Simple Pastafarians simply believe, they keep it simple, but as I think about what I believe, then call me not simple. Neither am I a pasta priest, pastator, nor pastabbi. Unlike they of the pleading tongue, I do not tell simple believers what to believe.
I am a pastalogian. I normally talk only with other pastalogians and write books that only pastalogians read. Some pastabbi with intellectual pretensions may read my books, but I never read theirs. I am not a pastagelical; I do not seek to convert others. I have been touched by Her Noodly Appendages, but I testify not. While I have nothing to say that would interest simple believers, much less apastaists, I have decided to give some account of myself in terms non-pastalogians may understand. As I am sometimes asked why I'm a Pastafarian, allow me to say....
As the evolutionary biologist Stephen J. Gould noted, science and religion represent separate realms of non-overlapping magisteria. Only Pastafarianism allows the thoughtful to stand fully upright with one foot firmly planted in science (evidentualism) and with the other foot planted as an island in a sea of faith (fideism) uniting all in bliss. I once endeavored to find a place to stand on reason and evidence alone. All I knew was from textbooks. I was an afaithist who knew nothing with certitude apart from the tautologies of mathematics and logic.
Then I read William James who claimed humans had a "will to believe" which was also a right, a duty, and a need. By belief he meant faith-based belief firmly held in certitude. I knew only limited evidence-based belief subject to being disconfirmed and could see that the two occupied separate epistemic realms. Science was magisterial enough, but religion was suspect. I had no difficulty dismissing all faith-based claims. Life without faith was good.
I had no complaints, no sense I was missing anything, but as James pointed out, perhaps one had to embrace faith first to be touched by the convincing evidence that validates it. He was arguing that rationalists and afaithists like me were like asexuals. It is possible to be an asexual human, to have a good and useful life knowing nothing of sex, but James noted that most people are believers, are sexuals and that only by being sexual can one know, in a radically empirical way, that sex is good, true, and beautiful, as is faith.
So perhaps I was missing something. James was a fideist (faith-ist), as was Pascal, and what he offered was a version of Pascal's Wager. Live without faith/sex as you may. Wager on faith/sex, try it for 30 days, and if not good, you've lost little and gained the knowledge that it is all much ado about nothing. But if good, you'll have gained a new magisterium. Of course I practiced safe faith—I went into it wearing the condom of doubt.
As another fideist (Soren Kierkegaard) pointed out: Rational arguments can never prove anything with absolute certainty because it is always possible that supporting evidence has been misinterpreted, is incomplete, mistaken, or that an error in reasoning has occurred, and so faith must always go beyond the evidence and cannot be supported by reason. To support ones faith using rational scientific investigation would mean having to wait until all the data is in (an infinity). In order to have the certainty that faith demands, one must choose to believe what cannot be acquired from scientific investigation.
Aside from certainty, faith demands a passionate personal commitment. Since evidence is imperfect at best, faith that goes against all known evidence, that is impossible, that is absurd, is the strongest faith of all and therefore the best. If we had convincing evidence for a supernatural claim, then belief in it would be unremarkable—then faith would be unnecessary. Life without faith is devoid of that burning in the bosom, of certitude, and of religious meaning. To have a religious life, to live the religious life, you must believe because it is absurd. One must have beliefs to be had by them.
The greatest philosopher of the 20th century, Ludwig Wittgenstein, also a fideist, noted that religion is a self-contained and primarily expressive enterprise, governed by its own internal “grammar” that means what it says, as distinct from what "nature" says. To know, you must believe. Faith is essentially self-referential, logically cut off from externalities, and is not about reality. It can be understood only by other faith-ists and cannot be criticized on rational or evidential grounds.
Philosophy is neither here nor there, neither now nor then. Evidentialism and fideism give raise to non-overlapping magisteria. The twain neither can nor shall meet. Thinking about each, however, is the province of philosophy. In thought that thinks about itself the twain do meet.
In the magisterium of philosophy there can be no logical contradictions. The claims of reason and evidence cannot contradict those of faith, nor vice versa, provided the claims of each are true. Science that makes religious claims is pseudo-science. Religion that makes claims about what evidentialists fondly regard as reality is pseudo-religion. The philosophy of science is not science, nor is fideism, the philosophy of faith, faith. Neither overlap, thus neither can contradict the other as competing claims would involve overlap.
