Tag Archives: Ramadan

Pastafarianism: satirical response to intelligent design

Onto a much lighter topic… let’s talk about the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, also known as, Pastafarianism.


The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster is a parody religion that was created through a satirical letter by Bobby Henderson. The parody religion takes a light-hearted view on all things religious.pastamonster_2 Henderson wrote the satirical letter to protest the Kansas State Board of Education’s decision to allow intelligent design to be taught in publish schools rather than evolution. Henderson’s creativity clearly showed in the open letter where he claimed to believe in a higher being that resembled spaghetti and meatballs, even describing the higher being to have “noodly appendages.” Henderson asked the Kansas State Board of Education to devote equal class time for intelligent design and also for the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

The_Gospel_of_the_Flying_Spaghetti_MonsterHenderson is described as a prophet of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster and has written The Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster which was published in 2006. The core belief of the “religion” is that the Flying Spaghetti Monster created the universe. Those who follow the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster have meetings online where they share ideas and post about their alleged sightings of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

When Henderson’s open letter to the Kansas State Board of Education was never answered he posted it online where it become a phenomenon. The letter went on to be published in many newspapers, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, and Chicago Sun-Times.The newspaper coverage of his letter caused six publishers to approach him about a book on the Flying Spaghetti Monster. He received a $80,000 advance from Villard to write The Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. The book was released on March 28, 2006.

Henderson states that “the only dogma allowed in the Church ofFSM3d the Flying Spaghetti Monster is the rejection of dogma.” Pastafarians count Friday as their holy day. Prayers are said over meals and they are ended with the phrase “R’amen,” a combination of the usual “Amen” with the food, “ramen.” The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster uses many religious terms with a pasta twist, like “Pastover” instead of Passover and “Ramendan” instead of Ramadan.

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Islam: living through the teachings of the one and only Allah

boston-magazine-marathon-coverIn the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings Islam is all over the news. Many question the religion as a while while the terrorist acts that are often linked to the religion are carried out by Islam extremists.

The word Islam is translated to “submission to the will of God.” Islam is the second largest world religions with one billion followers following Christianity. Muslims believe that there is only one God and that the one God is called Allah. Muslims teach that God sent prophets to humans to shows us how to live in accordance with his teachings. These prophets include Jesus, Moses, Abraham and the final prophet, Muhammad. The sacred text of the Muslims is the Qur’an.

The five Pillars of Islam are central to the Islamic faith. These Pillars of Faith are:

  • Shahadah: declaration of the faith
  • Salat: praying fives times per day
  • Zakat: paying alms/ giving money to charity to benefit the needy and poor
  • Sawm: fasting during Ramadan (Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, during this month Muslims must give up food, drink, smoking, and sexual activity during the daylight hours)
  • Hajj: a pilgrimage to Mecca


Islam has six main beliefs:

  • belief that there is one God named AllahIndian-Muslims-praying-ed
  • belief in angels
  • belief in the holy books
  • belief in the prophets (Abraham, Moses, David, Jesus, Muhammad)
  • belief in a Day of Judgement
  • belief in predestination (Allah has knowledge of everything, but that humans have free choice)

Allah is omniscient and omnipotent. Allah cannot be seen or heard, he is just. Muslims connect with Allah through prayer and reciting the Qur’an. The Qur’an is meant to be sung.

One Islamic term that gets thrown around in the media whenever Islam is discussed is Jihad which means holy war. The term Jihad is used in three different references:

  1. a Muslim’s inner struggle to live a proper Islamic
  2. the struggle to build a good society
  3. a “Holy War,” the struggle to defend Islam

crescent-200Islam has guidelines when it comes to war. War is only allowed in self defense, when other nations attack Islam, and if another state oppresses Muslims.

Another characteristic of the Islam faith is hijab which is the covering that is worn by women to cover everything but the hands and face.

Muslim worship takes place in a place called a mosque. Outside of the mosque Muslims must take off their shoes and carry out a ritual washing before prayer. Inside, everyone sits on the floor to create equality among everyone. One wall in the mosque called the mihrab shows the direction of Mecca which all worshipers must face while they pray. Women and men must sit separately to prevent distraction, but most women stay home to pray.


Muslims take firm stances on many ethical issues:

  • against abortion unless it harms the mother’s life
  • capital punishment is exercised, but forgiveness is preferred
  • against euthanasia
  • no central belief in stem cells (Islam does not have a central authority)
  • all living creatures were made by Allah and should be respected
  • no sexual acts are permitted outside of marriage and contraception is allowed between husband and life
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