back to article Flying Spaghetti Monster is not God, rules mortal judge

A United States District Court judge has ruled that Pastafarianism, the cult of the Flying Spaghetti Monster (FSM), is not a religion. Stephen Cavanaugh, a prisoner in the Nebraska State Penitentiary, brought the case after being denied access to Pastafarian literature and religious items while behind bars. Cavanaugh argued …

  1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge
    Joke

    HERESY!!!!

    May the Flying Spagheti Monster strike Judge Gerard down with long thin strands of pasta!

    Well, that would prove the judge wrong, wouldn't it

    1. Tomato42 Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: HERESY!!!!

      Exactly! What next?! That the religious texts weren't written by human hands with the guidance (inspiration) of His Noodly Appendage?

      Seriously, all religions were created by humans, if "being created" is the disqualifying property, I want to see Christianity and Judaism next on the table.

      1. Chemical Bob

        Re: HERESY!!!!

        Tomato42,

        No, being a parody is the disqualifying property. As a parody it is damn entertaining and useful, but it is still a parody and not meant for serious consumption*. The others you mention were created in good faith*.

        *puns intended

        1. Vic
          Go

          Re: HERESY!!!!

          The others you mention were created in good faith

          Archeologists near mount Sinai have discovered what is believed to be a missing page from the Bible. The page is currently being carbon dated in Bonn. If genuine it belongs at the beginning of the Bible and is believed to read "To my darling Candy. All characters portrayed within this book are fictitous and any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental." The page has been universally condemned by church leaders.

          Vic.

      2. HildyJ
        Devil

        Re: HERESY!!!!

        I wish some noodley lawyer would take your comment seriously and argue that judaism was just a small tribe's creation in response to Egyptian and Assyrian religions (not a parody as much as an ironic religion - "we're little but our god is big; too bad you can't see him."). The there's christianity which is clearly a satiric take on various Greek and Roman gods and beliefs ("Your gods are on Mt. Olympus? Fine, ours will be on the clouds above Olympus. Your Hades is surrounded by water? Fine, ours is in boiling lava. Et cetera.").

      3. Aquatyger

        Re: HERESY!!!!

        You left out the biggest religion in your list, namely Islam. Wildly successful and created in the 7th Century.

        1. RealBigAl

          Re: HERESY!!!!

          Christianity is the worlds biggest religion by some distance

          http://www.adherents.com/Religions_By_Adherents.html

      4. Pat 4

        Re: HERESY!!!!

        And on top of that, have you read their books??! They're not even FUNNY!!!... well.. ok, they ARE funny, but not "ha ha" funny...

    2. ElectricFox
      Pirate

      Re: HERESY!!!!

      "May the Flying Spagheti Monster strike Judge Gerard down with long thin strands of pasta!"

      Fortunately, the FSM is a really easy going deity. Seriously, he doesn't even mind if you want to follow other religions at the same time. Remember that this is the one religion where nobody has been killed in his name. Let's keep it that way.

      1. Kobblestown

        Re: HERESY!!!!

        Remember that this is the one religion where nobody has been killed in his name.

        Sadly, I guess that's precisely what disqualifies it as religion...

      2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        Re: HERESY!!!!

        > where nobody has been killed in his name

        Never heard of Jain then?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Paris Hilton

          Re: HERESY!!!!

          "Never heard of Jain then?"

          No, who's Jain? Jane? Jayne?

          This, however, is Paris. Just because. :-)

          1. RealBigAl

            Re: HERESY!!!!

            I'm presuming he meant these folk. Unfortunate symbology though.

            http://www.britannica.com/topic/Jainism

  2. Voland's right hand Silver badge

    Excellent

    Now, can we serve the same judge on the same bench a lawsuit that strips S***ntology of religious status in his state.

    End of the day, it was devised by the late Ron L Hubbard as a bet with sir A. Clarke on who will come up with a more convincing religion. He actually lost the bet which p***ed him off and he released his creation into the wild.

    So, based on the precedent the esteemed judge has established in this case, we can now have some fun. Popcorn. Big bag please.

    1. WonkoTheSane Silver badge
      Headmaster

      Re: Excellent

      As I understand it, the bet was with Harlan Ellison, not Sir Arthur C Clarke.

      (But I agree with pitting this judge against any organisation that preys upon "The weak of mind and fat of wallet")

      1. Yag

        Re: But I agree with pitting this judge against any organisation...

        ... that preys upon "The weak of mind and fat of wallet"

        Unfortunately, I don't think he'll be able to do anything against political parties.

      2. Efros

        Re: Excellent

        Robert A. Heinlein and L. Ron Hubbard. Although the actuality is hotly contested particularly by the Church of Scientology. There is little but anecdotal evidence that the bet was ever made, Heinlein's contribution is generally felt to have been the novel "Stranger in a Strange Land", which is possibly one of the most enjoyable anti religion pieces ever written. You grok?

      3. EddieD

        Re: Excellent

        Harlan Ellison was born in 1934, and Scientology officially started in 1954, but was around in various gestatory stages prior to that, so Ellison would have been a tad young to make the bet.

        The version I heard was that it was Robert Heinlein, and his religion was the Perfect Universal Love that featured in Stranger in a Strange Land, amongst others.

        I think that there are probably many other versions of the story, but I'd recommend you watch Going Clear, which has a fairly good history of the origins of the bullsh^w Scientology.

        Anyways, I always wondered about Pastafarianism, and their symbol, the colander - is it like a crucifix? I mean, you boil pasta to death and then strain its remnants through the device... I can't see the FSM manifesting when all its followers have that on their heads.

        1. imanidiot Silver badge
          Coat

          Re: Excellent

          It's the other way around. You boil the Pasta to life by infusing it with the elixer of life (water). Straining the pasta through the collander symbolises the rising of the FSM from the primordial soup of the universe at the beginning of time. Before boiling it is hard, brittle and lifeless. After boiling it becomes supple and life giving.

          --> The one with the olive oil stains

          1. P. Lee Silver badge
            Facepalm

            Re: Excellent

            >Straining the pasta through the collander symbolises the rising of the FSM from the primordial soup of the universe at the beginning of time.

            No wonder it got struck down. That's evolution.

            1. Peter Johnstone

              Re: Excellent

              "No wonder it got struck down. That's evolution."

              Nope, that's abiogenesis.

        2. Spoonsinger

          Re: "so Ellison would have been a tad young to make the bet."

          erm, Harlan Ellison was known for being very precocious in the sci-fi writing industry from way back when, (ok lets say early 1950's for "way back when"). So I can well believe that he would make that bet in his early twenties.

          Favorite Harlan Ellison quote is "The two most common elements in the universe are Hydrogen and stupidity.", although his one on people infringing his copyright is actually quite good as well.

          Edit :- actually " 'You are not entitled to your opinion. You are entitled to your informed opinion. No one is entitled to be ignorant.'" is good as well.

      4. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. AndyS

      Re: Excellent

      His comment about basing a religion on what is clearly a work of fiction seemed almost pointed. Since he's a judge, and so words aren't picked by mistake, and since he's clearly well versed in these topics, it's obviously a deliberate "read between the lines" link. It will be interesting to see if this is, or can be, used as a precedent against the DC-10 / volcano / alien cult.

      1. Troy Peterson

        Re: Excellent

        If I could upvote this comment more than once I would.. This was exactly what I thought when read that statement... It was clearly a very directed and very astute statement. This judge is intelligent, witty, and logical... very rare attributes.

      2. scrubber
        WTF?

        Re: Excellent

        Living inside a giant fish, talking snakes, walking on water, rising from the dead, travelling on a magic flying horse.

        Yep, he's got a point. No real religion would be based on a work of fiction.

        1. moiety

          Re: Excellent

          If we're dissing religion because of origin stories, protestant-ism (or whatever the word is) was created purely so Henry VIII could divorce his missus and get it on with a new bit of fluff. Protestant-ism; by the judges logic, is merely a parody of catholicism.

          1. Andrew Newstead

            Re: Excellent

            A bit of myth this. Protestantism was already underway in Europe due to the writings of Luther and Calvin as a reaction to the excesses of the Catholic Church at that time. In Britain this thinking was already gaining credibility before Henry jumped on it and formed the Anglican Church (which is not that different to the Catholic Church). The total break with Rome came with the Elizabethan Religious Settlement.

            1. steward
              Boffin

              Re: Excellent

              Protestantism is not a single sect, unlike Roman Catholicism. Protestantism is an umbrella term for literally thousands of sects who accept the Roman Catholic New Testament but interpret it differently.

              Anglicanism, by and large, is a form of Roman Catholicism that lets the monarch get divorced (although I've never quite understood why, with Henry's precedent, Edward VII had to abdicate - as leader of the Church of England he should have been able to exempt himself just like Henry VIII did.)

              The sects based on the writings of, respectively, Luther, Zwingli, Calvin, and Wesley differ so widely in belief that referring to "Protestantism" as a single entity is ludicrous at best.

              Nothing mything here. Move along.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Excellent

                "although I've never quite understood why, with Henry's precedent, Edward VII had to abdicate"

                As a result of the removal of the unlamented James with the aid of the Dutch in 1688, King William was invited to take over by Parliament, and so Parliament became superior to the monarch instead of vice versa. Thus Edward 7th could be told where to go, and the Queen can do what she likes so long as she doesn't actually try to do anything. Whether it was really the horror of the A of C at the thought that an American divorcée might be pulling Edward's Prince Albert, or whether his growing approval of fascism meant that this was a good chance to get shot of him, I have no idea.

              2. quasimodo

                Re: Excellent

                Completely off topic I think ... but I really need to be pedantic.

                Divorce is most definitely NOT the major difference between Catholicism and Anglicanism!

                'Protestantism as a single entity being ludicrous' however is spot on. With around 30k 'denominations / sects', just about the only thing they all agree on is that they do not accept the authority of the Roman Catholic church. Some say Jesus was a prophet, some a Jedi ....

                As Luther said ... 'There are as many opinions as there are heads ...'

                And that leads to choas.

                1. KeithR

                  Re: Excellent

                  "And that leads to chaos."

                  No, religion does that...

          2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: Excellent

            "protestant-ism (or whatever the word is) was created purely so Henry VIII could divorce his missus and get it on with a new bit of fluff."

            Serious historical naivety at work here! Luther? Wycliffe? Lollards? Divorce or annulment? Dynastic considerations (bits of fluff were not a problem; lack of a legitimate son was, given the risk of plunging back into the decades of dynastic warfare which preceded the Tudors taking the throne)? Henry's own opposition to Protestantism?

            1. moiety

              Re: Excellent

              @Andrew Newstead & @Doctor Syntax - Thanks to both of you. I sit corrected. Always refreshing to learn stuff; especially when the thing you learn is the thing you think you know is -in fact- false. Nice one.

          3. Suricou Raven

            Re: Excellent

            Henry VIII was not behind protestantism. He simply saw a way he could exploit it to his own advantage, as it was a way to eliminate the basis for the Pope's power. Get rid of a rival.

            1. This post has been deleted by its author

          4. KeithR

            Re: Excellent

            You are SPECTACULARLY uninformed, Moiety.

            1. moiety

              Re: Excellent

              @KeithR - You are SPECTACULARLY uninformed, Moiety.

              Spectacularly, misinformed, I think you'll find. Clearly I had been informed on the subject, but incorrectly.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Excellent

        So which religion isn't based on a work of fiction?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Excellent

          "So which religion isn't based on a work of fiction?"

          Downvote all you like.... I will await your 'proofs' and 'facts' with eager anticipation..... rAmen

          1. #define INFINITY -1 Bronze badge

            Re: Excellent

            You're only getting a downvote from me because you haven't read through the thread and seen this repeated... and repeated....

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Excellent

              "You're only getting a downvote from me because you haven't read through the thread and seen this repeated... and repeated...."

              Fair point, and you are correct.... have an upvote for my laziness....

              ...but I still think it is worth repeating..... and repeating.....

              1. Peter Johnstone

                Re: Excellent

                Although no amount of repeating will get through to creationists!!

        2. h4rm0ny

          Re: Excellent

          >>"So which religion isn't based on a work of fiction?"

          In Discordianism, you actually have to be fictional to attain the higher levels of sainthood. The reasoning is that fictional people are more able to approximate the perfection needed to be a greater saint. If you're a real human being (and not a cabbage or something) the best you can get is level one saint, even if you're Emperor Norton or similar.

          We make no distinction fnord between reality and fiction because effect is what matters and one can be equally inspired by Captain Yossarian as by a real person.

          Personally, I'm more concerned in this case as to why the prisoner is being denied books of any kind. Is knowledge and learning withheld in US prisons unless you can justify it as part of your religion? Fiction or otherwise, let them have their books. Hail Eris!

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Excellent

      Now, can we serve the same judge on the same bench a lawsuit that strips S***ntology of religious status in his state.

      End of the day, it was devised by the late Ron L Hubbard as a bet with sir A. Clarke on who will come up with a more convincing religion. He actually lost the bet which p***ed him off and he released his creation into the wild.

