back to article Official: Pastafarian strainer titfer is religious headgear

Pastafarians worldwide are celebrating after a landmark Austrian decision in favour of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster paved the way for its recognition as a full-fat religion. Until now, worshippers of His Noodly Appendages have until now been nothing more than a marginal cult battling the dark forces of …

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  1. Andrew Richards
    Coat

    He waited two years?

    Well, in for a penne...

  2. Getter lvl70 Druid Silver badge
    Pint

    Science Be Praised!

    Richard Dawkins, showed them the way -- and how it is OK to be a dick to people you don't agree with......

    p.s. The sea otters had the correct answer to the Great Question IMO.....

    1. Glyn 2

      hmm

      Is pointing out the ridiculousness of items of clothes as religious symbols being a dick?

      Or pointing out the general ridiculousness of religion come to that?

      1. Getter lvl70 Druid Silver badge
        Devil

        The latter.

        and how SouthPark already covered the Flying Spaghetti Monster in 2006 - "I will crush the Time Child's skull on my tummy"..... loved it.

        I don't subscribe to organized religion - What I believe is between me and Him, no need to wear a special club jacket or tinfoil hats lol.

        1. James Micallef Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          Two thumbs up

          "What I believe is between me and Him"

          As the great Bill Hicks said : "No middleman required"

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        It all depends on how you go about it...

        Atheists often forget that the non-existence of God is also a matter of faith,

        and can be equally guilty of the "I'm right you're wrong" rhetoric.

        1. Andrew Richards

          Atheism is not faith

          To AC @14th July 2011 12:48 GM

          Throw crumbs to troll... Okay: I don't collect stamps. I am not a non-stamp collector.

          Start with nothing and add faith. Or start with nothing and don't need to make up stuff.

          Either way, semantics aside, your interpretation of atheism doesn't suggest the existance of a god more than anything else.

          Do you explicitly not believe in Russell's teapot orbiting the earth? Prove what you think is true or ascribe it to faith. Don't assume I think about your position to have any faith about it.

        2. Ken Hagan Gold badge

          Re: It depends

          Theists, for their part, often forget that whilst absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, it most certainly is a valid reason to ignore the thing in question.

          You can't prove that the universe wasn't created by a giant todger, but that's no reason for you to worship one and as far as I'm aware, nobody does. Funny that...

          1. Captain Hogwash Silver badge
            Angel

            "...as far as I'm aware, nobody does."

            Er, maybe not any more....

            http://www.king-tut.org.uk/egyptian-gods/sun-god-ra.htm

            1. Ken Hagan Gold badge
              Coat

              Re: maybe not any more

              Oh yeah, I forgot about that one. Thanks for the, er, heads up.

          2. Sigabrt

            Really?

            I'm not convinced that theism is nothing but atheism with a belief in God plonked on top. Everybody has a set of philosophical assumptions which they view the world through, the person who adopts a naturalistic worldview has to defend their assumptions just like anybody else. The atheist will make affirmative claims about all kins of things -questions ranging from why, out of all the universes which the big bang could have given rise to, did it produced this one through to questions over how we go about deciding what behaviour is morally acceptable. Even if atheism is not itself a faith claim, it forces you into a corner where you end up making claims that most defiantly are.

            Either you claim that Richard Dawkins wrote over 400 pages on absolutely nothing or atheism is a whole lot more than a lack of belief in God.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Stop

          I don't need faith to be an Atheist.

          The total lack of evidence (and no, some Stone Age scribbling doesn't count as evidence)in any deity is more than enough for me to not believe in something however many people have delusions to the contrary.

          I'm an Atheist that accepts there is no God based on the lack of evidence.

          Others are Theists that accept there must be a God based on Stone Age scribbling and the lack of evidence.

          Guess which position needs faith.

        4. Glyn 2
          Angel

          hmm

          Isn't faith a belief that is not based on proof? And usually it's a belief that can't be changed by any amount of demonstratable facts (flat earth society anyone). Faith's proof is a book of some form, usually written a while after the events described, transcribed from oral traditions (with all the inherent problems that brings), by people who had visions (which would now be described as madness/hallucinations/etc. David Icke!!!) which at some point has been edited or interpretted in different ways by different people.

          Science's proof is a series of books written at the end of a process exactly as it happened by literate people where any changes to the belief are made by observation of the facts, not whether you believe the writers son-in-law or cousin should write the next chapter.

          There is no end point to science but it moves in one direction, whereas with faith there's an endpoint, but that endpoint moves according to the person viewing it.

          There may be a deity (deities) up there but I've seen nothing from any of the current world faiths that convices me. Maybe we've just not written the right book yet.

          1. Fred Flintstone Gold badge
            Devil

            Theists?

            Given that the discussion suddenly veered into teapots surely those are teaists? Is that the religion for the next census or is that too close to some US political party? :-)

          2. Maty
            Headmaster

            ummm

            Bronze Age scribbling (and quite a bit of Iron Age too ...)

          3. DanceMan
            Paris Hilton

            Fixed it for you

            Isn't the Tea Party a belief that is not based on proof? And usually it's a belief that can't be changed by any amount of demonstratable facts (Republicans anyone).

            If only it weren't merely a joke.

            Paris, because she has a better grasp on reality than the average true believer.

        5. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          And the thumbs down have it..

          They're right, I'm wrong...

          Before the invention of the microscope, the germ theory of disease got a really rough ride:

          "you expect me to believe disease is caused by tiny invisible... creatures?"

