2010. "The Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster is a humorous and refreshing poke at a serious and controversial topic."
- Dawkins, Richard (2006). "The God Hypothesis". The God delusion. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2006. p. 53. ISBN 978-0-618-68000-9. Retrieved 2010-01-29.
- Luskin, Casey (2006-12-25). "'Celebrating' Christmas at the 'Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster'". Evolution News & Views (Discovery Institute). Retrieved 26 November 2009.
- Bobby Henderson. The Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. (2006). ISBN 0-8129-7656-8
- This version has a white cover showing a hardcover version with ribbon, the UK hardcover edition from HarperCollins later used the depicted design.
- Bobby Henderson. The Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster (hardcover). (2006). ISBN 0-00-723160-1