Flying Spaghetti Monster

Networked religion

Flying Spaghetti Monster

In 2005, Bobby Henderson wrote a letter to the Kansas State Board of Education regarding the Flying Spaghetti Monster. He argued that the monster had created the universe, and that his beliefs were just as valid as other religions. His satirical religion is closely connected to education, and he asked for just as much time in science and biology classes as is reserved for intelligent design and evolution. The letter started as an argument against the teaching of intelligent design in biology classes.

Henderson also had a website regarding the religion, and as the letter to the board spread, his website gained more attention and support. It appeared on internet culture websites, and after a while also spread to mainstream culture. The religion became a symbol for the case against intelligent design in public education. Later in the year, Henderson wrote The Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. 

The religion plays out mainly online, however there are also some offline holidays, such as “Holiday” in December. Merchandise can be found, such as bumper stickers and red wine labels. It is a networked community, because the members form a community on forums. In 2010, “The Loose Canon, the Holy Book of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster” was created, which consists of texts written by “Pastafarians”. The religion has a narrative, referencing the creation of the world, the afterlife, visions of the spaghetti monster, etc. The authority has shifted to a 24-year old physics graduate, which may not resemble other official positions.

Text by Emma Wieringa