          "Can't see 'em. never will see 'em. We've discovered everything we're going to. Move along, nothing to see here. "

          & for those who say they don't need faith, do they fully understand everything they rely on for their daily existence (they've got more time than me), or do they take some things as read?

          1. Glyn 2
            Coat

            hmm

            > Before the invention of the microscope, the germ theory of disease got a really rough ride:

            > "you expect me to believe disease is caused by tiny invisible... creatures?"

            > "Can't see 'em. never will see 'em. We've discovered everything we're going to.

            > Move along, nothing to see here.

            You can see 'em, a man in a white coat can show them to you

            Science (as a belief system) is one for the open minded who know that they don't know everything and more than likely never will. That's the joy of the universe, once you understand something more questions appear and you've got to answer them, sometimes, those answers will mean the original question needs reinvestigating. Round and round we go, each time learning a bit more.

            There are some like Fred Hoyle who stick with their opinion regardless of where the evidence leads, which is quite religionlike.

            Religion (or rather organised religion) is for people who accept anything they're told regardless of how much it doesn't match their own experiences and how much demonstratable proof of a theory exists. Galileo and others have been punished for their theories which have only recently been accepted as true by the religious authorities. By this in a century or two evolution and the universe being more than 6000 years old will eventually be accepted as true.

            Then there's the grasping at semantics. A program a few months ago had a religious tyke saying that as it's called the theory of evolution so as it's only a theory therefore isn't true. It's why I now always refer to it as the law of evolution ;)

            Religion is a mental crutch we developed to cope with uncertainty and death. As a species we've just got to accept that when you die, your brain stops working and that's it. There are no reapers, pearly gates, virgins, swirly patterns or whatever other versions of an afterlife. Your time on this earth has ended.

            You're only here for a while so don't be a pratt complaining that someone else has drawn a picture, eaten bacon or defaced a book, when it doesn't matter. Enjoy it and do no harm, simple rules for life I think.

            Mines the white one.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              You can see 'em, a man in a white coat can show them to you

              Now you can, you couldn't then.

              My analogy is to the current situation, where people believe if you can't see it, or measure it, it doesn't exist. They couldn't see germs then, but they still existed, and had an impact on their lives they couldn't ignore.

            2. Ken Hagan Gold badge

              Re: the "Theory of Evolution"

              "A program a few months ago had a religious tyke saying that as it's called the theory of evolution so as it's only a theory therefore isn't true. It's why I now always refer to it as the law of evolution ;)"

              I'd say you're half right. Evolution is not a theory. However, it isn't a proven law either. It's an observed fact. Stuff changes. Things living now are just different from things living a hundred million years ago. The "speculative" part is the theory of natural selection, which provides an explanation for how those changes might happen. Darwin and Wallace developed the theory to explained the by-then-already-accepted fact of evolution, as observed in the fossil record.

              Given what we now know about genetics (with credit due to Mendel at the end of the 19thC and Crick and Watson in the middle of the 20thC) it just isn't very speculative anymore. It's hard to see how you could fail to get natural selection in a world where genes are constantly and selectively weeded out of the population. But in the middle of the 19thC, Darwin and Wallace were effectively saying that such mechanisms would eventually be found and *that* was quite a bold hypothesis.

              But as I said, you are right to bother about terminology. If more people spoke about the "Theory of Natural Selection" and the "Observed Fact of Evolution" then spectators might take issue with the terminology and learn something. (Two things, actually.)

              1. Glyn 2
                Trollface

                Indeed

                You a correct but if you refer to it as the law of evolution it annoys them more. Trolling is for real life, not just the interwebs ;)

          2. Anonymous Coward
            FAIL

            Re: And the thumgs down have it..

            The difference between the sort of basic faith that the world will continue working as it is and religious faith is that religious faith always (or almost, can't think of a situation where it doesn't right now though) demands that you have faith in something that goes directly against your observational experience, whereas the other dictates that your observational experience is generally quite a good way to judge things. That means, that all the knowledge you take from your experience in life, all the books you've read about physics, or chemistry or biology. You have to just throw all that in the gutter in order to have faith in the main tenets of any religion. That is the big difference. One is based on the knowledge we have of how the world tends to work, and one is based on rejecting that knowledge, and in general, it's the rejecting of knowledge that is called faith, since everyone has the first one (maybe except Christian Scientists and other nutcases), so there's no point trying to suggest it distinguishes one person from another, or that it's important.

            By suggesting that we have faith means that you have missed the point utterly, our lack of faith is "religious faith" but shortened, and if that's the best argument you have against atheism then maybe you should lay off the apologist books a little, because this is typical of the ridiculous reasoning that they tend to spew out for believers.

            It's like the argument that atheists have a faith in science instead of a faith in god. But is that really true? Do you expect a ball to float upwards when you let go of it, because you don't have any faith in gravity? Do you think that any scientist who happens to have faith is in some way a worse scientist than me because he doesn't have room for faith in science? The argument suggests that atheists can be distinguished from believers because of a difference of faith in science, but I think anyone who has progressed past the earth being 6000 years old arguments should be rightly insulted by this, whether they believe or not.

          3. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

            Re: And the thumbs down have it

            "& for those who say they don't need faith, do they fully understand everything they rely on for their daily existence (they've got more time than me), or do they take some things as read?"

            Perhaps you can explain why you think not understanding something is a good reason to turn to faith (as if that's going to answer the question?)

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Not understanding...