      Well, the judge can't just go sideways and take that matter as well, but what I see here is an an exact and focused plan to indeed make their life difficult by the way the judgement is phrased. You may recall from FBI versus Apple that US law has this neat feature called precedent - this judge is no doozy. He's opened the door for exactly that, without appearing to.

      Very, very clever.

    4. King Jack
      Angel

      Re: Excellent

      @Voland's right hand; Good comment but what is with all the self censorship? Everyone knows what you are writing, so man up and write it. Words exist and demand to be used.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Excellent

      By the test of parody the Book of Mormon obviously qualifies (prophets called Moron and Ether give you a taste of the whole and, unlike the New Testament, there are absolutely no archaeological remains that give any credence to what it states about the history of America.) Then there's the writing of the Jehovah's Witnesses, which are equally laughable. (The founder appeared not to know that the original books were written in Greek and Hebrew.) As the founders are dead it can't be proven that their writings are unintentional parody.

      This verdict is a very slippery slope and the Scientologists and Mormons should be funding an appeal, with amicus curiae briefings (just joking - it would be better if it was upheld all the way to the Supreme Court and the consequences followed, fiat justitia ruat caelum.)

      1. Dr. Mouse Silver badge

        Re: Excellent

        Then there's the writing of the Jehovah's Witnesses, which are equally laughable. (The founder appeared not to know that the original books were written in Greek and Hebrew.)

        I don't get this comment at all. I was a Jehovah's Witness, and all their texts are based on the Bible. They study the Greek and Hebrew in the scriptures often, and publish a book containing the Greek scriptures including the original Greek and the word-for-word translation alongside their own translation. Added to which, their bible is hardly any different from any other, just in more modern English and with slightly different wording here and there. And in practice, their beliefs only differ from those of other Christian sects in these main ways:

        * They do not celebrate the fake holidays taken on from the organised Church from the pagans.

        * They do not believe all good people go to heaven, rather that God will re-create the earth as it was intended later, and resurrect them to live in perfection (a slightly different interpretation of the words in the Bible)

        * They believe strongly in Jesus' words to go out and spread his "Good Word"

        All in all, I find their religion no more laughable than any other, it's just a slightly tweaked Christian sect.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Excellent - @Dr. Mouse

          I believe you when you say that the Jehovah's Witnesses have subsequently turned into a more mainstream Protestant religion. But I specifically wrote about the founder. If anybody is interested they can read the Wikipedia article, especially the section "Doctrinal development". The (long) article is written with a completely straight face and I don't know whether that means it was written by Witnesses or whether the authors felt it was beyond parody. I suspect the latter. There's an excellent chart that tries to make sense of the doctrinal swings.

          Beliefs of the Witnesses have included multiple dates of the end of the world, (and a general destruction of churches in 1918 and governments in 1920) and swings between collectivism and authoritarianism. There have been so many purges that even Stalin might well be envious. Any idea that the Witnesses are some sort of homogeneous group with a relatively fixed set of beliefs is totally wrong. They seem to be in constant flux.

          But the choice of name is significant. By the time it was chosen, mainstream churches had been in contact with Hebrew scholars long enough to know that there is no such word in the Bible as "Jehovah". What it is, is that when vowel points were added to Torah scrolls to be read in synagogue, the pointing for the letters YHVH (the unutterable name) was changed to be the vowels of the word "Adonai". The reader thus warned would know actually to say "Adonai" and the careless reader would read the non-word "Yahovai", thus avoiding doing the bad thing. But God omitted to mention this to the leader of the JW's, so from then on they were to be known by a name that told any instructed person that they had little Biblical scholarship.

        2. Vincent Ballard
          Coat

          Re: Excellent

          I think most mainstream Christian theologians would say that the biggest difference between the Jehovah's Witnesses' beliefs and mainstream Christianity is that JWs don't believe in the Trinity.

          1. dmacleo

            Re: Excellent

            they also seem to have a huge disbelief in the validity of no trespassing signs.

            until the one final time they get met with a shotgun and a sheriff on the way.

          2. KeithR

            Re: Excellent

            "JWs don't believe in the Trinity"

            But she was one of the main characters in The Matrix..!

          3. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Excellent

            "I think most mainstream Christian theologians would say that the biggest difference between the Jehovah's Witnesses' beliefs and mainstream Christianity is that JWs don't believe in the Trinity."

            What's mainstream nowadays? There are Unitarians and Quakers, and a lot of Baptists, who don't require belief in any sort of Trinity. To the extent that the Mormons are a Christian heresy, they don't either. An awful lot of Christian theologians (as distinct from "Bible students") would, I think, be very uncomfortable indeed if asked if they really and truly believed in the Trinity, and would start to mumble about allegory (and possibly quarks if they're really progressive.)

            The main difference is that there is a corpus of generally accepted Biblical scholarship - and when I say "generally accepted" I mean that Reform Jews, Catholics and Protestants would generally agree on almost all the OT and Catholics and Protestant would agree on almost all the NT. Their differences are in reality almost all post-Biblical. The JWs as far as I understand it do not accept mainstream Biblical research and scholarship (nor do a number of US sects). They cherry pick some rather out there stuff, hence the ban on things like blood transfusions.

            Of course, regarding the Bible as more than a very interesting documentation of the reported history and beliefs of a Middle Eastern tribe that has become extremely influential in the world of ideas due to its emphasis of the importance of scholarship - is a bit bonkers. But it is worth studying in order to have more insight into how a lot of people think.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Excellent

          @ Dr. Mouse. You forget the cherry picked bits. Abstain from blood. Which means that if you or their children needs a simple life saving blood transfusion you/they get to die. But Jesus loves you. They also cut you off if you ever leave. They pretend that you are invisible and fail to hear your words. (Exactly what a loving God and Jesus would do /NOT). They only thing they celebrate is passover, where you get to be miserable for an hour while they pass around stale crackers and wine which you aren't allowed to drink.

          1. h4rm0ny

            Re: Excellent

            All I know about Jehovah's Witnesses is that the one I worked with never mentioned his religion in the entire time I worked with him (I found out from someone else) and he was one of the nicest and most helpful people I worked with, going out of his way to help and patiently dealing with some extremely trying situations.

            I don't know how much of that was because of his faith, but I can conclude that one shouldn't judge people's character by their religion.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Excellent

              "I don't know how much of that was because of his faith, but I can conclude that one shouldn't judge people's character by their religion."

              That's entirely true. As I noted in my original post that gave rise to this, the JWs are not an homogeneous group but show wide variations through time and across congregations. But my original point had nothing to do with the sort of people they are, and everything to do with the fact that the origins of the JWs are in some ways as eccentric as those of Pastafarianism, which is why (depending on your point of view) the judge may have set a very good or a very bad precedent.

              1. KeithR

                Re: Excellent

                "I don't know how much of that was because of his faith, but I can conclude that one shouldn't judge people's character by their religion."

                Or their sex.

                Or their sexuality.

                Or their skin colour.

                And yet many religions have judgement (and condemnation) based on this characteristics as articles of faith.

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Excellent

              @ h4rm0ny

              My family are Jehovah's Witnesses. I got beaten everyday as a child because I didn't want to spend 1 hour everyday reading the bible and associated texts. I was dragged to meetings (church) where I had to sit through elders (priests) talking about some obscure books in the bible. I was not allowed to play sports because I didn't want to spend my weekends knocking on peoples doors. When I got old enough to take the beatings I walked out of the church with the attitude that my dad was free to beat me to death as that was preferable to the constant brainwashing.

              I was kicked out of home as soon as I left school and roamed the streets homeless while JWs watched or crossed the street when they saw me. Everyone thinks my parents are fantastic, that is the image they show to the world.

              Years latter when I got engaged my family failed to show up, same with my wedding. As far as they are concerned I don't exist. But I'm sure the JW you worked with is very nice. You should go with him to their church to find out what really goes on.

          2. David Nash Silver badge

            Re: Excellent

            Refusing blood - that is why I had a long and occasionally heated discussion with a couple of JWs on my doorstep. I will never forget the news story I read about a baby girl growing up with no mother because she had been brainwashed into refusing a simple and common procedure - a blood transfusion. Simply evil, in my view.

            They tried to give me BS about it being unhealthy, blood containing diseases and so on, but what is preferable? A tiny, tiny chance of a properly screened blood transfusion giving the recipient a disease, or certain death?

        4. This post has been deleted by its author

        5. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Excellent

          @DrMouse

          Jehovahs Witnesses are also enjoined from having blood transfusions, for an obscure reason I do not remember. This is germane to religious discussions because of the strong "religious freedom" challenges to employer-sponsored healthcare in the USA. Most of these refer to birth control and abortion services, Google Hobby Lobby for some of the odious uses of that, but if one's employer converts to Jehovahs Witness, said employer could, via legal precedent, refuse to cover blood transfusions, stem cell transplants, etc., even to save the life of the employee. That is hardly a trivial difference, especially to the employee.

    6. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: Excellent

      Voland's wrong hand: "...Scientology....L. Ron (not Ron L.) Hubbard..."

      Darn. Sorry I'm late.

      I'll just dump my copy-and-paste buffer here...

      "...would be little different from grounding a 'religious exercise' on any other work of fiction."

      Thank you.

    7. fishman

      Re: Excellent

      Hubbard had said things about starting a religion to make money many times.

      "MEMORANDUM OF INTERVIEW — August 30, 1970

      Between: Mr. Samuel Moskowitz, 361 Roseville Avenue, Newark, New Jersey (Phone No. 201-HU-5-3295) And: Mr. Charles H. Everline, Hearing Officer, CMB, NYK-21

      By prior appointment I visited Mr. Moskowitz at his home to discuss information he reportedly had concerning the early history of Mr. L. Ron Hubbard. Mr. Moskowitz had informed Mr. Bud Loftus that he first heard Mr. Hubbard say at a meeting that the only way to make a million dollars was to form your own religion."

      http://tonyortega.org/2016/01/19/when-the-feds-tracked-down-l-ron-hubbards-boast-about-getting-rich-by-creating-a-religion/

    8. DougS Silver badge

      Why only scientology?

      Who says the Christian religion wasn't founded by Peter to piss of the Romans, or that Islam wasn't created by Mohammad because he wanted more than one wife? Just because we have records of how Pastafarianism was created it doesn't get to call itself a religion?

      That's a pretty slippery slope for officials to be making that determination. Since prisoners have nothing but time, I hope it appeals it all the way to the Supreme Court. It would be interesting to hear their take on how freedom of religion applies here.

      1. Teropher
        Facepalm

        Re: Why only scientology?

        Oh yes you're quite right, Peter and the other disciples of Jesus kept on preaching to "piss the Romans off" all the while knowing that they and all their followers would be murdered for their mythical beliefs just like their master Jesus was. Sure makes total sense.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Why only scientology?

        "Who says the Christian religion wasn't founded by Peter to piss of the Romans"

        To be a little pedantic, it was actually founded by Saul of Tarsus, who did his best to ensure that it didn't upset the Romans too much; a decision which bore fruit in the 300s CE.

    9. JLV Silver badge

      Re: Excellent

      I thought PKD was involved and the subject was to find a way to get rich. Hubbard's take was that a religion was the best way* to do it.

      Sadly, I tend to agree that the defining bit for this ruling is that FSM is a parody. Not one of the many religions which, rightfully, the state is barred from meddling with. Scientology is about as stupid as they come, but repressing it - outside of prosecuting willful embezzlement when they do it to their converts - would put us in line with the Chinese repression of Falun Gong. Which seems every bit as hoaky as Scientology, if that seems possible.

      * Having read Battlefield Earth, I would say that is was the only way - Hubbard was not going to get rich from his writings. Those who criticize Battlefield Earth, the movie, fail to give it sufficient credit for vastly improving on what is a turgid, bloated, plot-less and just plain insulting-to-intelligence waste of paper. Yeah, the movie sucked, horribly, but it wasn't near as bad as the book.

      I remember a sentence where you're helpfully informed that the hero's plane is going at 341.2 mph. Not 341.1? Or 340? Right in line with the earth being 80 trillion years old, eh, LRH? And Jonnie Goodboy, as the main character's name???

    10. cray74

      Re: Excellent

      Now, can we serve the same judge on the same bench a lawsuit that strips S***ntology of religious status in his state.

      I'm wondering, though, if this ruling could be used another way: in the US, "Satanism" has made great strides in helping separation of church and state, women's rights, and other contemporary issues in the face of conservative backlash.

      However, it'd be easy to say "Satanism" is being used as a parody religion in the same manner as Pastafaranianism (sp?), which was created to debunk Intelligent Design.

      That'd be an undesirable outcome from this ruling.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Pastafarianism is under attack!

    Isn't that proof that it's as true a religion as any other?

    http://www.thelocal.de/20160406/flying-spaghetti-monster-church-sues-brandenburg

    1. Known Hero

      Re: Pastafarianism is under attack!

      Ok were talking serious proof here, If he was not the real god, why are we made in his image ?

      DNA is Pasta Shaped !!!

      1. Elmer Phud

        Re: Pastafarianism is under attack!

        Alphabetti spaghetti

        1. Inventor of the Marmite Laser Silver badge

          Re: Pastafarianism is under attack!

