FSM Getting More Credit Than He Deserves ** UPDATED**
Religious scholars are meeting this weekend to discuss the pseudo-deity known as the Flying Spaghetti Monster. According to Wikipedia, FSM was created in 2005 by physics major Bobby Henderson in order to protest the teaching of intelligent design in Kansas classrooms. Since its wide media exposure, the FSM is used by atheists and agnostics alike to discredit the existence of God.
The American Academy of Religion has a few talks on its plate (no pun intended) about the Noodly Master. The graduate students giving the talks, Samuel Snyder, Alyssa Beall, and Gavin Van Horn, insist that this carbohydrate creator raises serious questions about the origin and practice of religion.
In other words, are religions based on theology or on practices? Most atheists would argue that religion is only a method to control behavior. They point to made-up religions like pastafarianism as a way to make this point. Richard Dawkins refers to it in The God Delusion, and frequently in debates.
So what are the grad students’ conclusions? I guess we’ll have to wait for the papers to be published. I just think that this lends far too much credence to a phenomenon that already has too much attention.
Dr. William Lane Craig agrees with that:
I think you can see that the Flying Spaghetti Monster is vastly overrated, both as a parody and as a being. As a parody, he fails to show that an inference to an intelligent designer of the universe is either illegitimate or unwarranted. What the parody shows is that we are not justified in attributing to our explanatory postulates arbitrary properties that are not justified by the evidence. Natural theologians have always known this. That’s why, for example, Thomas Aquinas, after his five brief paragraphs in his Summa theologiae proving the existence of a being “to which everyone gives the name ‘God’,” goes on to discuss in the next nine questions God’s simplicity, perfection, goodness, limitlessness, omnipresence, immutability, eternity, and unity.
As a being, the Flying Spaghetti Monster comes up drastically deficient as an explanation of those phenomena, some of which you list, which lie at the basis of the arguments for God’s existence. Those arguments, if all sound, as I think they are, require cumulatively a being which is the metaphysically necessary, self-existent, beginningless, uncaused, timeless, spaceless, immaterial, personal, omnipotent, omniscient Creator and Designer of the universe, who is perfectly good, whose nature is the standard of goodness, and whose commands constitute our moral duties.
The real lesson to be learned from the case of the Flying Spaghetti Monster is that it shows how completely out of touch our popular culture is with the great tradition of natural theology. (source)