              Just one example.

              many people don't understand how a car works internally, but they have faith in the mfrs, that the car will be up to the job. They don't personally verify everything is safe, they have faith that they are protected by consumer laws and mfrs diligence, without going into the details.

              Same with flying, using computers, electricity - anything. There's always a level at which you haven't personally understood or verified something that you rely on.

              Not saying that the faith is always justified. Experience informs us of that one way or the other, and everyone's experience is different.

              And I wasn't attacking the validity of atheism in any way. The person who said we're all agnostic is right. You won't really know until you get to the other side, or not.

              Seems I touched a nerve.

          4. Ken Hagan Gold badge

            Re: germ theory of diseases got a rough ride

            And quite right too.

            Actually, since the microscope predates just about all medical knowledge bar Galen (and that's not saying much) I'm not sure there was much of a theory, but even if there was I have no problem with it getting a rough ride before there was any evidence to back it up. But maybe that's just me because...

            I have no problem with changing my mind in the light of new evidence and I have no problem with saying "I don't know." when confronted by something I don't understand. However, I have noticed that some people feel obliged to invent an answer in such cases and really object to changing their mind when evidence eventually turns up.

            I think the latter is the recognised phenomenon of confirmation bias. As far as I know, however, the former isn't a recognised psychological trait. (If anyone knows better, I'd be interested to know.) My gut feeling is that the two are correlated, but I've no hard data so I'd better be good and say "I don't know."!

        6. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge
          FAIL

          Re: It all depends on how you go about it...

          It's been said before many times by many people, but it bears saying again. Atheism is a faith/religion in much the same way that not collecting stamps is a hobby.

          Expanding on that, the assumption of non-existence of anything must always the default position; the null hypothesis. Religionists have never managed to reject that hypothesis, so why should a position of not accepting the existence of something whose existence hasn't been proven be called "faith"?

          Show me incontrovertible evidence for the existence of a supernatural being whose worship will have a beneficial effect on my life and the lives of the people I care about and I'll be the first convert to your religion. Essentially, put up, or shut up.

    2. Getter lvl70 Druid Silver badge
      FAIL

      Mental Note:

      Never, ever, bring up a SouthPark reference n a British IT site... you will take a beating from both atheists, Christians, AND the Jedi it seems.. I got it, I got it! Have Mercy!

      :)

  3. ravenviz
    Coat

    Church of FSM

    See how it starts, with disbelief, mockery and persecution. Maybe in two-thousand years this will be a prominent religion.

    <--- Mine's the one with: two with points, a big flat one and a packet of gravel

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Go

    Well if Scientology can do it

    There aren't any tennents of faith in scientology, yet they are recognised as a religion all over the place ... except in the UK where they are still officially a cult; courtesy of a judge or two's ruling.

  5. Code Monkey
    Thumb Down

    What an arse

    To me being an arse about a spoof religion is exactly as bad as being an arse about one that claims to be genuine.

    How about: we're atheists, let's not be arses at all?

  6. Paul Naylor
    WTF?

    I'm confuzzed...

    I thought the whole point of the the Flying Spaghetti Monster was to highlight the inherent ridiculousness of organised religion and blind faith in a magic sky zombie? Becoming a recognised religion pretty much legitimizes the concepts they were rallying against. Or are they being "ironic"?

    Could someone enlighten me?

    1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

      ...And in France...

      ...Where the cult is illegal IIRC.

    2. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

      I think the point is...

      ...that if they are an officially recognised religion, it brings the concept of officially recognising religions down to the level of ridicule. Where it belongs.

      In other words, it is ridiculous to state that different rules apply to you because you believe in some nonsense that a number of other people also, wrongly, believe in.

      Don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with believing whatever you like, it's when you start acting as if the things you believe in are palpable facts when there is no evidence for them, and making laws to support you in those actions, that the problems arise.

      Flame on religious types! The Christians, at least, have to forgive me anyway.

      1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge
        Alien

        Holy crap!

        Not a single down vote on a post flaming religion? Something's not right...

        "Wake up Neo"

    3. The Indomitable Gall

      Ah, but....

      This is the internet...

      http://xkcd.com/386/

    4. Your Retarded
      Joke

      Well I know that some people are religious about Lager...

      I suppose they would drink Tennent's of faith?

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Down

      Not recognised in Germany or Austria...

      AFAICT, and there are plenty of elements of faith in Scientology.

      All the stuff about thetans - unprovable, you have to take it on faith.

      But that alone doesn't qualify it for legal recognition as a religion.

      Nor does being recognised somewhere prove that they should be recognised everywhere.

      Pushing for CoSFM and Jediism to be recognised might seem like a fun joke, but from there it's a short step to granting recognition to Scientology, which I'm a lot less comfortable with.

      Unless it drives us the other way, and we remove special legal status from all religions.

      I'm with the French in that regard: Church (of whatever) and State should be separate.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I'm all for all removal of faith legal recognition

        It is an arse of a situation that a judge can be carrying a kirpan (there is at least one judge who does in the UK) in a court of law, while passing judgement and sentancing someone to jail for carrying a blade in the UK.

        The American's at least forced the kirpan to be riveted in to the sheath.

        Faith gets exceptions to laws that the rest of us have to live by; and there are more examples where that came from.

        Many of them (like the burqa) are actually cultural and have nothing to do with religious belief or prescription.

        Level the playing field, is what I say.

        Thetans are actually part of the science of dianetics, a description of a state of the human condition. The only religious tennant I've come across in scientology is actually the belief in reincrarnation ... but I'm telling you, reading Dianetics and analysing it is very, very hard going. Trying to take the book seriously is very hard when all I want to do is laugh myself stupid ... but I'm trying! http://dianeticjourney.blogspot.com/

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        BTW...

