A Flying Spaghetti Monster?
Many of you are wondering what in the world is up with this month’s question. I don’t blame you, but if you are patient, I think everything will make sense.
If you ever set foot in the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, you will quickly learn they are a group of people who worship, you guessed it, the Flying Spaghetti Monster!
Who in the world would worship a flying spaghetti monster? Well, they’re not truly worshiping it, just using it to mock Christians, creationists, anyone who believes in Intelligent Design, and religious people in general.
Back in 2005, the Kansas State Board of Education voted in favor of allowing the teaching of Intelligent Design in public school classrooms as an alternative view to evolution. That decision did not sit well with those in the humanist and atheist communities. An open letter was written to the Kansas State Board of Education objecting to the decision, and it was in this letter that the Flying Spaghetti Monster was first introduced.
The Flying Spaghetti Monster argument goes something like this. Religious people (Christians in particular) feel there are things science cannot account for, so they make up an all-powerful, all-knowing entity called “god” who steps in whenever needed. Can’t get something from nothing? God did it! Can’t get chemicals to form the first living cell? God did it! Can’t explain consciousness? God did it! I think you get the picture.
So, if Christians can just invent an invisible god, why can’t it just as easily be a Flying Spaghetti Monster? Skeptics further reason that if this is the route we go (i.e., just saying “god did it” every time we can’t find immediate answers), science would “die on the vine.” It would diminish, if not completely remove, the drive for scientific research. Or so the reasoning goes.
How would you respond to the skeptic’s argument? On the surface, it sounds pretty logical. At least it does to me.
Well, here’s what you may have missed. It’s somewhat of a “strawman” argument. That’s where the opposition falsely claims the other side holds a certain viewpoint, and then they proceed to demolish it, giving the impression they have clearly and soundly defeated the other side’s view. It would be like one side claiming the other side believes the sun goes around the Earth. Next, they satisfactorily demonstrate the opposite is true and then claim to have shown the opposition holds false and/or silly views and shouldn’t be trusted or respected. But what if the other side never made the claim that the sun orbits the Earth? Then the whole argument is not only for naught but also very deceptive.
So, what claim is being made that is a “strawman?” The claim is that Christians “just invent a god” to stand in the gap and become the solution for any complex problem. The truth is Christians do not claim to start with a clean (i.e., unbiased) slate, look at the world around them, come to a conclusion there must be a god, make up details about who that god is and write it in a book (the Bible), and then decide to worship that god and tell everyone else this is the only god that exists. If that were the case, it would be legitimate to allow others to “fill-in-the-blank” regarding who the god is and what our response should be, if any.
In reality, Christians start with the God-given knowledge that God exists and an awareness of His moral law. We have also been given ample evidence that God exists, just in nature itself:
For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse (Romans 1:19-20).
When studying the natural world around us, we use this knowledge to reason to the most logical inference regarding what we observe. When I see a hummingbird and its incredible beauty and design, I logically conclude it was intentionally designed for a purpose. That makes perfect sense, given the fact we never see undirected forces of nature building systems consisting of multiple, complex components all working together to achieve a higher purpose.
On the other hand, an atheist has already decided God does not exist, and therefore, the hummingbird is just another one of those enigmas of nature. It may be fascinating, but it’s still ultimately just a product of chance and time. This conclusion, however, does not come from the most logical inference from what we observe but from a prior commitment to materialism (the idea that matter and energy are the only things that exist).
In addition, Christians also have a book that not only claims it is the very inspired Word of God, but it gives us ways of testing that bold claim, and it passes these tests with flying colors and a 100% accuracy record! I’ve mentioned these tests in my first book (Creation & Evolution: Compatible or In Conflict?), as well as in my 5-part video series entitled, The Inspiration of the Bible. The tests include:
If you are not familiar with these lines of evidence, I highly recommend reviewing them via one of the afore-mentioned resources.
The Christian God is far from being just a useful crutch that we turn to at the drop of a hat anytime we can’t scientifically figure something out. On the contrary, without the Christian God, logic and science itself have no real basis. I’ve written an entire book going into much more detail on this point, and it should be available for shipping next month (August 2021) or September at the latest. It’s entitled, Faith is Not a Four-Letter Word.
So, the next time you hear someone mention the Flying Spaghetti Monster, you’ll have a much better idea of what they are referring to. Hopefully, you’ll also have a logical, coherent response, with the ultimate goal of sharing the Gospel message with them in a very caring, compassionate manner!