Since the beginning of time human beings have felt the need to search for a higher power. Christians say God, Muslims say Allah and according to the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster (FSM), the creator of the world as we know it is his Noodly Appendage.
FSM’s website says the Church has existed in secrecy for “hundreds of years” but only came into the mainstream in May 2005. A devout follower recently won the right to be shown wearing his religious headgear – a pasta strainer – in his driving license.
Worshipers are “Pastafarians” and their only rule is that there are no rules. “There are no rote rituals and prayers and other nonsense. Every member has a say in what this church is and what it becomes.”
At first glance, the story sounds like that of another abstract religious cult. But further investigation shows the church of FSM to be a satirical joke. Their website says that a lot of religion can be seen as a joke or a myth but the founder, Bobby Hendersen says: “we are not anti-religion; we are anti-crazy nonsense done in the name of religion”.
His Noodliness is a welcome comical relief in a time when cult-like religions such as the Church of the New Creator exists. Its religious creed is “total” war on Jews and “non-whites”. The most notorious and widely recognised of these cult religions is the Church of Scientology.
Founded in 1952 by science fiction writer L.Ron Hubbard, Scientology maintains that human souls are emotionally damaged by nature and a person’s aim in life should be to purge themselves of those unconscious memories.
The religion states that 75 million years ago, over 13 trillion aliens were banished to Earth by a warlord called Xenu, and were later vaporised with nuclear bombs. Their souls then latched onto humans creating this damage which can only be purged by a series of ‘audits’ with a trained counselor – and by paying for study materials and “enlightenment” courses along the way.
The more we see of these different religions, the more they seem like money-making scams that create a cult mentality and prey on the lonely and disillusioned. Stories from survivors speak of child-labor, mental brutality and separation. In 2010, a former Australian Scientologist, named only as Keryn, spoke about her experience as a child-slave and called for a government investigation.
“People just get so brainwashed and it’s made so difficult for people to leave, they just don’t. Staff members don’t get paid so they can’t accumulate money to leave. There’s a belief system that if you find something wrong with Scientology, then there’s something wrong with you. That’s instilled in you so deeply that it’s very hard to shake,” said Keryn.
From the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster to the tweeny boppers threatening to kill anyone opposed to Justin Bieber, it seems that a lot of people in the world today still need to believe in a greater force.