Friday, March 6, 2009

Class Two - March 2: A New Religion Emerges in Response to Creationism

There's a battle in America. It's being waged on the rear ends of vehicles across the country.

I'm guessing that, at some time or another, you've seen this symbol
on the back of a car:

Christians call it the Ichthys or Ichthus, which means fish. You can learn the religious significance by clicking here. The symbol sometimes has a small crucifix inside or the Greek letters for fish, ΙΧΘΥΣ or ΙΧΘΥC.

You may have seen this one, favored by fans of evolution:Or this one, in which Christian creationists respond to evolutionists:

The evolutionists have responded with a T-Rex eating the truth fish. I'm waiting with breathless anticipation to see what happens next.

There's an intriguing article analyzing what's going on when people use these symbols. University of Georgia Speech Communications Professor Tom Lessl

contends that the Darwin fish is an act of "ritual aggression" for some, a lighthearted humorous act for others. But he asserts that it is "humor with an edge."

But have you ever seen this one? Do you know what it stands for?

Check out this website. You will find an elaborate "religion" created by one man, enthusiastically embraced by followers around the world. It's The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Bobby Henderson was responding to the Kansas School Board decisionmaking on science standards. They were considering including the "alternative theory" of intelligent design with the "theory" of evolution in classes. He wrote them a letter proposing that his religion also be presented. His letter concluded:
I think we can all look forward to the time when these three theories are given equal time in our science classrooms across the country, and eventually the world; One third time for Intelligent Design, one third time for Flying Spaghetti Monsterism, and one third time for logical conjecture based on overwhelming observable evidence.

Niklas Jansson's adaptation of Michelangelo's The Creation of Adam depicts the Flying Spaghetti Monster in its typical guise as a clump of tangled spaghetti with two eyestalks, two meatballs, and many "noodly appendages".

This is the most creative satirical protest I've ever seen. Followers call themselves "Pastafarians." Their official conclusion to prayers is "RAmen."

Can you imagine them appearing in the court scene of Inherit the Wind, cheering on Spencer Tracy as he argued on behalf of evolution? Alas, they commenced their worship/activism 45 years too late. Timing is everything.

What do YOU think of all this? Craziness? Crazy-like-a-fox-ness? Blasphemous? Savvy political theatre?


Lisa Wheeler Milton said...

I had to think this one over this week. I'm not much of a fish-bearing Christian - commercialized church stuff makes my eyes bleed & my religious beliefs don't hamper my scientific worldview for the most part - but it feels like mocking.

I know: A lot of Christians are easy to mock. There's plenty to poke fun at and really, that's the point of satire, right?

I get it. It still stings. I can't explain why.

Fantastic Forrest said...

I think you've explained it very well, Lisa. Implicit in the statement "A lot of Christians are easy to mock" is the notion that there are many Christians who don't deserve to be mocked, who hold sincere beliefs and seek to share an ethic of love for others. Christians whose "religious beliefs don't hamper [their] scientific worldview." It's unfortunate that the satire can't better fine-tune its target.

Thanks for the comment. You've made me think more deeply on this sunny morning.