Arts and Culture

In honor of Book of Mormon, here's a pop history of religious satire

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The Flying Spaghetti Monster

Praised by Christopher Hitchens and scorned by religious fundamentalists, the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster has quickly become a beloved Internet sensation and icon of the new atheism movement. Used as a caricature of those who purport unfalsifiable beliefs as fact, the parody religion began in 2005 when Bobby Henderson wrote a satirical open letter to the Kansas State Board of Education in response to their decision to permit intelligent design as a part of the school's science curriculum. Proposing that the earth was created by an unseen Spaghetti Monster and that the decline of pirates is the cause of global warming, the thousands of followers of this movement -- known as "Pastafarians" -- have turned the one-time snarky letter into a cultural phenomenon that now includes several books, videos, plays, conventions, artworks and, of course, merchandise.

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Josiah M. Hesse
Contact: Josiah M. Hesse