THERE was disappointing news recently with the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster (CFSM) failing in its attempt to register as an incorporated not-for-profit religion for tax purposes.
For those who aren’t aware, the CFSM - whose adherents are known as Pastafarians - is a world-wide ‘faith’ that incorporates Holy Books (The Gospel of the CFSM and The Loose Canon), religious headwear (a colander), a deity (His Noodly Appendage) a prophet (CFSM founder Bobby Henderson) and religious holidays (such as R’amen). Naturally, like all religions, the CFSM also has had a split or two (those treasonous Latter Day Pastafarians are bound for hell).
However, unlike all other religions, at least the CFSM has the decency and honesty to admit that its whole system, including its deity, is a sham and based on fantasy and make-believe.
The fastest growing ‘religion’ in Australia is no religion. At the 2011 census nearly one-quarter of Australians listed their religion as ‘no religion’, a massive growth from pre-1960 when a tiny minority of Australians professed no faith. So it’s a bit rich for indoctrinated Christians such as Liberal Party senator Eric Abetz to cry foul at perceived media bias against religious parliamentarians, as he did earlier this week. It’s also rude that both major Australian political parties have religious factions that wield a disproportional amount of power given the above stated statistics.
Of course the main driver of the collapse of religious faith is the sordid scandals that religious organisations have committed over the past several thousand years. If it’s not wars (i.e. my deity and set of beliefs are greater than yours therefore I’m going to kill you in some gruesome manner), then it’s the all-to-common incomprehensible sex scandals that plague religious institutions of all stripes and colours (sadly there’s too many to list). Also, religions aren’t doing themselves or society any favours by being male dominated bastions of misogyny. There are few, if any, modern religions with peak female gods (unless you include those many atheists who profess a belief in the Mother Earth god).
Most religions are, at the heart of it, money making, tax-dodging enterprises whose (usually male) leaders use us-against-them tactics to divide society to forge power and amass fortunes. There are of course a small few ethical, outspoken religious leaders who go against that grain in an often futile attempt to do real good for society. People such as the former Melbourne Catholic priest Bob Maguire, the Central Coast Anglican minister Rod Bower and Pope Francis are Christians who are carrying out the work that Jesus Christ would have wanted his followers to carry out. Sadly, Jesus has been largely hijacked by homophobe, sexist, racist right-wing fruitcake politicians and community leaders who are happy to see the poor suffer, women ‘put in their place’, LGBT individuals demonised, and damningly, willing to lock women and children up behind razor wire in detention centres.
Religion should be an individual’s private matter and not forced down the throat of the public by politicians who are single-minded in their determination to live in the Dark Ages.
The CFSM puts forward a clever and well-crafted satirical argument that makes a mockery of the hypocrisy that will continue to dog God-bothering, interfering religious fundamentalists for as long as they insist on living in the past.
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