        That's the definition of thetan as published by Dianetics and not any of the other documents like OT 8. If they want religious status, then they have to come forward to the government concerned and prove their tennants, else they should actually be getting the same response to their religious status applications as our intrepid Spaghetti Monster believer did here.

        1. Jedit
          FAIL

          "The science of dianetics"

          I can only presume you meant to type "the bullshit fabricated to sucker in morons and people with severe self-esteem issues of dianetics"? Easy mistake to make, the keys are right next to each other.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Yeh, you're right

            "science" should have been in large quotes, followed by a few *cough*s. However I'd then have had to go on to ROTFLMAO and various other things which would have likely started me off laughing again.

        2. Captain TickTock
          Headmaster

          "tenets"

          is the word you're after

    6. BristolBachelor Gold badge
      Trollface

      No, I can see a point

      It encourages discussion about it. If FSM is not accepted, you have to ask why. If they say because it started as a joke, how do they know that the others didn't?

      Tell them to find the test that proves it is not real, but the others are. (The Spanish say that there is no real faith in FSM, but that only means you have to find other more gullable people to start it off; preferably ones that haven't already latched on to one of the other religions.)

    7. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Down

      You have no idea....

      Where Pastafarianism came from, have you?

      1. Mark Pitchless
        Joke

        Pastafarianism came from

        Cornwall?

        1. Glyn 2
          Facepalm

          hmm

          That's Pastyfarianism which is a scism based on pirates with beards, as opposed to Pastafarianism which accepts all pirates regardless of facial hirsuteness. Ultra orthodox Pastafarians if you will.

          They also have slightly rounder hats.

          An easy mistake and common mistake to make but you've still got a fatwah out on you now.

          Sorry about that.

    8. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Scientology and religion

      Aren't they a religion for tax purposes?

      1. ElReg!comments!Pierre Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: Scientology and religion

        "Aren't they a religion for tax purposes?"

        I heard that they are, in some strange country where creationism is considered a valid science and where local authorities are allowed to decrete that Pi=3*.

        Most people would have written "in $COUNTRY, aren't they a religion for tax purposes?" but I guess that the citizens of the glorious U S and A are dispensed with unimportant details, like the existence of other countries with different laws. In some of them, the CoS is an illegal cult (as it should damn well be).

        *I believe that this law, although never enforced, is actually still valid in one state. Finding which one is left as an exercise for the reader.

        1. Mark 65

          FYI Pierre

          In Australia they get a tax break for it, and I think you'll find that in the UK charities and churches (believe latter effectively become the former) get a good deal on tax.

          Best clean up on your knowledge before replying to others about things you obviously know nothing about.

    9. A. Coatsworth
      Thumb Up

      Re: What an arse

      If only, mr. Code Monkey, if only...

      But in my experience there is a minority of atheist than can be as annoying and fanatic as the very well known minority of annoying and fanatic god-botherers.

      I think the down votes in your post exemplify this...

  7. Andy Farley
    Coat

    What a...

    fusilli thing to do.

  8. Matt Hawkins
    Megaphone

    Atheists often forget

    "Atheists often forget that the non-existence of God is also a matter of faith,"

    No it isn't.

    You don't need faith to not believe in something that someone else has invented.

    It's up to someone who claims something exists to demonstrate it.

    There is no all-you-can-eat-Burger-King on the dark side of the moon. I don't need to prove its non-existence. You don't need faith to not agree it exists. Otherwise you would need "faith" that the infinite number of things I can imagine don't exist. That's an awful lot of faith. Which doesn't say much about faith does it?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      According to the dictionary, apparently it is

      faith

      - 8 dictionary results

      1.

      confidence or trust in a person or thing: faith in another's ability.

      2.

      belief that is not based on proof: He had faith that the hypothesis would be substantiated by fact.

      3.

      belief in god or in the doctrines or teachings of religion: the firm faith of the Pilgrims.

      4.

      belief in anything, as a code of ethics, standards of merit, etc.: to be of the same faith with someone concerning honesty.

      5.

      a system of religious belief: the Christian faith; the Jewish faith.

      6.

      the obligation of loyalty or fidelity to a person, promise, engagement, etc.: Failure to appear would be breaking faith.

      7.

      the observance of this obligation; fidelity to one's promise, oath, allegiance, etc.: He was the only one who proved his faith during our recent troubles.

      8.

      Christian Theology . the trust in God and in His promises as made through Christ and the Scriptures by which humans are justified or saved.

      Atheist, agnostic, infidel, skeptic refer to persons not inclined toward religious belief or a particular form of religious belief. An atheist is one who denies the existence of a deity or of divine beings. An agnostic is one who believes it impossible to know anything about God or about the creation of the universe and refrains from commitment to any religious doctrine. Infidel means an unbeliever, especially a nonbeliever in Islam or Christianity. A skeptic doubts and is critical of all accepted doctrines and creeds.

      ---

      I do not believe there is a god. Therefore I have a belief. My belief is that there is no god. My belief is not based on proof, as there is no proof that there is not a god. Therefore, Aethism is, by definition of dictionary.com ... a faith.

      However, I note that dictionary.com also has definition number 8 which specifically mentions christian theology, but none other ... so proving that dictionary.com isn't an impartial reference on this subject.

      1. Cameron Colley
        Alien

        @Michelle Knight

        Did you read the post you replied to?

