EarthRise wrote:We as Pastafarians are not to believe in the FSM. That's the whole point. And that's why we don't count as a valid religion like any other supernatural belief system.
Yarr, where in The Gospel does it say that we're not supposed to believe in His Noodliness? I don't remember that. I remember it says that we shouldn't force our beliefs on others, build expensive shrines in His Noodly name, or otherwise act like jerks, but I don't remember it saying we "are not to believe in the FSM".
I, personally, am honestly a Utilitarian-Humanist/theologically-liberal Pastafarian, so since it has people, outnumbered though they may be, who actually adhere to the faith, I'd say yes, it's a real religion. By "theologically-liberal" I mean I'm not closed-mindedly dogmatic about everything. There are theological conservatives and theological liberals in most other faiths, and I apply that to Pastafarianism as well. I put practicality before dogma, but I insert the Flying Spaghetti Monster, pesto be upon Him, into places where we don't have practical alternatives, until such time that a practical alternative presents itself, at which point I'll go with practicality. Sometimes I even pray to His Noodliness (even when I'm by myself, not just to publicly make points), although I don't actually expect
it to do anything like someone more theologically conservative might. Hey, according to apparently practical logic, it's no more likely to help or hurt than praying to another deity or not praying at all, so why not?
Why am I a Pastafarian? The religion really is just as valid as any other. One of the things I like about Pastafarianism is that it has doubt built in, as has been mentioned: The Gospel specifically states that some of what it says involves bending the truth and even outright lying to test the reader's faith, so it's easy to mold the religion to suit your preferences, a tenet that most other religions are woefully lacking. Furthermore, it's probably the most concise! Score!
As for Utilitarian-Humanist, each of those by themselves are kind of connotationy words for many people, so I put them together. I do this because I find that true utilitarianism must take emotion and irrational behavior into account, as humanism does, and that doing what's best for humans inherently involves looking out not just for humans themselves but for nature as well (where "nature" is loosely defined as things outside strict human-societal-perspectival terms, such as plants, animals, gravitational balance of the solar system, etc.), as utilitarianism does.
May you all be touched by His Noodly Appendage, even if it's not in a way that causes you to recognize it as such. Ramen!