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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    “Modern prophet wanders through desert, loads up on carbs”

    A bit on the thin side with a mild case of bedhead, despite it being the middle afternoon, Bobby Henderson cuts a rather unassuming figure for the role of a prophet.

    Then again, the role of a prophet is an honor that is given, never chosen.

    Youthful in appearance, Henderson doesn’t seem to be 25 years old, though a day’s worth of overgrown scruff is the only thing betraying his boyish appearance.

    However, as the human representative for the Flying Spaghetti Monster deity, he is handling the responsibility well, with the grace of someone far beyond his years.

    Henderson has even created a handy gospel for believers, located in the humor section (though some argue it should be in the religion shelves) at the local bookstore.

    For those who aren’t acquainted with the Flying Spaghetti Monster, news of its divine appearance to the world came in the form of a letter written by Henderson to the Kansas School Board.

    In a satirical poke at the teaching of intelligent design, Henderson tried to reason with the school board. The argument was that if you’re going to teach supernatural ideas to explain the creation of the universe, then you must include all supernatural ideas for the world’s origins, not just the Judeo-Christian idea.

    Hence, the Flying Spaghetti Monster (FSM, for short) who, according to the newfound religion of Pastafarianism, is the unseen and all-powerful hand (or should I say noodly appendage) that rules the universe.

    After getting no response from the board, Henderson posted his letter on the Internet last May.

    What started off as a jab at intelligent design formulated in the late hours of one fateful evening has spawned into a Web log that receives about a million hits a day and new “”converts”” by the hour.

    “”I’m surprised it’s still going on,”” Henderson said. “”But I think it’ll be around as long as intelligent design is still around.””

    For someone who grew up in Roseburg, Ore., (population 20,000) in a Methodist household, the attention given to the Flying Spaghetti Monster is bewildering for the small-town guy.

    “”My parents are more confused than anything,”” Henderson said. “”My mom probably doesn’t know what intelligent design is. They’re not offended by it.””

    Along with the enormous number of e-mails from believers, Henderson also receives some negative responses as well, including the occasional death threat.

    Historically, being a prophet has never been an easy job, but Henderson said he would do it all over again, despite the negativity.

    With the death threats and naysaying, his blog also gave him an added benefit: a girlfriend who he describes as a “”huge nerd”” and for whom he moved from Oregon to Tucson this past January.

    “”Her mother actually sent me an e-mail asking me to marry one of her daughters,”” Henderson said. “”I then demanded a photograph and I picked one of them.””

    And it’s been magic ever since.

    Pastafarianism is a satire on the use, or misuse, of science. Though the fanatics may lose sight that it is a satire of intelligent design and not merely the creation of a new carbohydrate-based idol, Henderson still thinks that however people take his creation is fine.

    Of course, if you can create a deity, write a gospel for this “”religion”” and then build a tax-deductible pirate ship (“”for conversion missions only,”” Henderson said) then it’s not a bad situation for an out-of-work physics student.

    However, as the prophet, how does he handle the theological questions concerning Pastafarianism?

    “”I’m not that into the lore of it,”” Henderson said.

    Rather than sticking his nose in the debates to clarify any problems, Henderson usually lets people fight it out on the blog.

    “”It’ll be something for the believers to figure out,”” Henderson said.

    After all, this is a thinking man’s religion.

    To delve into all the facets of Pastafarianism, visit www.flyingspaghettimonster.com.

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