In thinking about epistemic claims, let philosophy be as a lamp. Where claims and claimants conflict, both can be wrong, but both cannot be true, good, and beautiful. Science's claims are limited by reason and evidence. Religion has no such internally imposed constraints, but where it conflicts with science or philosophical magisteria, all cannot be correct.
To repeat: Only Pastafarianism allows one to embrace all magisteria, that of science, religion, philosophy, and especially sex, while preserving your intellectual integrity. There are false claimants of science (pseudo-science), of religion (pseudo-religion), of philosophy (pseudo-philosophy), and sex (not so good sex). As a Pastafarian you may have carnal knowledge of all and feel good about it.
Pastaosophy is based on a single truism: If it feels good, believe it. Pastafarianism is a religion. It is doxastically faith-based. Reason doesn't need faith. Faith doesn't need reason. Humans, if James is right, need both. To be religious is be a faith-er, to be religious and coherent is to be a fideist—to assert that faith is separate and trumps evidence (reality). As the first fideist, Tertullian, put it, "what indeed does Athens have to do with Jerusalem?" Today's rationalists are latter-day Greeks. Today's faith-ists are the true believers who have always been present as majority members of the default culture from which the doubtful, the unbelievers have parted company. Pastafarianism is merely the one true faith that makes no reality-based claims.
There have been many beliefs. There can and indeed should be as may faiths as there are believers. In the realm of faith (free from genocidal proclivities), doxastic openness must rein. It may seem that in the magisterium of faith, "anything goes," but only beliefs that perfectly mirror what truly feels good to the believer are true. This is a severe constraint that must vary from human to human, and may have to vary within the same human as they change in their passage through life.
For some, to believe what is incoherent does not feel good. Of all the faith-based belief systems, only Pastafarians, true lovers of pastaosophy, can know consilience. Only pastaosophy makes no claims, involves no beliefs that are not perfectly consilient with science, philosophy, and sex. Why? Because otherwise they wouldn't feel good.
The one true dictum: "if it feels good, believe it," is not easy to follow. Often beliefs have been inculcated upon tender minds by others claiming authority. Often such beliefs do not feel good, but take hold to possess a mind. Minds can easily be infected by viral memes. Beliefs may have been true to and for the prophet they came to, but false, even toxic, to all others. Often humans have been made to profess faith claims that do not feel good to them, and that do more harm than putative good.
The religious quest, as Pastafarians live it, is the quest to free the mind from any belief that doesn't feel good. Religious beliefs that don't feel good are false, discard them at will. When a believer professes a belief, the only appropriate response is to ask why it feels good to them. Never argue or indulge in disputation. The concern must be that the faith-based belief is true to the person and not one of the all too common second-hand beliefs that may be infecting their mind.
Pastafarians put no head higher than their own. Not because their head is highest, but because it is the only one they have. Pastafarians follow no authority, not even that of the Prophet Bobby. Each and every Pastafarian is their own prophet who alone can know what feels good (to them). Self-deception is a possibility, so each is on an ongoing quest to discover what truly feels good to them. They are aided by considering what Pastafarians before them have found to be true, but in Pastafarianism there really is no compulsion (unlike other religions falsely claim), so the beliefs of others are never binding. If you claim believing in an unpleasant character called God, who is "jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully" makes you feel good, then the compassionate Pastafarian's response of "Why does that make you feel good?" is to invite the fellow believer to consider the possibility that what they believe is what they have been conditioned to believe, and is therefore false. Pastafarians want everyone to believe only what feels good, which boils down to accepting the Flying Spaghetti Monster into your heart.
Speaking of non-binding beliefs, I can speak only of my own. I believe in the Flying Spaghetti Monster because I have been touched by and am being touched by Her Noodly Goodness. I believe her meatballs are the breasts of the Great Mother Goddess full of Sauce for the pasta deprived because that is what feels so deliriously good. If you see them as His Ginormous Cojones, then may His Meat feel good to you. RAmen.