          That's all right until your alphabetti spaghetti spells "Disaster"

          1. psychonaut

            Re: Pastafarianism is under attack!

            marmite laser - is that a euphemism for a bottom seeking cock?

            as in ...."mmm, come taste my meatilicous anal destroyer"

            "no...let me use my marmite laser"

            or something

      2. Chronos Silver badge

        Re: Pastafarianism is under attack!

        But He would then have to be the Flying Fusilli Monster. Doesn't really work, does it? Never mind, there's always Discordia to fall back on. Hail Eris on this Prickle-Prickle, the 31st day of Discord in the YOLD 3182.

        1. moiety

          Re: Pastafarianism is under attack!

          I quite like the Invisible Pink Unicorn for sheer style:

          "Invisible Pink Unicorns are beings of great spiritual power. We know this because they are capable of being invisible and pink at the same time. Like all religions, the Faith of the Invisible Pink Unicorns is based upon both logic and faith. We have faith that they are pink; we logically know that they are invisible because we can't see them."

        2. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

          Re: Pastafarianism is under attack!

          Hail Eris on this Prickle-Prickle, the 31st day of Discord in the YOLD 3182.

          Ah yes, it made me remember that I'm a Pope of Discordianism and that made me smile. You can be a Pope too - there you go, all ordained.

          1. h4rm0ny

            Re: Pastafarianism is under attack!

            What's the feminine form of Pope. Is it Popess? Or Popette? I quite fancy being a Popette.

            Hail Eris! She what done it all!

        3. Francis Boyle Silver badge

          Re: Pastafarianism is under attack!

          The Flying Fusilli Monster is but one of the many manifestations of his supreme noodliness. In that form he is worshiped by biologists. To physicists on the other hand he provides the fundamental unit of length.

          1. Eponymous

            Re: Pastafarianism is under attack!

            "To physicists on the other hand he provides the fundamental unit of length."

            And perhaps the underlying basis for String Theory...

            1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

              Re: Pastafarianism is under attack!

              "And perhaps the underlying basis for String Theory..."

              Or, as was mentioned elsewhere, "String Theology" ;-)

  4. StevieB

    Too slow -- again

    Was about to say - should get this judge on a few Scientology cases, "as a parody, is designed to look very much like a religion” and therefore worthy of close consideration of how far religious freedoms extend" sounds like the right approach.

    1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

      Re: Too slow -- again

      Just playing the Devil's advocate: People might argue that parody implies humour. Scientology might be funny, but I don't see any humorous side to it.

      Still worth a shot, of course. Anything to trip up Scientologists has my blessing

      1. Troy Peterson

        Re: Too slow -- again

        Parody and Satire do not imply humour... Often they are intended to be humorous... but it's not implied. 1984 and Animal Farm are satires, and Animal Farm employs a lot of parody... Most people would not consider either of those works to be works of humour.

      2. Suricou Raven

        Re: Too slow -- again

        There's a long history of organisations adopting religious dressing for legal purposes, and the CoS is a prime example. One of their two main symbols is a crucifix with a thin diagonal cross behind. They say that the points each represent a tenet of the organisation or something like that, but the real reason is not difficult to see: It makes them look superficially like not only a religion, but a Christian religion. They aren't - they have barely anything to say about Jesus, and what little they do say is rather unflattering - but they do know that looking Christianish is great PR because a lot of people automatically equate Christian with good.

        Another example might be Medi-Share. It's a church to which members make a monthly donation, in return for which the organisation makes a non-binding promise to cover member's medical expenses in event of illness or accident. It is most definately not a health insurance provider though, because those have to pay taxes and are subject to all sort of regulations.

  5. gv

    Theological Canons

    By this yardstick both the Bible and the Koran are works of satire, meant to entertain while making pointed political statements.

    1. Tomato42 Silver badge
      Angel

      Re: Theological Canons

      example? The whole "666" thing referred to the contemporary Caesar Nero, with many scribes knowing the "joke" better than being able to read and transcribed it "616" instead.

      1. Uncle Slacky Silver badge
        Headmaster

        Re: Theological Canons

        Almost right - it was originally 616 and was later changed to 666, either deliberately or by mistake, nobody knows.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Number_of_the_Beast#616

        1. Semtex451 Silver badge
          Trollface

          Re: Theological Canons

          @ Uncle - I see Wiki is your Bible, Tut

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Theological Canons

          It was the devil wot dun it!

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Theological Canons

        > The whole "666" thing referred to the contemporary Caesar Nero

        It's a *little* more complicated than that - it's rooted in Hebrew numerical symbolism.

        TL;DR - the number 6 is the number of man. Three is the number of truth. So 666 is truely man (ie evil).

        No immortal, blood-spurting power of evil needed!

        1. P. Lee Silver badge

          Re: Theological Canons

          >TL;DR - the number 6 is the number of man. Three is the number of truth. So 666 is truely man (ie evil).

          And there's the problem with going for the short version. In the original language six hundred and sixty-six isn't the number six repeated three times - that's a decimal/base 10 counting thing.

  6. DropBear Silver badge

    So what exactly is the definition of a "proper" cult? Not including ludicrous bullshit in its holy texts is clearly not it. Is that it's meant to be "taken seriously"? How does anyone prove what the intentions of writers of other religious texts were...? Is there a required "poof of faith"? Since when, and how does that even work?!? Ah, got it - it's probably a "real religion" if and only if it pays taxes...

    1. Michael Habel Silver badge

      Since when does Religion ever pay Taxes?

    2. Ralph the Wonder Llama
      Meh

      "poof of faith"

      Ah, but, as the late Douglas Adams pointed out, proof denies faith, and without faith God doesn't exist.

      Careful on those zebra crossings.

    3. 's water music Silver badge

      So what exactly is the definition of a "proper" cult?

      Intersubjective "truths" are really just a numbers game although the numbers are weighted by the social captial of the adherents

      1. moiety

        "So what exactly is the definition of a "proper" cult?

        There's an easy test. Summons the deity to appear in his/her/their own defence. If they don't turn up, it's a cult. Every religious book I've read has been big on laws and the abiding thereof; so a deity would of course be wanting to keep on the right side.

        1. Joe Harrison

          Surely there is a simple easy and definitive test for being a genuine official religion or not?

          Has it ever attempted to kill followers of another religion because they are unbelievers? Even more definitive if it has attempted to kill followers of a splinter sect of its own religion.

          Sorry pastafari guys it's a big club and you're not in it.

          1. WylieCoyoteUK
            Devil

            It's never too late....

            Blasphemy is an insult to his Noodliness.

            We Marinarans should wipe out the Carbonara heresy.

            1. moiety

              Re: It's never too late....

              Splitters!

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            That's just because they have suppressed their behaviour towards the so called 'hereticals' who claimed that the true path to enlightenment was through fettuccine and covered up the pesto pogrom of 1924.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Devil

          You can't Summon a God, they Summon You

    4. ElMarco
      Facepalm

      Re:

      FFS. You don't have to get angry about everything. In America religions don't pay tax so the opposite is true.

      Chill out and eat some spaghetti.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Re:

        "Chill out and eat some spaghetti."

        Is this like the pastafarian version of transubstantiation without the need for, er... transubstantiation?

    5. BlartVersenwaldIII
      Angel

      > So what exactly is the definition of a "proper" cult?

      I believe t'was Ambrose Bierce put it best;

      Cult: A small, unpopular religion

      Religion: A large, popular cult

    6. Mog_X

      A cult is a small unpopular religion.

      A religion is a large popular cult.

      Edit - BlartVersenwaldIII beat me to it.

    7. KeithR

      "So what exactly is the definition of a "proper" cult?"

      George Osborne's one.

      (I may have misread the question...)

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        "George Osborne's one."

        And don't forget Jeremy Cult, the (ex-)Hunture Secretary.

  7. Psmiffy

    This is the kind of nonsense

    up with which I shall not put!

    I am a firm supporter of FSM and sport the fishy sticker on my car, but I am glad common sense won out at the end of the day. Although to deny the prisoner reading material seems a little harsh, especially as it is fiction.

    Can we now apply common sense to other things, like religions, politics etc?

    Ramen!

    1. Elmer Phud

      Re: This is the kind of nonsense

      There is no such thing as 'common sense', the phrase is merely a form of social blackmail to get others to tacitly agree with you.

      It is usually neither 'common' nor 'sensible' --- if it was it wouldn't be so widley used by UKKKIP/BF/EDL etc.etc.

      1. Jagged
        Joke

        Re: This is the kind of nonsense

        Have you been reading too many Scott Adams blogs?

        While we are on the subject, I am counting down the days till he starts a religion. I will happily sport a curling up tie.

        1. Michael Habel Silver badge

          Re: This is the kind of nonsense

          Have you been reading too many Scott Adams blogs?

          Are you sure it wasn't Emily Brewster - Ask the Editor á Merriam Webster?

      2. Kurt Meyer

        Re: This is the kind of nonsense

        @ Elmer Phud

        "There is no such thing as 'common sense', the phrase is merely a form of social blackmail to get others to tacitly agree with you."

        I look each way before crossing the road.

        You?

        1. #define INFINITY -1 Bronze badge

          Re: This is the kind of nonsense

          @Kurt Meyer

          You've never been to rural areas.

          1. Kurt Meyer

            Re: This is the kind of nonsense

            @ #define INFINITY -1

            I spent my boyhood summers working on my Uncle's farm.

            I did, and still do, look both ways. It's a habit which has stood me in good stead all my life.

            1. #define INFINITY -1 Bronze badge

              Re: This is the kind of nonsense

              Different kind of rural... guess it'd be difficult to explain.

        2. Mike Moyle Silver badge

          Re: This is the kind of nonsense

          @ Kurt Meyer: I'm from Massachusetts -- around these parts we learn to look both ways before crossing a one-way street but I've lived places (New York, Los Angeles) where this is, apparently, considered abnormal. "Common sense" varies from place to place.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: This is the kind of nonsense

          "I look each way before crossing the road."

          But do you reverse the order when in a country that drives on the opposite side to which you are used? People use to laugh at me for looking for traffic coming the wrong way down a one-way street. My answer was "You know it's a one-way street - I know it's a one-way street - someone coming the wrong way obviously doesn't".

          Not sure what one does in countries where everyone drives in the middle.

          Somewhere in the Far East there is apparently a busy city with no concept of traffic stopping to allow a pedestrian to cross the multi-lane roads. The pedestrian has to walk across the stream of traffic at a steady predictable pace - and the vehicles will accommodate them without stopping.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: This is the kind of nonsense

            "You know it's a one-way street - I know it's a one-way street - someone coming the wrong way obviously doesn't""

            OT...

            A cousin, a retired headmaster, visited the town where his school had been based. He failed to notice the sign and drove the wrong way down what was now a wrong way street. He was stopped by a policeman. Who recognised him.

            "I'm afraid you're driving the wrong way down this street, Sir," he said.

            "Oh dear, " said my cousin, "I suppose you're going to have to book me."

            "Well," said the policeman, "before I do that you had better turn in at that entrance and come back on the road facing the right way." So my cousin did, and stopped by the policeman. "All right, here's my driving licence."

            "What for?" asked the policeman. "You're driving the right way down this street. Thank you for the reference you gave me when I applied for the police. Have a nice day, Sir."

  8. Mad Mike

    All 'religions' the same

    I don't really see how Pastafarianism is any different to Christianity, Islam or any other religion. Because it's new, we're aware of how it was created and why etc., so we know its satire and fiction. Same is true of Scientology though. However, if someone in 2000 years time looked back on Pastafarianism, would they know this? Maybe Christianity was satire in it's time against some earlier religion. It's just that we don't know that because of the passage of time.

    I don't really see how you can differentiate based on the argument made between any religions. They should all be treated the same. After all, a religion is simply a set of beliefs followed by multiple people. There isn't any religion out there that can show their 'religious texts' are fact based and the events and interpretations are true. Some we can show definitely aren't (such as Pastafarianism), but most we simply don't know!! In many cases, they might even be fact based (as in the events took place), but are either misunderstandings of what went on or deliberate twisting of the event(s).

    Personally, I don't see any reason why he shouldn't be able to following his religion any more or less than a person practicing one of the more established religions. As for Scientology.....if someones stupid enough to part with their money, that's their business. My issue is coercion, whether explicit or implied. There isn't a religion around that doesn't use coercion as simply calling someone a sinner or excommunicating them for an act is effectively coercion.

    1. dan1980

      Re: All 'religions' the same

      @Mad Mike

      As a godless heathen with no love for organised religions and appreciation for satire, I still think that there is a world of difference between Pastafarianism and, say, Christianity. I also, believe it or not, see an almost equally-large difference with Scientology.

      Is Scientology shamelessly made up and utterly unsupportable by evidence or reason? Absolutely.

      But the real difference is that the adherents of Scientology actually believe in it. One of the biggest crticisms levelled at Scientology is that it exploits and cons people into working for them and paying for the privilege.

      And yes, they are manipulative and use all the techniques other cults to indoctrinate and control the members. But that very manipulation is possible because those members actually put stock in the ideas and tenets of the 'religion'.

