Written by Jason Petersen
There is a fundamental distinction between the way that Christian apologists approach proving a negative, and the way that atheists approach proving a negative. The distinction is that Christian apologists give good reasons to accept that something doesn’t exist or isn’t true, whereas atheist apologists will commit a fallacy known as an argument from ignorance. The atheist will say “If you can’t prove to my satisfaction that God exists, then I am justified in not believing.” It is an argument from ignorance to say that “X” does not exist because it hasn’t been proven to my satisfaction. However, Christian apologists will say, “We have good reasons to not accept your claim.” and then will proceed to give those reasons.
The Conflict of Worldviews
Since science alone can not test the validity of worldviews, we must use other methods to test claims in which science itself cannot test. You might ask, how can we tell how a worldview is valid or invalid? The mark of something that is not true is inconsistency. What we must do is take all of the presuppositions of a worldview into account, and follow those presuppositions to their logical conclusions. If any of these presuppositions are shown to be internally inconsistent while following them to their ultimate conclusion, then that worldview is false.
In this case, since the atheist is arguing for The Flying Spaghetti Monster, we must take the properties of the Flying Spaghetti Monster into consideration when arguing against it.
The Problem for the Atheist
It should be recognized that when the atheist is arguing for a deity in order to refute any type of theism, including Christianity, that the atheist is forsaking their own worldview in favor of another. The presuppositions of Pastafarianism are inconsistent with the presuppositions of atheism. Since the arguments and objections that atheism brings to the table in regards to Christianity are not sufficient, it is necessary for atheists to posit something as absurd as a Flying Spaghetti Monster. Since the presuppositions of Pastafarianism are inconsistent with atheism, when they adopt this worldview to try to challenge the special revelation of Christianity, they are actually forsaking their own belief that no gods exist. If the arguments that atheists used against Christianity were so consistent, there would be no need for them to mention the Flying Spaghetti Monster. It seems that the atheists have not realized that if they could successfully prove the existence of a Flying Spaghetti Monster, then atheism would be false. The Flying Spaghetti Monster undermines the entire atheist worldview.
The Flying Spaghetti Monster
The concept of the Flying Spaghetti Monster was revealed to the public when an atheist named Bobby Henderson wrote a letter to the Kansas State Board of Education in regards to a decision to permit teaching intelligent design as an alternative to evolution in public school science classes.(1) Intelligent Design proponents responded by saying that his letter unwittingly proved the ID movement’s point, because ID does not say or try to conclude who the designer is. Nevertheless, The Flying Spaghetti Monster became a popular objection to Christianity and all other forms of theism, even though that doesn’t appear to be what Bobby Henderson’s original intention was.
The Properties of the Flying Spaghetti Monster
When we examine worldviews, even Pastafarianism, we must take the presuppositions of that worldview into consideration if we are to critique it in a fair manner. What do Pastafarians reveal about The Flying Spaghetti Monster? The list below will help illustrate the differences between God and The Flying Spaghetti Monster:
[ultimatetables 1 /]
An Axiological Argument against The Flying Spaghetti Monster
The commandments of the Flying Spaghetti Monster are known as the eight commands, or as the Pastafarians say “I’d really rather you didn’t”s.(2) Since the commandments by the Flying Spaghetti Monster are not set in stone, then in the Pastafarian worldview, there can not be any concrete foundation for prescriptive moral values. Even so, the “eight I’d really rather you didn’t”s express misplaced frustration at the Christian God. However, if there are no concrete objective moral values in the Pastafarian worldview, then there are no grounds in which to say that anything is truly morally reprehensible. This presents an obvious self-contradiction in the moral portion of the Pastafarian worldview. We can summarize our argument as follows:
1. Pastafarianism only entertains relative moral values at best.
2. Pastafarians live as if objective moral values exist.
3. If a Pastafarian lives as if objective morals exist while claiming that morals are relative, then the pastafarian worldview is self-contradictory.
4. A self-contradictory worldview cannot be true.
Conclusion: Therefore, Pastafarianism is false.