        If so, did you notice that if you include Atheism as a faith becasue it is a belief in an absense you are also stating that everyone in the human race subscribes to an infinite number of faiths? Also, not believing in something is only a belief that it doesn't exist if you mess around with double negatives -- you may as well say that there is no such thing as Chrstianity, just lapsed ahteism, because everyone who is a Christian is really just not an atheist (resolved from them being not-not-christian, since an atheist is not-christian). Heck, I just realised that those silly Muslims are just not-not-christian after all -- that means all Muslims are really Christian. Or is it that those silly Christians are really Muslim, by similar logic? Shit, are we all either Scientologists or not? NOW I'm scared...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          @Cameron

          I didn't say whether or not I was happy with the definition ... merely that by definition of the English language - or at least the definition of language that comes out of dictinoary.com ... then aethism is, indeed, a faith. With all the consequences thereof, etc., etc., etc.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            My individual interpretation - feel free to flame me to hell.

            "An atheist is one who denies the existence of a deity or of divine beings. An agnostic is one who believes it impossible to know anything about God or about the creation of the universe and refrains from commitment to any religious doctrine."

            The definitions of atheist and agnostic need to be looked at closer. An atheist is someone who has a belief in there being no god. An agnostic couldn't care whether or not there is a god and has no position on the debate.

            An atheist has a belief that there is no god, but can not support that belief with fact. An agnostic, however, is still able to complain to society if they are being treated unequally to people who have a faith, without that making them an atheist.

            That is, at least, how I am interpreting what I'm reading.

            Heck, with two thumbs down to a post that made straightforward logical conclusions from language definitions, I dare say that there are plenty of people who will have differing interpretations.

            Can we please have an icon for, "Flame suit donned... let me have it." ?

            1. ElReg!comments!Pierre Silver badge

              Atheism and agnosticism

              "Atheist: a person who does not believe in the existence of God or gods"

              There's no faith in that. Litterally. Or maybe Mr Oxford Dictionnary is wrong?

              BTW an agnostic is not someone who doesn't care but someone who lacks "gnosis", i.e. knowledge, of the nature -or existence- of god(s)More, specifically, someone who think that such a knowledge is impossible to acquire. You can actually be religious AND agnostic (although I bet there are not many of these; believing in something while thinking that you cannot possibly know in what, or if it really exists, takes an impressive amount of faith).

            2. Cameron Colley

              Atheism is only a faith of you start from a position of faith.

              As this is a topic which is important to me I'll make a serious attempt at explaining my position.

              In order to define fairh you need a starting point. Someone can have a faith that there is no spoon because they think, therefore they are, and can then feel a spoon and see a spoon -- they then choose not to beleive the evidence, so have faith there is no spoon.

              There is absolutely no proof of the existence of a god, so there is nothing to have faith in the absence of.

              If you start from a position of faith, with no proof to begin with, then faith is an invalid concept which, roughly, means "Not believing in anything I can make up on the spot.".

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Forgive me - I'm not following

                All these people are believing in gods with no proof to begin with either. So to me, it is a level playing field.

                They have no proof that there is a god and I have no proof that there isn't.

                A spoon exists. We know the object and we know what we are defining. What you are describing if I interpret correctly, is faith not in the spoon, but in the presence or absence of a spoon.

                Reading the definitions, having faith in something is believing in something (presence or absence doesn't actually matter) but not having any proof. "I have faith that there will be no down-votes on this post." A faith and belief can apply to a negative (absent) position as much as a positive (exists) point of view, surely?

                1. adrianww

                  The problem is...

                  ...if you go down the road that you're following, based purely on simplistic dictionary definitions of words (which are themselves malleable things) then everyone either ends up having to believe absolutely everything or absolutely nothing.

                  You're right that I can't prove that there isn't a god. However, based on the current evidence, I can be fairly sure that there isn't one. Not absolutely 100% rock-solid certain, that's true, but pretty damned sure nevertheless.

                  There are lots of other things that I can't prove too. For example, I can't prove that the entire universe wasn't sneezed out of the nose of the Great Green Arkleseizure (thanks Douglas!). But once again, given the total and utter absence of any evidence of such an event, I can be pretty sure that that isn't what happened.

                  The point here is that I don't need any kind of faith to think that there isn't a god. I just need to look at the evidence and draw the obvious logical inference. Yes, I could end up being wrong, but in the meantime, I can be as sure about it as I am about lots of other things for which there is no evidence (moon being made of green cheese, etc. etc.)

                  Taking it one step further, if someone who does believe in a god then wants me to join in and believe as well, there's a really easy way for them to achieve that. Just show me some real direct tangible evidence. Or pretty much any verifiable, repeatable evidence in fact. Until they can do that, then I'm afraid that their sky fairy is, in all likelihood, still just a figment of their imagination. And I don't need to worry about it - no faith required (well, not on my part anyway).

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Ah....

                    Now here is where I get the problem. "Belief."

                    And I'm going to stop here and go no further.

                    From the other side of the coin, the religious believer has looked at the evidence and concluded that there is a god. They can't prove it either.

                    From what you've said, you can be said, (and I think this is correct) that you "believe" that the universe wasn't sneezed out, and you can also be said to "believe" that there isn't a god.

                    Can you explain why you are "fairly sure" that there isn't a god, but you don't "believe" that there isn't a god.

                    Can you see why I'm having difficulty understanding? Belief isn't tied purely to a religious matter, nor is it tied to needing a positive.