      Likewise with any other 'actual' religion - the adherents actually believe in what that religion teaches and promotes. Not all believers swallow the creeds wholesale, but 'real' Christians do actually believe that a man named Jesus existed some 2000 years ago and that man was the son of God who died in atonement for human sins.

      If any Pastafarianism honestly and sincerely believes that the FSM actually exists then that would be another matter but, let's face it, that's just not the case.

      So, while I have no time for religion and think those who follow religious creeds are largely fooling themselves, there is still a significant difference between these things.

      1. Alien8n Silver badge

        Re: All 'religions' the same

        @dan1980 the biggest difference between Scientology and other religions, even the Mormons, is that they don't allow anyone to see their "sacred texts" unless they pay for them. And even then it costs hundreds of thousands of pounds before you're deemed worthy enough to read the really "important" texts about Xenu and the volcanoes. At least most other religions go "here's all of our religious texts, make your own mind up". This is mainly of course because if you were to read the OT3 texts before being brainwashed you would quite rightly declare it bullshit.

        The worrying thing is that celebrities, who get to bypass most of the indoctrination, still endorse this rubbish once they discover what it's really about.

        1. dan1980

          Re: All 'religions' the same

          @Alien8n

          ". . . the biggest difference between Scientology and other religions, even the Mormons, is that they don't allow anyone to see their "sacred texts" unless they pay for them."

          Oh, absolutely, though I would contend that the standard path taken by many in the 'mainstream' religions you mention is to be taught the religion early on. Which parts of the central text(s) are taught as actually true and which are explained as allegorical varies by denomination and the individuals doing the 'teaching'. It's generally not that those texts are simple plonked down for people to "make [their] own mind up".

          But still, the basic differentiation is between Pastafarianism as a self-consciously invented parody/satire/social-challenge* and those religions where the adherents actually believe at least the core tenets.

          * - I think this is the most important function of the 'religion' and indeed why it was invented in the first place. As I see it, the religion presents a challenge not only to religious people but specifically to authorities, to prompt them to explain why any given rule or exception should apply to, say, Christianity but not Pastafarianism. Essentially, challenging those people to legally define what is so special about those religions they do give special treatment to.

          1. Alien8n Silver badge

            Re: All 'religions' the same

            @dan1980 while true that the standard path to most religions is to be taught it the vast majority are still very fond of giving out their religious texts for free. Think Gideon bibles. In fact the only one that I know of that expressly forbids letting "non-believers" see their texts for free is Scientology.

        2. Mad Mike

          Re: All 'religions' the same

          @Alien8n

          "At least most other religions go "here's all of our religious texts, make your own mind up"."

          Not sure about other religions, but the Roman Catholic church is notorious for keeping the Vatican library pretty secret. There are thousands of scolars who would desperately like to rummage through there, but are denied. Why might be a very pertinent question.........

          1. Alien8n Silver badge

            Re: All 'religions' the same

            @Mad Mike they don't preach from their library documents though, just the standard bible that anyone can pick up in any book shop. Interestingly it's said that the vatican holds the world's largest collection of medieval pornography. The real reason for secrecy is more likely to hide all the secret deals and financial information from years ago. The Vatican was a major contributor to the war efforts of many a medieval nation. During the middle ages you couldn't go to war without the blessing of the Pope and you can bet the Vatican benefitted after the war finished.

            1. Teropher

              Re: All 'religions' the same

              @alien8n

              The Vatican Library/Archives aren't secret and haven't been since 1881.

              As for the Vatican Archives... Secretum, the Vatican says, translates more accurately to “personal” than to “secret” and refers to the private letters and historical records of past popes. In fact, the archives haven’t been secret since 1881, when Pope Leo XIII opened them up to scholars.

              http://www.cruxnow.com/church/2014/09/01/whats-hidden-in-the-vatican-archives/

      2. David Nash Silver badge

        Re: All 'religions' the same

        @Mad Mike is correct, that is indeed the point of FSM. (OT: I can't help thinking Finite State Machine...)

        Therefore they should be treated no differently than Christianity or various other religions. You may say you know the difference but how can it be proven? If it looks like a duck etc...

      3. KeithR

        Re: All 'religions' the same

        "If any Pastafarianism honestly and sincerely believes that the FSM actually exists then that would be another matter but, let's face it, that's just not the case."

        In other words - they're a shitload smarter than actual "people of faith".

    2. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      I think the origin of Christianity is rather well-known

      The big difference with today is that today we have the Internet and 99% of the population knows how to read. That is rather the reverse of those times where the Internet was the passing minstrel and less than 1% of the population knew how to read.

      Jesus was a Jewish Arab. He did not call himself Christian, obviously. Christianity was brought about in the following 300+ years after his death. I think that, for a movement that started so long ago, it's history is pretty well documented - mainly the fact the early Christians were basically considered a splinter sect from the Jews.

      If we keep our Internet intact, I think that, 2,000 years from know we'll still be able to look up Scientology and Christianity and anyone with a brain will see that there is a very, very big difference between the two.

      In any case, satire is a modern affliction. No religious movement of the time was started for the sake of satire, I'm pretty sure of that.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I think the origin of Christianity is rather well-known

        The big difference with today is that today we have the Internet and 99% of the population knows how to read.

        You don't even need to travel beyond this forum to find evidence that the ability to read does not imply to ability (or desire) to comprehend what is being read..

      2. This post has been deleted by its author

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: I think the origin of Christianity is rather well-known

          thankyou Symon.

          I was about to make a rather Juvenal pun on the subject, i'll stop being childish.

        2. Pascal Monett Silver badge

          @Symon

          I said that satire is a modern affliction. I did not say that it didn't exist before 1950.

          I am well aware of satire used as social commentary in ancient Greece, although I do thank you for providing that link, and I've learned something about the scribes of Ancient Egypt.

          However, your comment basically does not contradict my intent, which is to say that it is only today that everything is satire and that religions in those days hardly knew the meaning of the word.

          Not to mention the dangers of being a Court Jester.

          1. This post has been deleted by its author

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: @Symon- @Symon

              Aristophanes had to be careful (as did Euripides, who is in some ways more deviously satirical than Aristophanes). It was all right to make jokes about Dionysus because he was a god of taking drugs and getting your rocks off, so when he rows across the Styx complaining about blisters on the bum it's OK. It is all right to joke about the women in the thesmophoriasuzae revealing what they get up to when their husbands aren't around because again it's about ritual intoxication. But when Euripides is trying to prove all Aeskylus's prologues start the same way and starts a sentence which will end by telling us that almighty Zeus has lost his little bottle of oil, he has to be interrupted because Zeus must not be spoken of jestingly.

              The Greeks had what you might call a thearchitectonic or a pecking order of gods, just as we do. It would be very unsafe to joke about Zeus anywhere and equally unsafe to joke about Pallas Athena in Athens.

      3. Mad Mike

        Re: I think the origin of Christianity is rather well-known

        @Pascal Monett

        "I think the origin of Christianity is rather well-known"

        I know there's a lot of people who think and claim the origin is well known, but there is precious little true fact around it. By that, I mean the true start, e.g. what happened in the bible etc. and the events at day 0 rather than 300 years later. What people invented over the initial 300 years has no relevance on whether the original events of the religion actually took place or were interpreted correctly.

        Indeed, there is plenty of evidence that the history is rather badly known, especially as there are consistent rumours of suppressed documents and accounts of events. Also, why would the Vatican routinely deny access to its library of documents rather than simply make the contents known to all? Unless, there's something hidden in there they don't want people to know.

        To be honest, the more I think about it, the less we know of the TRUTH (as in proveable fact) of the origin of Christianity.....

        1. Teropher

          Re: I think the origin of Christianity is rather well-known

          @MadMike

          Are you joking or just being wilfully ignorant. The beginnings of Christianity are very well documented. Have you never heard of a little thing called the New Testament? They are books and actual letters written by first hand witnesses written in the first century by men who were so convinced of the miracles they saw Jesus perform and of the example of his life that they spread his teaching even though it meant death at the hands of the Roman Empire for not worshipping their mythical god Zeus. These writings were then put together by the Church into the structured form we now have. "the evidence for our New Testament writings is ever so much greater than the evidence for many writings of classical authors, the authenticity of which no one dreams of questioning...It is a curious fact that historians have often been much readier to trust the New Testament records than have many theologians." (Wikipedia)

          As for the Vatican Archives... Secretum, the Vatican says, translates more accurately to “personal” than to “secret” and refers to the private letters and historical records of past popes. In fact, the archives haven’t been secret since 1881, when Pope Leo XIII opened them up to scholars.

          http://www.cruxnow.com/church/2014/09/01/whats-hidden-in-the-vatican-archives/

          "To be honest, the more I think about it, the less we know of the TRUTH (as in proveable fact) of the origin of Christianity....."

          The less you have to worry about your soul?

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I think the origin of Christianity is rather well-known

        > Jesus was a Jewish Arab.

        *Bzzt*. Nope. He was Jewish - yes. Arab, no.

        > Christianity was brought about in the following 300+ years after his death

        *bzzt*. Nope. His followers because called Christians in the few years after his death (as well as "Nazarenes"..).

        So - nice post, shame that the basis of it rests on pillars of sand.

      5. Michael Habel Silver badge

        Re: I think the origin of Christianity is rather well-known

        You mean 'Cause Christianity has a defacto Emperor with a very large Hat (mind you!), that this somehow must deminish all other (pseudo)religions? Hell there was a time when I prayed to the Valar, (e.g. J.R.R. Tolkien), before 'common sence' smacked me in the face and clued me onto what a sham all religions are. In fact looking back at it, it's just one more reason why I really do believe that he never got the credit he deserved as one of the great English Author's during his lifetime.

        But, how you could't read the Silmarillion as anything but, the new Testament (set within Middle Earth), is actually lost on me. Keep in mind that for some both the Old, and New Testament's are to such followed also a record of history. A false history, as anyone with a Radiological Carbondater Device would surly tell you.

        1. quasimodo

          Re: I think the origin of Christianity is rather well-known

          Tolkien as you know, was a devout Catholic and a Professor. Was he too stupid to realise that all religions are shams?

          As for recognition ... this country of ours is Protestant. Perhaps the reason he wasn't recognised is that?

      6. Tom 7 Silver badge

        Re: I think the origin of Christianity is rather well-known

        Christianity originally was a movement of people trying to live better.

        A certain Roman emperor realised there was a lot of money in religion and wanted to get his hands on it. All the other religions were pretty well set and organised so he chose one he could easily usurp and commissioned a shit load of PR stuff to be created - this became the New Testament,

        1. KeithR

          Re: I think the origin of Christianity is rather well-known

          "Christianity originally was a movement of people trying to live better."

          No, not really.

        2. Teropher

          Re: I think the origin of Christianity is rather well-known

          @Tom 7

          Oh my goodness thats a new one on me and gave me quite a chuckle. If he was in it for the money then he should've stuck to the mythical gods of Rome. Being persecuted and killed by the Roman Empire for 300yrs, not to mention not being allowed to build churches til Constantine legalized Christianity, the Church was NOT rich. Where on God's green earth did you come up with that rubbish? I think you're confused with a certain King Henry VIII of England who after not getting the annulment he wanted to his legitimate marriage declared himself head of the church in England and proceeded to pillage and plunder churches and monastaries kicking monks and nuns out and taking even the very property owned by the church. That Emperor Constantine did not do because the church had none of those things in the fourth century. However, the opposite was true for the entire list of Roman and Greek gods all over the empire with their elaborate temples of worship.

      7. Teropher

        Re: I think the origin of Christianity is rather well-known

        Wrong, Jesus was not an Arab but an Israelite, a Hebrew who spoke Aramaic. Jesus acknowledged himself to be the Christ, the Jews long awaited Messiah though the leading Jews did not accept him as such. His disciples continued spreading his teachings even though it meant death and according to the book of Acts chapter 11 verse 26 "it was in Antioch that the disciples were first called Christians" not 300 yrs later. It was in the 4th century that Constantine legalized Christianity ending 300yrs of persecution against the Christians.

    3. Anomalous Cowshed

      Re: All 'religions' the same

      I think the definition of a religion is whether the people who practise it take it and themselves seriously.

      To test for that, you look for evidence of elaborate and perhaps seemingly senseless rituals, behaviours amounting to denial and even harming one's interests in the name of the religion, and above all refusal to accept any dissent, willingness to exclude / expel / excommunicate / exterminate the disbelievers or apostates or infidels and all that jazz.

      So far the FSM people have not reached that level, I believe they love it because they think it's funny and irreverent. But beware, with passing time, some people may yet arise who do take it seriously and are not aware that it was ever designed to make a mockery, and then...it will be a religion.

      1. moiety

        Re: All 'religions' the same

        As a godless heathen with no love for organised religions and appreciation for satire, I still think that there is a world of difference between Pastafarianism and, say, Christianity. I also, believe it or not, see an almost equally-large difference with Scientology.

        As far as I know, Pastafarianism alone of the three has not used violence to further their aims. That makes it leading contender for the One True Religion in my book. It's a recipe book.

    4. Esme

      Re: All 'religions' the same

      @Mad Mike - "There isn't a religion around that doesn't use coercion as simply calling someone a sinner or excommunicating them for an act is effectively coercion" - incorrect.

