The Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster

Readings

The Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster

by Bobby Henderson

Villard, 165 pp., $13.95 (paper)

You've heard the one about the Kansas City School Board deciding whether to teach intelligent design alongside evolution in their science classes, right? It was no joke: This actually happened, last year. Where the joke came in was when Bobby Henderson, a twentysomething physics major from Oregon, wrote the board an open letter insisting that, if intelligent design were to be taught, the theory should mention the deity of Henderson's personal (and created-just-for-the-occasion) religion: the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

This open letter proliferated its way across the World Wide Web as such cleverly constructed bits of philosophical snarkery tend to – like chain lightning. Which led, as if instantly, to T-shirts, bumper stickers, car ornaments, and a whole range of FSM paraphernalia for promoting one's personal belief in what's come to be called Pastafarianism.

Now Villard's published a trade paperback of The Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, in which chief prophet Henderson, with help from several collegiately degreed acolytes, brings us the exegesis of the Noodly One to improve our understanding of His role in the creation of all that exists. Especially the parts that include pirates.

Using altered stock photography, crude drawings, and much tongue-in-cheek bullshittery, the Gospel tells us what's wrong with the whole evolution idea, provides evidence of Pastafarianism throughout human history, explores the connection between the diminishing pirate population and global warming, and reveals what the FSM prefers that we, as his sentient creations, do with our lives. It also describes the heaven – complete with a Beer Volcano and a Stripper Factory – that awaits the true believer after bodily death.

The book is, mostly, a padded, steroidal version of Henderson's original school board letter. It's a necessary bit of comic relief in the overly serious battle between science and superstition, a volume that will appeal to people fed up with the ongoing debates over Intelligent Design and other such idiocies. As the Pastafarians solemnly intone: RAmen.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 36 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Book Reviews
<i>Presidio</i> by Randy Kennedy
Presidio by Randy Kennedy
For his debut novel, Kennedy creates a road story that portrays the harsh West Texas terrain beautifully and fills it with sympathetic characters.

Jay Trachtenberg, Sept. 14, 2018

Hunting the Golden State Killer in <i>I'll Be Gone in the Dark</i>
Hunting the Golden State Killer in I'll Be Gone in the Dark
How Michelle McNamara tracked a killer before her untimely death

Jonelle Seitz, July 20, 2018

More by Wayne Alan Brenner
The Grand Re-Opening of the Museum of Natural and Artificial Ephemerata
MNAE: Grand Re-Opening
Local treasure comes weirdin’ on back with a new annex and guidebook

Oct. 17, 2018

Austin Filmmakers’ Waking Nightmares
Austin Filmmakers’ Waking Nightmares
They’re just making a movie. What could possibly go wrong?

Oct. 5, 2018

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Updates for SXSW 2019

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle