Monday, 22 April 2013

Joke religion collides with real bureaucracy

Nobody is really a Pastafarian. Sometimes - on BoingBoing, mostly - a story will come up saying that so-and-so, a "devout Pastafarian", has been denied freedom of religious expression because somebody refused to let him/her wear a colander on his/her head for an official photograph (driver's license, passport etc). This is a joke, of course, because nobody actually believes that the world was created by a flying spaghetti monster. It's a highly sarcastic point rooted in a belief in strict materialism - nothing exists outside this observable universe of matter and energy.

So my question is this: although Pastafarianism is meant to ridicule all religions, what point does it make to insist on wearing a colander on your head for your driver's license photo? Are you making the point that religious headgear should not be allowed in such photos? Are you just making fun of the officials involved for not having heard the joke? In essence, I believe that referencing Pastafarianism in this way makes it out to be more than an argument against religion, and implies that you actually take the belief seriously, which you don't.

The weird part is that the BoingBoing article is usually written as if it encourages religious tolerance, but you don't have to go far in the comments before getting to "When are we going to destroy all religion because grar millitant atheism grar!"

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Pastafarianism is, strictly speaking, not compatible with religious tolerance.
PPS - If only because it is a way of saying "all religion is ridiculous".

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