      I have my own religion, number of believers one. No-one is coerced by it. Methinks you're confusing organised religion with ALL religion, and also the 'One True Faith' religions with ALL religions. There are religions that eschew both the strict organisational structures found in the major faiths and religions that do not claim to be the OTF. Granted they are in the minority with regard to numbers of believers (and definitely granted, my personal case is an extreme), but you are quite definitely incorrect.

      1. Mad Mike

        Re: All 'religions' the same

        @Esme.

        It depends a bit on how you define religion. Personally (and as I said), I think it has to have more than one person involved. Otherwise, it just becomes a set of personal morals. However, I agree the absolute definition is difficult, although most dictionaries call for it to be multiple.

        If that's the definition of religion (multiple people), I would challenge anyone to come up with any religion that hasn't used coercion at some point in its existance. I certainly can't think of one, but am more than willing to stand corrected.

        1. #define INFINITY -1 Bronze badge

          Re: All 'religions' the same

          But now you're expanding the term to 'clique'; is that something that atheists are immune to, for example?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: All 'religions' the same

        "There are religions that eschew both the strict organisational structures found in the major faiths"

        Indeed there are - I belong to one :-)

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Angel

        Re: All 'religions' the same

        For OTF see the Laundry Novels of Charles Stross

      4. Teropher

        Re: All 'religions' the same

        Coercion? And what does that say of the modern day homosexual movement and its followers when politely told no by a baker, photographer, etc to provide a luxury item for their homosexual wedding and instead of simply finding another accommodating establishment they proceed to coerce said individuals against their will to the tune of losing their businesses, their savings, their livelihoods, etc. How is that any different than the coercion of some religions, but yet is astonishingly applauded by many as being just peachy in spite of the fact the United States was founded on freedom OF religion and the freedom from being coerced? Typical hypocrisy!

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nor was he impressed by Cavanaugh, who had a rather poor grasp on Pastafarianism's key texts, which the judge took the trouble to read.

    Well good for that judge, but it's hardly surprising that Cavanaugh has a poor grasp on the key texts, when he's being denied access to study those texts!

    1. Phil W

      Yes but more importantly, through the bringing of this case, have we found the best and most competent judge in the entirety of the USA? Make that man President, immediately.

    2. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

      it's hardly surprising that Cavanaugh has a poor grasp on the key texts, when he's being denied access to study those texts!

      The Pastafarian Reformation is nigh...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        The Pastafarian Reformation is nigh...

        So long as the seven "really rather you didn't"s don't get subsumed by the twelve "do this or else"s then reformed pasta is probably a small price to pay.

        1. John Bailey

          "So long as the seven "really rather you didn't"s don't get subsumed by the twelve "do this or else"s then reformed pasta is probably a small price to pay."

          Don't be so sure..

          It comes in cans, in a really horrible runny red sauce.

  10. rtb61

    Under secular governments and constitutional freedom of religion, there is no such thing as a parody religion. Even a religion abused by some non believers must still be counted as religion by others based upon nothing more than their claiming it.

    Take for example atheist Christian ministers who look upon their religion as nothing more than an opportunity to meet the children of the believers of that religion in order to sexual molest those children.

    Regardless of the ministers patent lack of belief as demonstrated by their behaviour or the children's lack of understanding of the religion and the ministers junk not being religious objects, the parents of those abused children still have a right to express themselves via that religion.

    The judge, should face judgement for the immoral decision to decide what religion others should worship based upon the judges own prejudices.

    1. Elmer Phud

      Urinary extraction

      "Under secular governments and constitutional freedom of religion, there is no such thing as a parody religion."

      All religions take the piss.

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

  11. Archie Woodnuts

    Ha.

    > Implying any religion is anything other than works of fiction or satire.

  12. alain williams Silver badge

    The judge will soon be in hot water ...

    to which tomatoes, spices, herbs and all manner of tasty things are added as he is slowly cooked to become a pasta sauce.

    That will teach him!

    1. John G Imrie

      Re: The judge will soon be in hot water ...

      That's a little harsh, the FSM is well knowen to be an easy going god, and I suspect that he is well pleased with this result as it has allowed numerous people who had no knowledge of his existence to become aware of his noodley appendages.

    2. John Bailey

      Re: The judge will soon be in hot water ...

      "to which tomatoes, spices, herbs and all manner of tasty things are added as he is slowly cooked to become a pasta sauce.

      That will teach him!"

      Why? He did the exact right thing.

      He handed out a verdict that is in accordance with the goals of Pastafarianism. To end religious exceptions to the rules the rest of us follow.

      If you think the Pastafarians lost, you really haven't understood the game being played.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "To read it as religious doctrine would be little different from grounding a 'religious exercise' on any other work of fiction."

    Leaves Scientology in a very precarious position.

  14. Andrew Jones 2

    Apologies in advance to all Christians......

    Right..... the religious texts of Pastafarianism is classed as a parody and worse - a work of fiction, but a book about a woman who becomes pregnant even though she hasn't had sex, a man who can magically turn water into wine (and why wine? why not grapefruit juice?), a book that claims Jesus was born in December - even though it was clearly closer to Spring - even the Christmas Carol While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks By Night to anyone with any common sense tells you it wasn't December, As for the idea that in the time period that people were frightened of Thunder and Lightning because God was mad - people would see a bright star in the sky and go towards it rather than run screaming in the opposite direction, a book where someone dies and then comes back to life..... that is obviously not a work of fiction and is a real documentation of things that actually happened - written down thousands of years after they allegedly happened. The Bible to people who have a clear head actually reads like a book where someone started writing down stories making each one more and more fantastical to see how far people would get through it before going - hang on a minute, this is made up!

    Seriously - talking snakes? Adam and Eve and Kane and Able being the only people in the whole world - and yet somehow they were able to find wives outside of the Garden of Eden - where did the people outside of the Garden of Eden come from? Did they just magically appear? And don't even get me started on the way people go "yup, an ark, every single animal in the entire world, 2 of them in fact, even though there is the thing called the food chain which means the vast majority of them are dinner for another animal higher up the food chain, yup - it seems entirely plausible that - that really happened" I mean has anyone ever worked out what the dimensions of this Ark would have had to have been? and How long it would have taken for it to be built? Bearing in mind that not only did the Ark have to be built, but trees needed to be chopped down and made into planks of similar in order to do this? Yup what a totally believable book.........

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Re: Apologies in advance to all Christians......

      The book never made the claim to December. I think the word didn't even exist when the book was written.

      It is the Roman Catholic Church which took to parasiting local customs to replace them with Vatican-approved versions that made that decision. So the RCC was the first organization to uphold the Embrace, Extend, Extinguish method that another modern company made so prevalent.

      As for Adam & Eve, you're the one inferring that they found wives outside. The Bible never says that, so it infers implicitly to huge amounts of incest. And, if Mitochondrial Eve is anything to go by, well, there just may be a grain of truth to it.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Apologies in advance to all Christians......

        So the RCC was the first organization to uphold the Embrace, Extend, Extinguish method that another modern company made so prevalent.

        .. which some here seem to hold as a religion, QED :)

        1. Robert Baker

          Re: Apologies in advance to all Christians......

          ". which some here seem to hold as a religion, QED"

          In Unix there is strength.

      2. Graham Dawson

        Re: Apologies in advance to all Christians......

        Not parasitism; the new roman coverts to Christianity retained their old holy days and customs for convenience, which is why there is a clear descent of the Pope (pontifex maximus, the civil administrator of the combined roman cults, was a title often held by the emperor), holy days such as saturnalia/Christmas, and the whole ecclesiastical hierarchy from the religious institutions of imperial Rome. Given those customs broadly match all across Europe it isn't surprising that local cultures would adopt a similar syncretism.

      3. Tom 38 Silver badge

        Re: Apologies in advance to all Christians......

        The book never made the claim to December. I think the word didn't even exist when the book was written.

        What have the Romans ever done for us, except give us the name for the tenth month of the year (Roman years started in March)

      4. Uncle Slacky Silver badge
        Stop

        Re: Apologies in advance to all Christians......

        "As for Adam & Eve, you're the one inferring that they found wives outside. The Bible never says that, so it infers implicitly to huge amounts of incest."

        Well, Cain went off to the land of Nod to find a wife, so there's that. Not denying huge amounts of incest are also implied, however, especially after the Flood...

      5. Andrew Jones 2

        Re: Apologies in advance to all Christians......

        "As for Adam & Eve, you're the one inferring that they found wives outside. The Bible never says that, so it infers implicitly to huge amounts of incest. And, if Mitochondrial Eve is anything to go by, well, there just may be a grain of truth to it." Yes it does -

        "16 And Cain went out from the presence of the LORD, and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden.

        17 And Cain knew his wife; and she conceived, and bare Enoch: and he builded a city, and called the name of the city, after the name of his son, Enoch."

        It doesn't say Eve had any more Children at this point, and there is no mention of Cain taking his wife with him when he dwelt in the land of Nod, thus the only possible conclusion at this point has to be that his wife from already living in the land of Nod.

        1. quasimodo

          Re: Apologies in advance to all Christians......

          Seems like you're reading Genesis with the eyes of a 6yr old ....

          Perhaps you also think the tortoise DID actually race the hare?

          1. KeithR

            Re: Apologies in advance to all Christians......

            "Seems like you're reading Genesis with the eyes of a 6yr old ....

            Perhaps you also think the tortoise DID actually race the hare?"

            Wow - killer rebuttal.

            It's the fundamentalists themselves that insist that the Bible is the literal word of God - so IT MUST BE TRUE, mustn't it?

          2. This post has been deleted by its author

      6. KeithR

        Re: Apologies in advance to all Christians......

        "And, if Mitochondrial Eve is anything to go by, well, there just may be a grain of truth to it."

        No truth at all - that would imply some insight on the part of the author of this particular fairy tale, of Mitochondrial Eve.

        Coincidence, yes. Truth, no.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Apologies in advance to all Christians......

      even though it was clearly closer to Spring - even the Christmas Carol While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks By Night to anyone with any common sense tells you it wasn't December,

      Ever been to the Middle East in December?

    4. moiety

      Re: Apologies in advance to all Christians......

      "a man who can magically turn water into wine (and why wine? why not grapefruit juice?)

      Why would you even ask that?!!!1!

      1. nijam

        Re: Apologies in advance to all Christians......

        > ... why not grapefruit juice?

        Because he was on statins, I imagine.

    5. Suricou Raven

      Re: Apologies in advance to all Christians......

      " a man who can magically turn water into wine"

      Everyone who could afford it drank wine. It was weak wine compared with the wine of today, and consumed in vast quantities. The diet coke of the ancient world.

      1. Boothy

        Re: Apologies in advance to all Christians......

        " a man who can magically turn water into wine"

        Even I can do that, takes me about 8 weeks.

        Maybe Jesus just enjoyed making his own winde and a few people exaggerated how long it took?

        1. Vic
          Joke

          Re: Apologies in advance to all Christians......

          " a man who can magically turn water into wine"

          Even I can do that, takes me about 8 weeks.

          I can turn wine into piss. Does that make me the anti-Christ?

          Vic.

      2. tekHedd

        Re: Apologies in advance to all Christians......

        "It was weak wine compared with the wine of today, and consumed in vast quantities. The diet coke of the ancient world."

        Yeah... back in those days nobody got drunk, certainly not at a wedding celebration. Yeah.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Happy

        Re: Apologies in advance to all Christians......

        Most water in towns wasnt considered safe, wine & small beer were safer

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Apologies in advance to all Christians......

      @ Andrew Jones 2

      As science has come into pre-dominance, religious leaders have accommodated it, for example, by claiming this, that or the other is allegorical. Thus they can explain the size of the ark away by reference to the Tardis.

  15. Rich 11 Silver badge

    A prisoner could just as easily read the works of Vonnegut or Heinlein and claim it as his holy book

    It's certainly true that Heinlein's 'The Door into Summer' has raised me to a state of ecstatic joy far more often* than any religion has achieved.

    * Trivially true, in that |x| + 1 > 0.

    1. Alistair Silver badge

      @Rich 11

      Have an upvote for one of my favourites.

  16. dan1980

    "Nor was he impressed by Cavanaugh, who had a rather poor grasp on Pastafarianism's key texts, which the judge took the trouble to read."

    Is it too much to hope that those who wish indulgence to behave in an otherwise unacceptable way or illegal way must similarly prove a strong grasp on the central texts that allegedly inform and justify their actions?

    That's be great - if you want to discriminate against gay people, you must take a bible quiz.

    I'd watch that train-wreck.

    1. Felonmarmer

      Well surely not having a good grasp on his chosen religions key texts, is a good reason for asking for access to them for study purposes?

  17. wolfetone Silver badge

    Can't We All Just Get A Long?

    End of the day, only blinkered people who don't accept the opinions of others will be bothered by this. And unluckily for everyone these people are Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Jews, Atheist.

    Most religions - Judaism being the exception - all believe that there is a better place to go to after living on Earth. All religions believe that there is some greater body that will exact punishment or praise on to everyone on Earth. So where exactly is it your place to judge?