I believe M (short for Flying Spaghetti Monster) is undetectable by any instrumentation, and so, duh, she is invisible. Her Noodly Appendages are everywhere. The theory that most closely describes them is called string theory (instead of noodle theory as some scientists are reluctant to give away their affiliation given the pervasiveness of non-Pastafarian religious bigotry). I believe M could be the creator of the universe. I believe that Earth could be Her creation as part of a higher school science project which, owing to her infinite compassion, she keeps going, occasionally diverting an asteroid or two to make up for the one she missed in the late Cretaceous.
I believe that M could be a supernatural being but isn't as there would be no supernatural world for her to live in. There could be two worlds, but using Occam's Razor (he too was a fideist), and given a lack of evidence and will to believe, I dispense with one—I live happily in the one that remains. I believe M doesn't hear prayers, much less answer them, because, well, obviously she doesn't. I believe that M boiled for my sins and so I never had any. Sometimes I "miss the mark," but sometimes so does M. I believe that M is the Supreme Being. She is the most hyper-intelligent pan-dimensional being in the universe. Every planet has its supreme being (e.g. mice) and there are a near googolplex of inhabited planets, each with its supreme being. Of all the supreme planetary and interplanetary beings there must be one more supreme than all the others. That Being is M. I believe that my Monster is better than your Monster.
If you do not believe in M, I can but pity you. If you think my professed beliefs are sham, then tarry not in my presence. My religion is not a spoof, has nothing to do with flippant sarcasm; I am as sincere a believer as any, and my beliefs are most devoutly to be considered. All faith professors either believe what they've been told to believe, or, preferably, what they subjectively know feels good. Such is the nature of all faith claims. If Pastafarians differ it is only in the relentlessness of their intellectual honesty that manifests in their claim that they know nothing, absolutely nothing apart from what feels good to them to believe and that there is no other basis for faith-ism.
As for the religion of Pastafarianism, its truth is in its claims:
Pastafarianism has no priesthood, no hierarchy to be taken seriously; is not an organized religion. The Church is inclusive: all are welcomed to know Her Noodliness which in no way requires the Church. There are no followers; all are to be self-reliant and expressive participants in cooperative efforts of a civic, nature-friendly sort. Relationships are based on gifting free from acquisitive usage (e.g.).
The first Pirates left Greece because they were seafarers who could escape the priestly hegemony of excess dogma that lay oppressively upon the land to become the Free People of the Sea. They colonized the eastern Mediterranean and in time came to help free the Athenians from the burden of organized religion. The gods themselves came to be known as the Unknown God (Agnostos Theos—a place holder for FSM). By the second century BCE free thinkers had ceased to be persecuted, banished, or forced to drink the hemlock; Carneades could be openly atheistic with respect to the gods and be held in high honor by the Athenians (thanks to the influence of the Ionian Pirates). But just as Athens was finally going pirate, the Greek pirate culture of the free, the curious, and the critical was crushed by the Romans who were still into taking themselves seriously.
The Romans were in turn subsumed by those who took themselves even more seriously. Pirates became ever fewer. It took a thousand years, but even the Vikings were subsumed by the onward march of Christian soldiers. As the long dark night of the Western soul began to subside, Troubadours, early land Pirates, began to tell subversive stories. Stories of knights so bold (Pirates) and the romancing of Wenches became more popular than bible stories—because they felt better. In good time, Pirates once again could take to the sea in boats and sailed west to become Free People of the Sea. They lived lives that were true, good, and beautiful. They were thereby deemed a threat to all that was false. Christians painted them in every despicable color on their pallet to justify their genocidal assault upon those who dared to live free or die. And genocide it was. The Pirates tried to stop the attacks upon their friends, the native peoples, and they tried to stop the commercial rape of the New World—of its plants and animals. They tried to save themselves, but the Christians were Borg-like, and resistance proved futile.
The victor, as always, wrote the history. Pirates and Wenches were characterized as failed Christians, as scum whose extermination was for the best. All that most people think they know about Wenches and their Pirates, and the pirate way of life, is false—merely the remnants of Christian propaganda. Today there are still too few Wenches. There are part-time Pirates, Burners, and other sympathizers, but as yet no fully developed pirate culture to challenge, if only by example, the depravities of the default culture. Should a culture of the free, the curious, and the critical re-emerge, may the efforts to crush it be foiled. RAmen.