                    Like having faith in something. If you believe in something, then you have faith that it is true. Religion aside completely. I believe that my boss isn't reading this, so I have faith that I'll still have a job tomorrow.

                    When I look at myself and my life, it is based on these beliefs. A few big, many small. But belief it is and, by number 2 of the definitions, I have faith in what I'm doing and where I'm going, based on my beliefs.

                    1. ElReg!comments!Pierre Silver badge

                      Re: belief

                      "you can also be said to "believe" that there isn't a god."

                      Leaving the difference between faith and belief aside for now, no I can't. I cannot be said to de-collect stamps either. Atheism is the absence of faith, not it's symmetrical opposite (I believe that you call it agnosticism, but that's inexact. People who don't care and think it doesn't make a difference are atheists, not agnostics. Agnostics do care and reached the conclusion that there is no way to be sure. They can even be religious; that would be Descartes, who in a nutshell concluded that, in the absence of certainty, the potential benefits of faith outweight the inconvenience.).

                      In my case I would say that I'm an agnostic atheist. But I do think that religion is, socially speaking, an evil thing (regardless of the existence or inexistence of your mystical authority (ies) of choice. Yes, I'm allowed to do that). Religions used to be what held society together in less civilized times. Now it's actually tearing them appart if anything. But of course that has nothing to do with the existence of god(s), or lack thereof.

                      "the religious believer has looked at the evidence and concluded that there is a god." That used to be true up until the Renaissance, then the progress of sciences and philosophy forced the religions to slowly withdraw from the realm of evidence, a phenomenon that accelerated as science left less and less dark corners unexplored. Nowadays, appart from the occasionnal nutter who buys a "virgin Mary" piece of toast off eBay for a small fortune, very few people base their faith on physical-realm evidence. Which is OK with me as long as they don't bother the rest of us with it or try to use it to break the rules that the rest of us have to follow (aka The Law).

                    2. This post has been deleted by its author

                      1. Glyn 2

                        hmm

                        @Michelle

                        "They have no proof that there is a god and I have no proof that there isn't."

                        They have a book, which is all most religions need

                        @ElReg!comments!Pierre

                        "I also know which one of my grandfathers *thought* he was most useful to society, and which one actually *was*. Hint: not the same."

                        I know people of different faith levels who do good works and the less faith-filled they are, the more good they do and the less they go on about it.

                2. ElReg!comments!Pierre Silver badge

                  Re: Michelle (following)

                  Let's take the example of the spoon again. When you see an empty table, touch an empty table, do you need faith to not believe that a spoon is actually there? Theoretically there might be a spoon there and you might be missing it for a number of reasons (it could be hidden by a low-level perception filter, or it could be one second out of sync, to cite but the 2 most likely reasons). However in the absence of evidence you need faith* to believe there is actually a spoon there, not to _not_ believe it.

                  Absence of faith is _not_ faith in the absence (not necessarily anyway). I am no stamp collector but I don't de-collect stamps, or collect unstamps.

                  *faith, or a sonic screwdriver, of course.

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    FAIL

                    Re: Michelle

                    There is a reason that dictionary.com and other dictionaries split out the specific definition of faith as relates to religion "a system of religious belief: the Christian faith; the Jewish faith."

                    The reason for this is that actually virtually everything in society is faith based, if you accept that faith is simply belief in something unproven. Very little in the world is actually proven (using a strict mathematical measure of proof). In reality, the only way for me to prove anything is to set up a formal system of some form, and then to derive proofs using the axioms of my formal system. For example, gravity is unproven. There is no way to prove that gravity is universally true. Therefore, if I drop an apple, I can only have faith that it will fall. In fact, even after it has fallen, I can only have faith that my observation wasn't deceived in some way. However, we have such a compelling weight of observations that gravity universally applies that my faith in gravity is not considered a faith in the same way that a religion is considered a faith.

                    I have faith that god does not exist. But, at least to my scientific mind, that faith is backed up by a huge weight of evidence. My faith in atheism is not really different to my faith in gravity, evolution, quantum theory, quantum electro-dynamics. This is a different faith to that of religion simply because of the weight of evidence. The dictionary separates the definition for a reason. Faith in gravity is essentially a semantic faith. Faith in the existence of god is something wholly more philosophical.

            3. Stoneshop Silver badge
              Headmaster

              Get your definitions straight.

              >. An agnostic couldn't care whether or not there is a god and has no position on the debate.

              That's apatheism.

    2. Mike Richards

      'There is no all-you-can-eat-Burger-King on the dark side of the moon.'

      There isn't?????

      [puts Moon landing plans* back in the drawer]

      * hugely detailed:

      1: get to Moon

      2: Land

    3. Anonymous Coward
      WTF?

      Exactly

      IIRC Austria has a national ID database so this picture will appear on his next passport and national ID card. I wish him all the best crossing the borders of less enlightened countries outside the Shengen zone...

    4. Steven Roper
      Boffin

      To contribute my 2c worth

      Interestingly, I was just thinking about atheism and came up with this interesting idea, which I've posted on my blog, and thought for the atheists on this forum I would repost it here.

      My proof for atheism (that is, demonstration of the non-existence of God) is by argument from agnosticism as follows:

      We cannot know if the universe is the product of an intelligent mind or not (the agnostic hypothesis). This is because our minds, contained within our physical forms, cannot perceive beyond the limits of the universe in order to establish the existence of such an entity. The universe could, for example, be a virtual reality (a la the Matrix) or a lab experiment, or simply some super-being passing the time. Alternatively, it could simply be the result of a random combination of physical events that gave rise to what we now perceive as the universe.