    If you don't believe in Religion then that's fine. You know the score, you live you die, and thats it. There's nothing else beyond the here and now. So why take the piss out of someone who believes in a God and believes in an afterlife? Your spending your short time on Earth by being a dick.

    If you believe in God and a Religion (which ever food based one it is) then that's fine. You know the score. You live, you die, you're judged on your actions by the body you believe in. So why are you making life difficult for people who don't believe in what you believe in? Your spending your short time on Earth, where you're being watched, by being a complete dick to someone. You aren't treating them with the respect they deserve.

    The common thread with religion is that it's pretty much all the same. The people involved may be different, seen differently, but it's ultimately the same. You live, die, go to heaven or to hell. But above all you shouldn't be a dick. Be nice. It costs nothing.

    And the common thread with humans, everyone wants to be liked. Everyone wants to be treated with respect. We're only here for 70ish years? Why spend that time getting annoyed at people and institutions that you don't recognise? You're not going to bring down the Vatican tomorrow, you're not going to force the closure of Mecca next week. Just suck it up, people don't have to agree with you. But it doesn't mean you should be nasty to them.

    Life is too bloody short to argue the toss of events that happened thousands of years ago where no body here was around to see it. Be nice.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Can't We All Just Get A Long?

      "So why take the piss out of someone who believes in a God and believes in an afterlife? "

      Because that has always been the way to expose charlatans in any area of human life. Chaucer had it down to a fine art in his Canterbury Tales.

      What people want to believe is a matter for themselves. The problems start when they claim a divine right to impose their dogma on the rest of the population as a form of social control.

      The tribal nature of human behaviour means that people will pay lip service to a group's shibboleths in return for its offered protection against other groups. They try to assuage any doubts by proselytizing - so that conforming to their social model becomes the only choice if you want to work and live.

    2. Def Silver badge

      Re: Can't We All Just Get A Long?

      So why are you making life difficult for people who don't believe in what you believe in?

      Because some of those people are in positions to enact laws that affect my life in a multitude of ways.

      When it is illegal to brainwash children with religion; when it is illegal for laws to be passed that negatively affect certain members of society simply for thinking or acting differently; when organised religion is not legally protected from insult and/or closer scrutiny then we can talk.

      Until then, I will continue to ridicule the ridiculous.

    3. fandom

      Re: Can't We All Just Get A Long?

      Because the whole point of the internet is to allow people to be a dick in an anonymous way.

      To ask people to be nice is, therefore, clearly against progress.

    4. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

      @ wolfetone Re: Can't We All Just Get A Long?

      I think you are confusing Religion with Faith,

      I have no trouble getting along with people who have a particular faith in a deity or otherwise, even when I don't share it (as long as they don't try to stuff it down my throat).

      I have no time whatsoever for organized religion, which is an abuse of faith by parasites interested only in their own self-satisfaction.

    5. King Jack

      Re: Can't We All Just Get A Long?

      Why do I have to respect someone for believing in something, especially when that thing is nonsense?

      1. moiety

        Re: Can't We All Just Get A Long?

        The common thread with religion is that it's pretty much all the same. The people involved may be different, seen differently, but it's ultimately the same. You live, die, go to heaven or to hell. But above all you shouldn't be a dick. Be nice. It costs nothing.

        Good point; but I can be legally executed in (I think it's) 13 different countries for my beliefs or lack thereof. And that's not counting ISIS or that other African lot's territories.

        I'm all for a peaceful coexistance and more power to the elbows of those who quietly get on with it (or possibly the power might be better allocated to their knees). But some of these bastards do not make this possible. About 1-in-4 of the planetary population refer to a book that states I should be converted, taxed or put to death; with no real preference as to which. Which frankly, is a little disconcerting.

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Can't We All Just Get A Long?

      A Long what? (a long noodly appendage? I've already got one)

    7. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Can't We All Just Get A Long?

      The common thread with religion is that it's pretty much all the same. The people involved may be different, seen differently, but it's ultimately the same. You live, die, go to heaven or to hell. But above all you shouldn't be a dick. Be nice. It costs nothing.

      The problem tends to come about when one's holy book tells one to be a dick. They all contain some seriously dickish instructions here and there.

    8. KeithR

      Re: Can't We All Just Get A Long?

      "Most religions - Judaism being the exception - all believe that there is a better place to go to after living on Earth. All religions believe that there is some greater body that will exact punishment or praise on to everyone on Earth"

      Any more wildly inaccurate sweeping statements to hand?

      Seeing as we're discussing works of fiction anyway...

      But as you seem to like sweeping statements:

      "But above all you shouldn't be a dick"

      Most religions (there it is) EXPECT their followers to be dicks to anyone who worships a different imaginary friend, or even anyone who worships the same imaginary friend in a different way.

      Sadly, the only inaccuracy in that part is the "most" - it's just (far too) "many".

      1. Teropher

        Re: Can't We All Just Get A Long?

        @KeithR

        Sadly the inaccurate part is what constitutes getting along and being a dick. And frankly there are just as many dicks among atheists, agnostics communists, socialists, etc.

        To me being a dick and not getting along is the homosexuals who can't take a polite no from Christians with sincerely held beliefs about marriage. Christians who do not call them names, denigrate them and would sell them anything else from their bakery except a wedding cake which would make them participants in something that goes against their sincerely held beliefs. But instead those same homosexuals with their friends and supporters initiate a campaign of threats of violence and obscenities against said couple. Now tell me who is not getting along and who is being a dick? It's not the Christians. There are plenty of places willing to cater to homosexual weddings, in fact in the particular recent story I'm referring to they were given a list of alternate bakeries. Yet Christians are continuously being singled out, never Muslims mind you, and then harassed and/or driven out of business for POLITELY refusing to participate against their conscience. I've yet to see one media outlet say that any of those homosexuals were verbally mistreated, not one. They were merely told no. Why is it that only homosexuals, in a lot of people's minds, are the only ones who must be free but the Christian must be coerced against their will? Why can they not go somewhere else like everybody else does when the store they're at doesn't carry what they were looking for without throwing a temper tantrum and filing a lawsuit. Perhaps I should do that the next time my local store doesn't carry what I want and throw a public temper tantrum and insist that everyone cater to my whims.

        1. smartypants

          Re: Can't We All Just Get A Long?

          There's nothing in the bible against selling homosexuals wedding cakes, but it does mention the 'abomination' that is mixing threads and eating shellfish, but are there any christians who give a damn about that?

          No.

          Religion has always pitted 'them' against us. protestant against catholic. Sunni vs shia. All you need to do is claim it's your 'belief' and somehow that makes it alright to behave in a sub-human way. Magic!

          1. moiety

            Re: Can't We All Just Get A Long?

            "To me being a dick and not getting along is the homosexuals who can't take a polite no from Christians with sincerely held beliefs about marriage. Christians who do not call them names, denigrate them and would sell them anything else from their bakery except a wedding cake which would make them participants in something that goes against their sincerely held beliefs. But instead those same homosexuals with their friends and supporters initiate a campaign of threats of violence and obscenities against said couple. Now tell me who is not getting along and who is being a dick? It's not the Christians.

            Beg to differ; but the Christians are not only being dicks; but they made the opening move. ...make them participants... is a bit rich. Their approval was -I believe- neither asked for nor required; they were just asked to supply a fucking cake. As far as I know there is no passage in any religious book or law in any land where supplying baked goods as a service makes you any way involved in; condoning of; or responsible for the use of that cake.

            The cake shop owner was attempting to ostracise the homosexual couple and -oh yes- that is indeed a dick move. They were attempting to assert their morality on others in a situation where the sexuality of their customers is none of their damned business.

            Now both atheists and homosexuals have as many dickheads as any other group; and I've no doubt that the ensuing 'social' media storm was both disproportionate and unpleasant to behold; but that's the internet for you. Both groups have centuries of oppression to make up for and there was probably some of that in there too.

            Yet Christians are continuously being singled out, never Muslims mind you

            You don't read the news then?

            Why is it that only homosexuals, in a lot of people's minds, are the only ones who must be free but the Christian must be coerced against their will?

            It was the Christian attempt at coercion that kicked it all off. You can't bleat when the situation gets reversed. And nobody got stoned to death or set light to, so you're ahead on points.

  18. SolidSquid

    Honestly I might have been tempted to pick holes in the reasoning, but the judge went to the trouble of doing the reading and actually considering it seriously, including raising the point of how close it is to an actual religion, so I'd say he's done exactly as he should have in this case in quite a professional manner (rather than simply dismissing the arguments as nonsense)

    That said, I do wonder if they're now going to start questioning (apparent) Christians on the contents of the bible to see if they're "real" Christians or not before allowing religious exemptions to them

  19. kain preacher Silver badge

    To read it as religious doctrine would be little different from grounding a 'religious exercise' on any other work of fiction

    Ummm Church of Scientolog.

  20. Scott Broukell
    Meh

    In order for organised religion to flourish it is required that all infants below the age of consent have their brains polluted, by their parents and/or elders, with said theological drivel, reducing to zero, in most cases, the chances of said infants ever being able to truly make their own minds up about any theology once they have received a well rounded education and reached the age of consent. If religious folk are worried that their particular theology will come to nothing without taking such abusive measures then that tells you everything you need to know about the ways in which humans like to assert power and control over one another and make up sh*te to provide a spurious basis for such actions. We are all born with an innate sense of good and bad which is reinforced by learning from our parents and, as we grow, from wider social understanding. Some parents are born with a leaning towards bad and it is likely, but not a given, that their children will follow suit. If any self respecting follower of Pastafarianism is discovered to have been guilty of bludgeoning the minds of his/her child(ren) with untrue thoughts of pasta/spaghetti, before they have reached the age of consent, and can make their own minds up about such matters, then I will be the first to arrange the prompt incarceration of that individual in a deep pit of finely grated hard cheese. But worry ye not Mr. Judge, you see, Pastafarianism is will not continue and has no future, because it is not rammed down the throats of the innocent, instead it is learnt about and discussed.

    /<rant> over

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I see that you have religious objections against such heretic constructs as paragraphs and well structured sentences, so clearly the school indoctrination didn't take. Well done.

      :)

      1. Scott Broukell

        'Ere, don't you go getting all shirty now with yer new fangled evangelical grammer n'all that!

        ; )

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "In order for organised religion to flourish it is required that all infants below the age of consent have their brains polluted,"

      It is not that simple. Children raised in a moderate religion will tend to treat it like other childhood myths as they grow up. It is a good vaccination against becoming zealously religious in later life.

      Like many of our Pagan traditions it helps to express our feelings about the bounties and vicissitudes of life. Most people learn not to take it seriously. It is primarily theatre - as Augustus Pugin recognised when he applied his theatrical design talents to the moribund English churches.

      Those who are seriously indoctrinated have their religion as a major part of their identity. To give it up, or even to question it, risks both social ostracism and deep mental scars of rebellion.

    3. fandom

      And yet another one advocating censorship, with a 'will no one think of the children' rant.

      Those self righteous pricks are all the same.

  21. jake Silver badge

    Serious question for Judge John M. Gerrard ...

    Can you show me (or anyone else) why any religion is actually based on reality? If not, how can you conclude that FSMism is NOT real?

    There are no gawd/ess/s. Anybody who claims to think otherwise needs to prove their theses. During the meanwhile, idiots like Judge John M. Gerrard don't actually understand what "proof" means, nor why "I believe in FSM" means exactly the same thing as as "I believe in God".

    Humans worldwide need to get off the "my shaman said so" bandwagon. It would do us all a world of good, and probably transfer a lot of money into helping humans who need help surviving.

    1. wolfetone Silver badge

      Re: Serious question for Judge John M. Gerrard ...

      Simple answer to this: Prove it.

      You can no more disprove the existence of any sort of God than I can prove the existence of one.

      The only way we'll both find out whether one exists or not will be when we die. At that point I'm not entirely sure I'll be able to comment on this thread to see you comment "I TOLD YOU" or whether I will be able to write "Where abouts are you in heaven? Let's have a coffee".

      1. 9Rune5

        Re: Serious question for Judge John M. Gerrard ...

        "You can no more disprove the existence of any sort of God than I can prove the existence of one."

        By that logic there are leprechauns everywhere. I also have several bridges to sell you.

        At one point or another, hopefully, it will dawn on you that if this God entity is so all powerful, he/she/it should be able to make his/her/its presence known quite easily in ways that would leave very little doubt.

        Further more, certain Christians (and muslims too) should also consider how ridiculous it would be for an entity to create the universe and this planet, then sit around for millions and millions of years twiddling his/her/its thumbs until finally creating Man only to tell him "no buttsex and no equal rights, m'okay?". An entity that backwards is hardly worth any serious prayer time. Just sayin'.

        1. wolfetone Silver badge

          Re: Serious question for Judge John M. Gerrard ...

          Well in that case Schrodingers cat must be dead in the box then?

          But what does it matter to you what I believe in? I also believe Panda's are pointless and should be left to go extinct.