A Cosmological Argument against Flying Spaghetti Monster
Since Pastafarianism says that the Flying Spaghetti Monster is made out of spaghetti, then it follows that the Flying Spaghetti Monster is made out of matter. However, Pastafarianism also claims that the Flying Spaghetti Monster created the universe. The universe, however, is defined as all matter and energy. Since the Flying Spaghetti Monster is made out of matter, then it follows that the Flying Spaghetti Monster is actually a part of the universe. But, if the Flying Spaghetti Monster is part of the universe, then how could it actually create the universe? By definition, the Flying Spaghetti Monster cannot exist independently of the universe, therefore, the Flying Spaghetti Monster couldn’t precede it. We can summarize our argument as follows:
1. The Flying Spaghetti Monster is made of matter.
2. Matter is a part of the universe.
3. Anything that is made of matter can not precede the universe.
4. If the Flying Spaghetti Monster cannot precede the universe, then it could not create the universe.
5. Therefore, the Flying Spaghetti Monster could not have created the universe.
Conclusion: Pastafarianism is false.
An Epistemological Argument against Pastafarianism
According to Bobby Henderson’s letter to the Kansas School Board, Bobby stated that the Flying Spaghetti monster intentionally created the universe to make us think that it was old. This is akin to lying. If the Flying Spaghetti Monster is a liar, then how could we know that anything that it says is true?
Furthermore we find numerous self-contradictions in the doctrine of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. For example, the Flying Spaghetti Monster, in its eight commandments, says that it doesn’t care whether or not people choose to believe in it. However, an article on Rationalwiki(2) says:
“Those who, through either ingnorance or stupidity, neglect and forsake the Flying Spaghetti Monster, go to Hell. There are many different opinions as to what Pastafarian hell is like. Some believe it is a giant freezer where people are doomed to suffer freeze burns and frostbite for all eternity. Others believe it looks similar to Pastafarian heaven, but with instruments of torture. “
Aside from spelling errors in the quoted section of the article, it seems that we have a self-contradiction on our hands. While the eight commandments say that the Flying Spaghetti Monster does not care if people believe in it or not, the Pastafarian doctrine of Hell says otherwise.
That said, we can safely conclude that the Flying Spaghetti Monster is a lying, uncaring, unloving, pile of spaghetti and meatballs. Perhaps normal spaghetti and meatballs share these characteristics, but apparently the Flying Spaghetti Monster is more devious than your average plate of spaghetti. We can summarize our argument as follows:
1. We can not trust what the Flying Spaghetti Monster tells us.
2. The Flying Spaghetti Monster is not a reliable source for truth.
3. No standard of truth can be known if Pastafarianism is true.
4. Pastafarians can not be justified in having knowledge, because truth is ultimately unknowable.
5. If Pastafarians do not have knowledge of the truth, then they can’t know anything.
6. Therefore, Pastafarians can’t know anything according to their own worldview.
The Bible says:
“For all the gods of the peoples are worthless idols, but the Lord made the heavens.” Psalm 96:5
Like all other idols, the Flying Spaghetti Monster falls short in comparison to the Triune Christian God.
1. The Flying Spaghetti Monster is all-powerful, so he can create the universe even though he is made of matter.
Answer: This implications of accepting this objection would violate the law of contradiction, and only serves to highlight the Flying Spaghetti Monster’s self-contradictory nature. One would have to reject the universal law of contradiction in order to raise this objection. Even if the atheist says that he does not accept the law of contradiction, he would actually be affirming the law of contradiction by denying that the law of contradiction is true.
2. The Flying Spaghetti Monster is just a joke to show how absurd other religions are, such as Christianity.
Answer: It is important to be honest when talking about other religions. If the atheist accepts that the Flying Spaghetti Monster doesn’t exist, then the invoking the Flying Spaghetti Monster does not make the truth of Christianity any less probable.
3. You can’t prove that a teapot orbiting mars, or Santa Claus doesn’t exist.
Watch this video:
4. The Flying Spaghetti Monster shows that Christianity is improbable due to all of the other gods that have been posited throughout the ages.
Answer: If one is going to accept that the presence of multiple religions makes it less likely for the Christian to be correct, then the atheist would also have to accept that the presence of other religions makes atheism less probable as well.
5. The Christian God is three people, so he is self-contradictory.
Answer: This is incorrect. God is one being, but we know him as three distinct persons. God the Father, God the son, and God the Holy Ghost. Matt Slick has a great article on the Trinity:
Ben Russell also wrote an article on Pastafarianism. Feel free to read it here.
1. In the beginning there was the Flying Spaghetti Monster”. The Daily Telegraph (London). September 11, 2005. Retrieved 2009-12-19.