      So we could assume that for the existence of *any* form of creator-intelligence there is a probability of x, and for the non-existence of same there is a probability of y, where x and y are finite values between zero and one, and where x + y = 1 (there is/is not a creator-intelligence being all possible states).

      So, there exists a finite and potentially measurable probability that the universe was created by *some* form of intelligence. But the moment you start *defining* the nature of said putative intelligence the odds become infinitely stacked against you. So if you say that the creator of the universe is called Yahweh and he sent his son in the form of Jesus to die for our sins, you've just defined one member of an infinite set of possible creator-intelligences that *could* exist. What if you're off by one letter and god's real name is Yalweh? Or Yarweh? Or... you get the idea.

      Thus, regardless of the *actual* probability of *any* kind of creator-intelligence existing (be it 0.5 or 0.1 or any other finite and measurable probability), the moment you put limits on any putative creator-intelligence by defining it in any way, because there exist an infinite number of *possible* creator-intelligences, as well as an infinite number of ways the universe could have come into existence without any creator-intelligence being involved, you are by definition instantiating one of an infinite possible number of creator-intelligences (this is why so many different religions exist, and in fact there are an infinite number of possible religions, one for each possible defined creator-intelligence.) Note that Protestant, Catholic, Baptist etc churches are classed as different religions in this context, because although the gods they worship are all called Yahweh and Jesus, their *definitions* of those putative intelligences differ by biblical interpretation and denomination.

      Unless you can perceive outside the universe (which we by nature cannot do) you cannot collapse this set to a defined quantum state by physical observation of the existence or non-existence of any said creator-intelligence - to "see the true face of god", as it were. The set of all possible creator-intelligences remains infinite unless we can thus perceive beyond the limits of the universe.

      Consequently, the probability of existence of any *defined* creator-intelligence, being a finite member of an infinite set, must mathematically be zero, since any finite number divided by infinity is zero.

      Therefore, the gods defined in the Bible, the Koran, the Vedas, the Talmud, or any other holy text that ever has been or ever will be written, do not exist. QED.

  9. Kevin 43
    WTF?

    "Psychologically Fit"

    What has being "Psychologically Fit" got to do with being a follower of a religion? I would have thought they were mutually exclusive propositions....

    "Are you psychologically fit?"

    "Yes"

    "But you DO belive in faries?"

    "Yes"

    1. 4HiMarks

      psychological fitness

      Even more questionable, what does being psychologically fit have to do with driving a car?

  10. Captain Hogwash Silver badge
    Coat

    If FSM exists

    Why would he allow gluten intolerance?

    1. Filippo

      Re: If FSM exists

      Gluten intolerance is a sin. The fact that people with gluten intolerance get sick when eating pasta is proof of the existance of the FSM.

      (makes about as much sense as some major faiths' standing on homosexuality...)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      It was a mistake.

      As you would know if you had read the FSM religious texts, before he created the world, he created beer. This is why the world makes no sense.

      1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

        Gluten intolerance?

        In his great wisdom and kindness, the FSM gave us buckwheat, to make gluten-free soba noodles!!

        Praise be!!

        can we have an FSM icon?

  11. Lamont Cranston
    Thumb Up

    Life became so much easier

    when I abandoned atheism in favour of casual agnosticism.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Saint

    Pray to Pastafarian saint TheJase of London when you next stuck on public transport.

    He offers a money back guarantee to be just as effective, if not more effective than any other saint or diety you care to put him up against.

  13. Titus Aduxass
    Pint

    a title

    I'd be a Pastafarian too.

    If I wasn't already a Jedi.

  14. Rogerborg

    As the great Bill Hicks said : "No middleman required"

    Yes, but Hicks was always ripping off Martin Luther.

  15. moonface
    Thumb Up

    Religious progress of a sort.

    I suppose a spaghetti strainer is at least, a bit more sturdier than turban, if he ever has a motorcycle crash!

    1. ElReg!comments!Pierre Silver badge

      Progress?

      Sturdier yes, but where the turban will absorb the shock the strainer will just pass it to the skull and thus might actually be worse. Of course, there's only one way to be sure...

      1. moonface

        absorb the shock

        I am sorry but you foolishly forgot to take into account the additional protective layer of al dente spaghetti!

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Proof that God exists

    My mother-in-law is a devout Christian of the Catholic persuasion, a more pious religious person you couldn't wish to meet, not even in a convent. She makes the Taliban look like novices, yes I know that's a trainee nun but they both go around wearing skirts only she's got more backbone.

    She's 90+ and quite honestly the only thing keeping her going is the thought of meeting her maker strange as that may sound. Now either somoene doesn't want her to spoil his party in heaven, because belive me when she gets up there that will be the end of any fun they may be having or he's giving her extra time to make my life miserable.

    That someone must be God and either way he's having a blood good laugh at my expense.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      More proof

      Must be a distant relative of my deceased ex-father-in-law.

      You made my Friday!

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Trollface

    You are all wrong

    Everyones an agnostic. However strong your faith you don't know.

  18. Blofeld's Cat
    Angel

    Proof...

    God: I refuse to prove that I exist; for proof denies faith and without faith I am nothing.

    Man: But the babelfish proves that you exist, and therefore you don't - Q.E.D.

    God: Oh I hadn't thought of that. (Vanishes in puff of logic).

    RIP Douglas Adams

  19. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge
    Happy

    Just a few questions

    - Since many are bashing organized religion, should we encourage disorganized religion instead?