          To be honest I believe there is a grain of truth in the bible, that some of what happened did happen. Those events aren't confined to the Bible, it can be found in lots of other books like the Quran and the Tora. But at the same time the Bible and other books have been bastardised over time to suit the needs and wants of the religion to gain more followers. The same way Coca Cola use a sweaty muscular man mowing a lawn to sell Diet Coke to females. You have a product to sell, you do what you have to do to make it popular with the public.

          But there is this belief, misguided belief, that humans are these bloody incredible people who are so so so smart that we can't possibly be outsmarted. We have been around for feck all time really, yet we're so confident we know it all. I think in the 1500's a man was burned at the stake in England for saying the Earth wasn't at the centre of the universe. That was a popular decision, because the humans around him knew best. Right now it's popular to believe that the countries on a map are all to scale with each other, when in fact Africa is drawn smaller than it really is to stop all the White people shitting themselves about it. (Look it up, it's interesting).

          And this whole "no buttsex and no equal rights", that's not a religious thing! That's humans, yet again thinking they know best. In Roman times, even in Egyptian times, it wasn't alien to have two men get it on with each other. But they both had religion at the same time? Gay marriage is legalised now, but there are plenty of Catholics who think its wrong, and there are plenty of Atheists who think it's wrong. There are still Catholics (myself included) who think it's alright for a Gay couple to marry, like wise (I'd hope) you being Atheist would also think it's fine. In the Church of England there are Gay bishops and vicars, in the church! Openly Gay bishops and vicars, and - here's a shocking revelation - there are women vicars! Up until 1700/1800's Priests could also marry in the Catholic church. So to blame religion for the infringement on the rights of homosexuals and women is misplaced.

          It isn't God writing the Bible, it's the humans running the show here on Earth who are dictating what we do and don't do. It's the same with Islamic extremists, they say they have read the Quran and that it says all non-muslims must die. They get around this by quoting lines of the Quran, out of context. But the people they preach it to lap it up for one reason or another. The Quran, like the Bible, is a book made up of smaller books and like every other religion violence, hate, all the nasty things just aren't there.

          We all know about the 10 commandments, one of them being "Thou Shalt Not Steal". Well I think that's a given isn't it? That's not too bad.

          "Thou Shalt Not Murder" is also a good thing. But it gets in the way when you need to get some oil out of a middle eastern country. But if you spin the reasons why you need to go to war - like terrorism - then it isn't murder. It's self defence. Sweet! But that's society moving the goal posts. Just because someone dies in the theatre of war doesn't mean it's not murder. Murder is murder regardless of the circumstance. But that's society's view. Society thinks it's fine to go to war, they don't want to think about the soldiers on the other side being killed, or the kids being blown up. If that happened outside of wartime it'd be Murder. But Society says "If you go to War it isn't murder. More of the opposition killed the better!". Religious texts are simple about it though. You kill someone, it's murder. They don't give caveats.

          This is an argument that's regularly had, and I've had it with Atheists, Muslims, Rastafarians etc. My girlfriends Grandad whos 76 has been Atheist all his life - which is a big deal considering what the UK was like in the 50's - and he knows it's human beings who make life shit for everyone else. Religion is the excuse. If you removed religion from the table, what would the excuses be for actions people or countries took?

          Because of the human condition, if everyone was like you and Atheist, wars would still go on. People would still be raped. Women would still be second class citizens.

          Society is the problem.

          1. KeithR

            Re: Serious question for Judge John M. Gerrard ...

            "Well in that case Schrodingers cat must be dead in the box then?"

            Bound to be, by now...

          2. KeithR

            Re: Serious question for Judge John M. Gerrard ...

            "Society is the problem."

            No, it's DEFINITELY religion.

            1. wolfetone Silver badge

              Re: Serious question for Judge John M. Gerrard ...

              Nope, it's society buddy. I don't know what drugs your taking but I've never seen a Bible speak, or a Tora stand up and shout at me telling me that I should hate men who love other men.

              However, I have seen plenty of people doing that on the TV in America. They didn't look like Bibles.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Serious question for Judge John M. Gerrard ...

          You are assuming that the human race was created alone, also that He didn't have other things to do (angelic revolts etc, and what are angels anyway?). Also, it is impossible to have any kind of real free will if you know with absolute certainty that God exists, God knows what you are doing and why and what God wants you to do - so God steps back from your direct awareness. And a lot of the prescriptive stuff is made by priestly people out of their own bile.

          Personally I prefer being a Jedi - mines the one wiith a Wookie in the pocket

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    " To read it as religious doctrine would be little different from grounding a 'religious exercise' on any other work of fiction. "

    What, like the Bible or the Quran? Funny, 'religious exercise' based on that horse dung is accepted by the state.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    As an ardent pastafarian I find the assertion that my religion is a parody and that my religious texts are satire DEEPLY OFFENSIVE, and I feel discriminated against by this judgement.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      See! Satire doesn't have to be funny or clever!!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I'm sorry to hear you are offended. Don't change your religion because of it though, that's apos-pasty.

      If someone draws a cartoon featuring pastafarianst icons, is that offensive?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        If someone draws a cartoon featuring pastafarianst icons, is that offensive?

        No, we preach tolerance. Wheat tolerance, mostly.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          I'm wheat intolerant, so would that make me an antipastafarian?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Nah, but you're probably breaking some anti-discrimination laws.

      2. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

        If someone draws a cartoon featuring pastafarianst icons, is that offensive?

        I suppose those meatballs might bother a vegetarian pastafarian. Is there a tofu sect?

        1. Semtex451 Silver badge
          Pint

          Happen to be eating a Quorn mince Spag Bol. Was all they had left in the canteen.

          See I converted to Pastafarianism yonks ago, and have no plans to launch a Quorn sect, yet.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The Golden Bough

    by Sir James George Frazer covers a vast number of ancient beliefs. They boil down to druidic rituals that people hope will control the bounties and vicissitude of everyday life. Whether any of these rituals have any effect is never understood - and factual investigation is discouraged.

    Organised religions feed on that human need. They dictate conformity within a group for fear of losing its protection - while the inherent levers of social/political control can be used for good or ill.

  25. TRT Silver badge

    And the question of morality...

    as both a feature of religion and of rightful law occupies the time of countless philosophers, legal and otherwise. Now don't anger them or the Amalgamated Union of Philosophers, Sages, Luminaries, and other professional thinking persons will call a pan-galactic philosophers strike.

  26. Jedit
    Joke

    Denying this man access to his means of worship?

    Honestly, it only sounds reasonable under the circumstances. If Cavanaugh had access to sufficient quantities of pasta he might make a noose from the noodles and hang himself.

  27. #define INFINITY -1 Bronze badge
    Coat

    RECORDS

    It seems that the difference between Pastafarianism and other religions is being overlooked. Possibly YOU believe you have 'all knowledge'; from my vantage point, most recorded history was recorded by members of a religion (pre-gutenberg). Yes that makes much history debatable, but if you're going to stand on your soapbox and tell me 'some scientist drew such-and-such a conclusion' and I must believe it, well ---->

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: RECORDS

      It seems that the difference between Pastafarianism and other religions is being overlooked.

      I think you meant to say "overcooked"..

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Indeed!

    "The Flying Spaghetti Monster Is Not God"

    Quite, it's a strawman.

    and a poor one at that, but how could anything trying to be God be anything but poor imitation, except God himself.

    1. smartypants

      Re: Indeed!

      "how could anything trying to be God be anything but poor imitation"

      Easy with such a low barrier to entry. All you have to do is ensure that your strawman has no actual effect on reality, other than via the minds of the faithful.

    2. Fortycoats

      Re: Indeed!

      And which god would that be? Jehovah, Allah, Ra, Vishnu, Zeus, Jupiter, Muad'Dib, Offler the crocodile-god, or is it really the FSM?

      1. King Jack
        Coffee/keyboard

        Re: Indeed!

        Muad'Dib!! Brilliant.

        1. Semtex451 Silver badge

          Re: Indeed!

          Speaking of Muad'Dib, reminds me that the spice used in your recipe is added to your taste.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Indeed!

        What god?

        You know very well what God.

        1. KeithR

          Re: Indeed!

          "You know very well what God."

          No. Is it the made-up one you believe in, or the made-up one I've just come up with?

  29. ukgnome

    Let Us Pray

    Our saucer which art in a colander, draining be Your noodles.

    Thy noodle come, Thy meatballness be done on earth, as it is meaty in heaven.

    Give us this day our daily sauce,

    and forgive us our lack of piracy, as we pirate and smuggle against those who lack piracy with us.

    And lead us not into vegetarianism, but deliver us from non-red meat sauce.

    For thine is the colander, the noodle, and the sauce,

    forever and ever.

    R'Amen.

  30. Millwright

    No, he didn't. He broke with Rome and created the Church of England but he was doctrinally Catholic. Protestantism - which started mainly in mainland Europe and whose followers in England, like the Lollards, had been given a hard time for centuries - came later under Edward VI and Elizabeth 1.

  31. Sooty

    "The decision to teach Intelligent Design was justified as it being one of many widely-held religious beliefs about the origins of the Earth"

    I thought the whole point of Intelligent Design was that you can't teach religion in schools, so they were pretending it was science.

  32. pro-logic

    Troubling precedent

    Pastafarianism is clearly a 'joke' religion. But the beauty of it is that it's written and designed in the exact same way as a 'real' religion.

    The judge has opened a can of worms here...

    I would have thought that Pastafarianism is actually registered as a religion in the US by now. In which case it would make it even harder for the judge to go with the 'joke' excuse.

    1. Chorotega

      Re: Troubling precedent

      This could have wider implications. A Pastafarian Minister (Which I am) can currently legally conduct marriages in the US, with a Marriage licence. This can be obtained with just your Ministerial certificate ($20) and a letter of good standing from the Church (Free with the certificate). Also, serving US soldiers can have "CFSM" as their religion on their dog tags. I wonder if these rights will also be revoked?

  33. james 68

    Supurb

    Somebody get this guy to rule on scientology sharpish. (yes, that's scientology with a small 's', because it is not a real religion - or word for that matter according to the spell checker).

    In all seriousness this judge has a rather sensible outlook which could give a major blow to those fuckwits.

    1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

      Re: Supurb

      (yes, that's scientology with a small 's', because it is not a real religion - or word for that matter according to the spell checker).

      But it is a proper noun, even if it's not a proper religion, so the capital 'S' is valid.

  34. arctic_haze Silver badge

    Next time they'll tell us Jedi is not a religion!

    Actually I count as a Christian. However, I feel uneasy with judges ruling what is a religion. This is the first step down a very slippery slope...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Next time they'll tell us Jedi is not a religion!

      Actually I count as a Christian

      Oh? Do Christians count differently? What do they use, octal?

      :)

      1. Swarthy Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: Next time they'll tell us Jedi is not a religion!

        Well, Pagans use hex....

  35. nijam

    > "To read it as religious doctrine would be little different from grounding a 'religious exercise' on any other work of fiction."

    Exactly like every other religion, then.

  36. PghMike

    Made up religions

    I'd like to see the judge's take on Mormonism, Moses's burning bush, or the virgin birth, for that matter.

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Scientology God

    v. Spaghetti God, round 1, DING!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Scientology God

      Does Scientology have a god? I thought the general view was that we're the remains of a war that happenned a long time ago in a galaxy far far away.

  38. Jagged

    Genuine Believer

    I suspect that Judge Gerrard is a genuine Pastafarian and just doesn't want the religion being besmirched by the criminal fraternity looking for an easy ride :(

    Judge Gerrard should be made a noodle saint.

  39. Eclectic Man

    But

    I read a few months ago that a person had managed to get her passport photograph to include wearing a colander as it was a religious item, and she was a Pastafarian. And this too in the good old, rational (yet God-fearing) U.S. of A.

    I'm off to the shrine of Apollo to sacrifice a goat in the hope of some enlightement.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: But

      I read a few months ago that a person had managed to get her passport photograph to include wearing a colander as it was a religious item, and she was a Pastafarian.

      I think the consequence of that was that it required a colander to be on hand for any ID verification. Kudos for taking it that far, and kudos for the authorities involved for playing along, but with enough of a twist to prevent wholesale silliness. I can live with that, because it leaves dignity intact on both sides of the equation.

      I was wondering if that needed more cowbell, but I fear few can follow that sort of 90 degree twist so I won't.

      1. Semtex451 Silver badge

        Re: But

        I now use a paper doily as an analogue for a collander. Got fed up carrying the real thing around.

        BTW I've copyrighted the idea, and can send you one out if you provide an SSAE

  40. ZeroDrop

    A question of belief

    "to believe" is a concept that isn't verifiable.

    One can't say for sure if someone truly believe in something or not. Do someone truly believes there *IS* a FSM in some place of the Cosmos? On the same basis, someone really believe that there's a man on the sky using a white beard and seeing above all, literally?

    So, if we can't tell what's in the heads of people, how we deal with such a question? My answer is, let's treat all beliefs as what they are, beliefs, a product of one's mind. With no distinction.

    I think the implicit argument this judge used is, in fact, the true impossibility to one really believe in the FSM, that's why he called a "satire".

    [fanatical religious mode ON]

    Now is time to FSM believers to show their real faith and show to this judge that he is, in fact, wrong! Thay need to cover this judge in pasta until he sees the holy meatballs and acknowledge the holy truth of FSM!

