Growing up I had a lot of questions, and remember getting in trouble with a Sunday School teacher because I dared question them on Abortion or other such thing. I've always been a bit of a radical I guess when it comes to free thought.
I explored different ideas all through college and eventually decided to call myself a Taoist. To me it just made sense and to somehow "know God" or to claim that you, and only you, had the correct path to something beyond our understanding always struck me as arrogant.
When I first learned of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, I took it for what it was. A joke, a way to playfully poke at the organized religions and point out some of the flaws in them. A way to say..."we can do better." I'm not an atheist. I'm not anti-religious. I have seen to much and felt to much not to believe in a higher power, and to quote Shakespeare:
"There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.
- Hamlet (1.5.167-8), Hamlet to Horatio
However, I'm a rationalist. A realist and someone with a scientific and engineering background. I consider myself to be a follow of the flying spaghetti monster only to the extent that I can raise a point about some of the silliness that is religious belief today. I'm at home in hard facts. The reality is that we're so fucked in so many different ways, but that is for another time and place. As of late however I fear that my brothers and sisters in playful anti-religious rhetoric are starting to go a bit to far.
Case in point, New Zealand has officially recognized Pastafarianism as a actual religion. Not as a loose group of agnostics, atheists and semi-believers...but an actual religion. We have become what we tease.
Poland actually recognizes us as well, but that was...and I swear this is true, a clerical error. If that does not sound like a made up God of carbohydrates acting on our behalf I don't know what is.
Being recognized as a religion is a big thing. Technically I could argue that my company would have to give me every Friday off (with pay) because Fridays (every Friday) is a religious holiday. For now however many Pastafarian believers fight smaller battles. Like getting a identification photo of yourself wearing a colander on your head.
adopted the Fez as its "official" headgear. Symbols can be powerful things. There may come a time years from now where the strainer will be seen as a mark of a Pastafarian.
Humor is not a bad thing, it allows us to poke fun at ourselves and our follie's. What worries me, deep down in my core, is that a silly made up religious movement will start to gain ground and lose sight of what it was supposed to accomplish in the first place. That we will become an actual religion with all the trappings (and problems) of modern religion.
The good news is that we are a small group, spread all over the world with different ideas and core beliefs. The good news is that those beliefs are slowly spreading. Growing and evolving as more people are "touched by his noodly appendage". We have no army, no nation or single organizational body...yet.
Give us 1000 years, maybe 2000. Then we will see where and what we are at that time.