    - If the CoFSM is a true religion, how many schisms has it had? (any organized religion worth its salt has had many)

    - Is there a prize for the best use of a pasta strainer?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Pint

      Schisms in CoFSM

      Yes, there have been numerous schisms in the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. For example, whilst I am a pastafarian, I do not believe in the wearing of pasta strainers. As such, I deeply renounce the actions of the crazed lunatic from the strainer sect. My non-pasta strainer sect is the only true sect, and is the only true way to worship the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

      1. Francis Boyle Silver badge

        And I'm a forker

        I believe all true Pastafarians should wear the ceremonial spaghetti fork tucked into their belt at all times.

    2. Glyn 2

      Indeed

      Non-organised religious people are the only ones I've got any time for. Does <insert deity here> need a massive ornate church/cathedral/mosque/synagogue <delete as appropriate> or do people?

      My Grandad was a non-organised believer, he never went to church because "God's everywhere, he can hear me wherever I pray, so why go to a church built with money that could have been better spent helping people than showing off"

      When you see the Pope in his finery, enormous cathedrals with their very expensive windows (and heating bills) mosques with very intricate pretty mosaic patterns on them, who's that for? Not God/Allah/Yahweh certainly!

      Indiana Jones had it right in the last crusade, the cup of a carpenter is plain, not a frilly gold ornament. He seemed to do a lot of preaching outside to groups of people about helping people, not giving instructions on how big the church must be or the gold purity that should be used in the cups.

  20. Eugene Goodrich
    Paris Hilton

    @"dark side of the moon"

    [['There is no all-you-can-eat-Burger-King on the dark side of the moon.']]

    Technically, there's no dark side of the moon. The moon gets lit pretty much everywhere over the course of a month. You mean the backside of the moon.

    Paris, natch.

  21. sT0rNG b4R3 duRiD
    Stop

    STOP STOP STOP STOP FIGHTING....

    Let's see this guy's message for what it is.

    Either he has valid complaint - about Muslim women wearing excessive headgear - or he has not.

    If Austria actually allow obscured pictures for ID, then his complaint is valid.

    If Austria does not, and all Muslim women need to show their faces, it's not an issue and he's probably just being an arse.

    But still, it's nevertheless food for thought - I am *NOT* for letting a newly-arriving-religion changing our way of life, but it may well be a possibility, so I would urge you to watch in your own space for any signs or plans of, um, unexpected or undesired change.

    Ultimately, remember we vote in people who make these changes.

    Please Europe. Take heed.

    Some sense, by the way, in a world that I think is sometimes mad :

    http://au.news.yahoo.com/a/-/world/9783284/nsw-cops-given-power-to-remove-veils/

    Good on the police and the Islamic Council of NSW for some apparent sense.

    1. Glyn 2

      hmm

      I think the main complaint is that muslim women can just show their face whereas you're not allowed to wear a hat or scarf in ID pictures if you're not a muslim woman.

      1. sT0rNG b4R3 duRiD

        @Glyn 2

        That's fair enough then, if all women can't wear scarves then he has a valid point....

        A full face is probably sufficient, I would suspect (but don't have the authority to argue), for an ID document, but double standards should not apply.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Mushroom

    athiesm is not a system

    "I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours." - - Stephen Roberts

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    god eh?

    I wonder if ol' Rupe hacked his phone too.

  24. Is it me?

    Nice to see tollerence in action.

    Reg. you must be proud of yourselves.

    1. Lester Haines (Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

      Re: Nice to see tollerence in action.

      What on His Noodly Appendage's Green Earth are you talking about?

      1. Getter lvl70 Druid Silver badge
        Alien

        Physics.....

        I have tried creating a spaghetti monster with pasta, cooked and uncooked - it just falls apart during takeoff or would kill/injure my legonauts upon return to earth!

        Evidently my skills are lacking or faith not intense enough... Perhaps this is a job for the Iberian Space Administration? Proving the existence to the Flying Spaghetti Monster would seem to be a priority mission for the intrepid white-coated engineers from the ISA.

        A FSM returning from orbit would fill the tables at the Buca di Fagachini Italian restaurant after the Happy FSM Hour service. Authentic Italian party poppers anyone?

      2. ElReg!comments!Pierre Silver badge

        @ Lester

        Once intolerance was to persecute people for their beliefs. Apparently nowadays intolerance is to refuse to give people *priviledges* based on their social habits if said social habits are a cultural tradition more or less associated with religion. For example in France police officers can forcefully remove your balaclava if you're wearing one, however they are under strict order _not_ to remove muslim women's veils because that would be intolerance. Other example: in the Uni I work for, students are allowed to skip classes on the high holidays for their religion. Therefore it has become common tactics for jewish students to set the dates for their oral exams on jewish high holidays, then not show up and get an automatic pass. Because flunking their ass would be intolerance, even if they knowingly set the date themselves (I have nothing against jewish students, they just happen to be the largest "minority religion" community where I work, so that's the only example I got)

        Ain't that great?

        1. sT0rNG b4R3 duRiD

          wait wait wait...

          Didn't they ban the headgear in France and Belgium?

          And I can only say, if people set themselves up to fail, they deserve to fail. NO EXCEPTIONS... That'll learn 'em a thing or two. Jew Muslim Gentile Jedi Mormon Christian Scient-f'ing-tologists whomever.

    2. Francis Boyle Silver badge

      Nice to see a spellchecker in action

      Or it would be.

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