    [fanatical religious mode OFF]

    Seriously, many people killed and died in name of some religion through history. This show the power of the belief of the people. Some martyrs really believed that there's virgins awaiting for them in heavens, otherwise they wouldn't have took their own lives. Many people in the world are ready to get a knife and kill "infidels" at sight. How strong one's faith in the FSM truly is?

    1. #define INFINITY -1 Bronze badge

      Re: A question of belief

      > Seriously, many people killed and died in name of some religion through history.

      That is grossly exaggerated by many I've encountered. The real bloody wars were about lucre/power. Religion was simply an excuse and I'm unsure whether the 'faithful' of the time believed it.

      1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

        Re: A question of belief

        The real bloody wars were about lucre/power. Religion was simply an excuse and I'm unsure whether the 'faithful' of the time believed it.

        I've visited the Vatican, and there's plenty of lucre and power on display there. If the religions are seeking that lucre and power (and many organised religions appear to be seeking exactly that), and that lucre and power was gained through wars, then it appears to be a matter of semantics whether wars were fought for the former or latter.

        1. #define INFINITY -1 Bronze badge

          Re: A question of belief

          How much do they have the Romans to thank? How much of that money/power was simply extracted from the citizens of the empire? Is that something that only religions do?

          And back to my point: how many wars were fought between countries with different religions, with religion as the stated reason? I ask as, back to my original point, it seems that this 'religion makes wars' sentiment does not have a strong footing.

          1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

            Re: A question of belief

            And back to my point: how many wars were fought between countries with different religions, with religion as the stated reason?

            How about the Crusades? That's nine, for starters.

            1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. KeithR

        Re: A question of belief

        "That is grossly exaggerated by many I've encountered. "

        Back that up.

    2. KeithR

      Re: A question of belief

      "This show the power of the belief of the people"

      It shows the power of gullibility and of intellectual laziness.

      Nothing more.

  41. Imsimil Berati-Lahn

    One question.

    Did this chancer have to pay court costs or was this ruling, (and the lengthy research necessary to reach it) funded with public money?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: One question.

      Given the kind of crap that court time is normally wasted on I'd say this produced at least some amusement. That's rare enough to make it worthwhile.

  42. codemonkey

    "Prison officers denied his requests on grounds that Pastafarianism is a parody religion." That made me LOL. Thanks El Reg!!

  43. Stumpy

    “The FSM Gospel is plainly a work of satire, meant to entertain while making a pointed political statement. To read it as religious doctrine would be little different from grounding a 'religious exercise' on any other work of fiction. A prisoner could just as easily read the works of Vonnegut or Heinlein and claim it as his holy book, and demand accommodation of Bokononism or the Church of All Worlds.”

    ... but surely this is exactly what L.Ron Hubbard did with the Church of Scientology.

  44. danny_0x98

    All kidding aside, this demonstrates my worry about Religious Freedom legislation in that it places the Court in a position where it has to decide what religious beliefs are correct and which are not.

    In this case, and unfairly I'm restating excerpted arguments, the judge is saying that because an adherent does not understand the religion's texts, access to the texts is denied. Would a judge deny access to a Bible because the plaintiff diesn't understand Hosea well enough, yet?

    The judge also forgets his John Stuart Mills when he dismisses parody as a possible source for truth.

    Laws which give a pass on secular behavior within the bounds of law for religious reasons are a bad idea. This judge overreached in allowing the state to deny the plaintiff's expression of speech and choice of religion.

    1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

      The judge also forgets his John Stuart Mills when he dismisses parody as a possible source for truth.

      Yes, but would you pay much heed to a man who, of his own free will, on half a pint of shandy, was particularly ill?

  45. MeCcano

    Funniest I've read in a long time, made me almost choke on my lunch..

  46. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    made me almost choke on my lunch..

    If it was pasta you choked on, I'd reconsider laughing at FSM..

  47. x 7

    The Marquis?

    So can I claim "120 Days of Sodom" as my holy book?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Happy

      Re: The Marquis?

      You can, but will the Judge rule in your favour?

  48. Mike Richards

    The problem with the idea of a 'parody religion'

    Is finding ones that aren't.

  49. tekHedd
    Pint

    So it's made up? So what?

    So we freely admit that the FSM is made up; so what? How does that make it not true? How does that prove it's not also divine revelation? Revelation is coming up with something out of nothing, with no basis for the revelation other than that that you suddenly see it in your mind--except that it's also divine. And nobody can read Bobby's testimony and remain untouched.

    Just because the holy teachings are most likely made up on the spur of the moment doesn't mean that they are not true. So what if some FSM follower's don't believe? What if half of us are only pretending to believe in the FSM? How does this make our believers any different from any other popular religion?

    Yes, I wonder, sometimes, if some of the obviously made-up scriptures might not be divinely inspired. Maybe there is no FSM. Maybe there's no beer in heaven. But even when my faith is shaken by the tyranny of "facts", I always have hope.

    As my mother says about Christianity, (paraphrased): "I'm going to continue believing because I want to believe, and neither you nor the facts can stop me."

  50. Florida1920
    Alien

    Pastafarianism is satire

    "True religions" are simply jokes.

  51. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Any Sikhs out there?

    Sikhism is one of the worlds newer religions with scriptures etc that were created only a few hundred years ago. At what point did that become recognised as a"real" religion? What did they do to ensure their teachings were not seen as heretical or satire or whatever?

    Anyone...?

  52. Mike Moyle Silver badge

    "A prisoner could just as easily read the works of Vonnegut or Heinlein and claim it as his holy book, and demand accommodation of Bokononism or the Church of All Worlds.”

    And your point, Your Honor...?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Church_of_All_Worlds

  53. Midnight

    If I recall my U S American history, wasn't it Thomas Jefferson who argued strongly that the Church should be entirely under the control of the government?

    I'm pretty sure there was a bit near the beginning of the Bill of Rights about it. "Congress shall have the power to pass laws respecting any establishment of religion and prohibiting the free exercise thereof whenever it is convenient to do so" or something like that.

  54. quasimodo

    And the Subject of religion angers the 'liberated intelligentia' again ...

    Wow - 194 comments and counting ...

    It never ceases to amaze me how quickly the 'anti-religion' lot spring into life.

    It's like rattling a cage of sleeping canaries....

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: And the Subject of religion angers the 'liberated intelligentia' again ...

      "It's like rattling a cage of sleeping canaries...."

      A very apt simile. The metaphorical canary is the person who warns of a creeping danger before anyone else gets seriously hurt.

      The hierarchies of organised religions have shown too often that they seem to care only about their religious dogma and the temporal power it purports to give them. Human rights, equality, and justice seem to be regarded as irritants to their jealously guarded privileges.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Holmes

        Re: And the Subject of religion angers the 'liberated intelligentia' again ...

        So, that explains Teresa May?

    2. KeithR

      Re: And the Subject of religion angers the 'liberated intelligentia' again ...

      "It never ceases to amaze me how quickly the 'anti-religion' lot spring into life."

      We have the time - we don't waste it on blindly worshipping imaginary Supreme Beings as if we were uneducated medieval serfs, up to our knees in pigshit with only "heaven" to look forward to...

    3. smartypants

      Re: And the Subject of religion angers the 'liberated intelligentia' again ...

      It never ceases to amaze me that people who have to employ reason in their day job can go back to their culturally-imposed, idiotically irrational dogma in the evening.

      Actually, I do understand it. It's just about tribalism. Anyone who has thought long enough about what an infinite time in 'Heaven' must be like can't really be for such a horrific concept.

      Take care not to engage brain, in case you turn into one of us!

  55. AdamG57

    Civil procedure

    Religion has featured in other famous precedents; the one used as a first year law school standard as an example of judicial humor is Mayo v Satan - see http://kevinunderhill.typepad.com/Documents/Mayo_v_Satan.pdf which undoubtedly was in the mind of the judge in this case...

    ... Given the use of a literary reference. Precedent followed!

  56. SteveCarr
    Go

    New Zealand once again at the forefront of progressive social change

    World's first legal Pastafarian wedding to take place in Akaroa this weekend

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/life-style/weddings/78766088/worlds-first-legal-pastafarian-wedding-to-take-place-in-akaroa-this-weekend

  57. JustWondering
    Happy

    I wonder ...

    ... what this judge would have to say about Scientology.

    1. KeithR

      Re: I wonder ...

      " what this judge would have to say about Scientology."

      You get the prize for being the 100th person to ask about fecking Scientology.

  58. holdere

    I'm surprised he didn't reference Hubbard, if.he was talking science fiction religions... though it would (unfortunately) blow his argument out of the water.

  59. raving angry loony

    "Freedom of religion" really was a myth all along. It's really "freedom of religion as approved by a government that's provably under the influence of at least one established religion".

    Hypocrisy. Found at a local government near you.

  60. Ania

    UNBELIEVABLE!

    Work of fiction?! He clearly hasn’t read the bible or quran! Cause these are deadly serious!

    Outrageous, I hope they appeal.

  61. salerio61

    I'm quite impressed a judge knows about "Bokononism" and "Church of All Worlds"

  62. Concerned Bystander

    In the soup for sure.

    The judge may laugh now, but once he shuffles off this mortal coil he will surely be sentenced to spend all eternity in gumbo.

  63. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    Visit the unbeliever with delicious food!

  64. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    By the same logic, all religions aren't religions. This sets an interesting precedent for the future.

  65. LaunchpadBS
    Facepalm

    In god we trust...

    How can someone who swears there's only his one true god ever acknowledge the existence of another god...? The system is flawed!

  66. Sanlorenzo

    This judgment is irrational, illogical and unreasonable.

    Since there exists no proof, nor even the slightest evidence of cause and effect, that would even ever-so-tenuously support the stories comprising any religious text that I know of, then, if this ruling is to be held as rational, logical and reasonable, it must also be held that all other religions, being "widely held beliefs", are in reality no different than pastafarianism, or jedi knights etc.. The idea that this religion was created by someone in order to parody other religions is not germain, because no statement to this effect is within the texts of the religion itself. So it seem to me that by extension, if it is widely held as acceptable for a judge to rule in this irrational, illogical and unreasonable way, then it is clear that something is very wrong with the legal system that facilitates his/her behaviour. In summary, it's either turtles all the way down, or it isn't.

  67. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    legit beliefs questioned and denied?

    Does this mean L-Ron misread his source texts for (s)cientology or that he was just full of shit?

  68. Eponymous

    Ah, if I weren't a Christian, I might fancy Frisbeetarianism, the belief the when you die, your soul flies up on the roof and becomes stuck there.

  69. Hurn

    Research Fail

    "... read the works of Vonnegut or Heinlein and claim it as his holy book, and demand accommodation of Bokononism or the Church of All Worlds.”

    CAW (Church of All Worlds) is a recognized (tax free) religion in the US and has been since the 1970's.

    This judge needs to do better research.

    Grounds for an appeal?

    1. Alistair Silver badge

      Re: Research Fail

      @ Hurn:

      Only the caffeinate of the cup has Grounds For Appeal.

  70. Donkey

    Pasta La Vista Baby

    I am worried that splits in the Pastafarian movement may be about to make the whole thing look ridiculous. We have already heard of the blasphemy of the vegetarian tendency as mentioned above. No meatballs indeed; how repulsive - these people should be strangled with their own noodles. I now hear from various sources that the nefarious parmesian sect (of Italian origin) are taking up arms and intend to establish a Pastilifate on the European mainland. Anyone who does not heap large amounts of grated or sliced Italian hard cheese upon their noodle meal will be declared unworthy and stoned to death using bags of supermarket own label dried noodles. With this unfortunate development there can be no doubt that pastafarianism should take its place standing shoulder to shoulder with all the other stupid, mindless, faith based belief systems like Islam, Christianity, Judaisim, Google ("do no evil"), and Scientology.

    Of course if you really need a Religion to guide you please contact me for details of my own new start-up world-wide organisation "Non-definitive Conceptualisim" It makes no demands, you can believe what you like and you are guaranteed eternal existence (during this lifetime only - terms and conditions apply - Minimum contribution $1,000 per calender month or 25% of your income whichever is the greater).

  71. swooosh

    Unbelievable. The judge is strongly biased and ruled in haste. His reasoning is based entirely on what is known as Bandwagon Fallacy, where something is justified only if enough people believe it.

    Every religion started small and took time to develop into what we see today. Some religions made it, some did not. Some were also banned. But that was when impalement, pederasty and human sacrifice were the norm.

    Besides, none of the currently recognized religions were ever proven to be true, so judge John M. Gerrard's ruling sounds incredibly arrogant and hypocritical. On what authority can he rule what belief can or cannot become a religion? Are we in 21st century BC? Is he also going to rule on which religion is true? Because personally, I'd take the spaghetti monster as an alternative to the selective and vengeful God of the old testament any day.

    Ketchup be with youse and may youse be blessed with parmezan too on the 7th day of the 7th month every 7 years and remember it every Sabbath, unless the day is Sabbath, in which case you get to pray for an additional virgin after death.

    I mean this makes much more sense than anything I've heard from the established religious authorities to date.

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