Our “Quick Shot” series offers brief answers to common objections to the Christian worldview. Each response is limited to one paragraph. These responses are designed to (1) answer the objection as concisely as possible, (2) challenge the objector to think more deeply about his or her claim, and (3) facilitate a “gospel” conversation. In this article, we’re offering “Quick Shot” responses to the objection, Quick Shot: “Believing in God is the same as believing in the ‘Flying Spaghetti Monster’.”
“What do you mean by ‘Flying Spaghetti Monster’? Are you referring to the fictional deity created by Bobby Henderson in 2005? Mr. Henderson created that character (and a larger narrative called, ‘Pastafarianism’), to protest the fact that Intelligent Design was being considered as part of the science curriculum in the state of Kansas. No one actually believes in a Flying Spaghetti Monster, including its creator, Mr. Henderson. He’s tried to protest the existence of religion by equating Pastafarianism to religious belief, and he’s even applied for religious status in a number of countries. He’s been repeatedly denied, however. Why? Because international legal bodies understand the difference between religious claims and fictional claims. Can you see the difference as well?”
“Are you saying that belief in God is the same as belief in fairy tales or imaginary characters? If so, this assumes that fictional characters and God are equally unsupported by the evidence. But this isn’t true at all. What evidence do we have, for example, to support the existence of the Flying Spaghetti Monster? Is there anything other than the text written by its creator (in this case, Bobby Henderson)? The case for God’s existence, by contrast, is evidentially robust, even without any ancient text. For example, the existence of our finite, finely tuned universe points to an all-powerful, creative force outside of space, time and matter. The inexplicable origin of life (driven by information in the genetic code) and appearance of deign in biology point to an intelligent creator who has a purpose in mind. Our experience of consciousness and free agency is also incomprehensible under atheistic materialism, but can be easily explained if we were created by an immaterial, conscious, free agent. Finally, the existence of transcendent, objective moral truths and obligations are best explained by the existence of a transcendent, personal moral law giver. Can you see how – based on science and philosophy alone – the existence of God is reasonable even while the existence of the Flying Spaghetti Monster is not? Can you also see that the case for God can be made without any ‘sacred text,’ while the case for the Flying Spaghetti Monster is entirely dependent on Mr. Henderson’s text?”
“There’s one incredibly important difference between belief in God and belief in the Flying Spaghetti Monster, and the creator of the Spaghetti Monster, Bobby Henderson, mistakenly admitted the difference when he first created the character. Henderson conceived the fictional deity as a form of protest against religious belief in general. He originally claimed that his belief in the Spaghetti Monster (called ‘Pastafarianism’) was the same as other religious beliefs because Pastafarians had ‘several lengthy volumes’ explaining all the details of their religion and that there were ‘over 10 million’ Pastafarians (neither fact is true, however). Henderson’s intentionally false claim, however, reveals the error in comparing God to the Spaghetti Monster. Henderson assumed that belief in God was dependent on religious texts and accepted belief. Neither is true, however. A belief in God is reasonable even without a religious text, and even if no one joins a religious group. God’s existence can be inferred from cosmological, biological, neurological (mental) and moral evidence in our universe, unlike a belief in the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Belief in God can be held, even without a religious text. Belief in the Spaghetti Monster, however, cannot. Can you see the difference?”
Our “Quick Shot” series was written specifically for the Cold-Case Christianity App (you can download it on Apple and Android platforms – be sure to register once you download the App). When confronted with an objection in casual conversation, App users can quickly find an answer without having to scroll beyond the first screen in the category. Use the App “Quick Shots” along with the “Rapid Responses” and Case Making “Cheat Sheets” to become a better Christian Case Maker.
For more information about the scientific and philosophical evidence pointing to a Divine Creator, please read God’s Crime Scene: A Cold-Case Detective Examines the Evidence for a Divinely Created Universe. This book employs a simple crime scene strategy to investigate eight pieces of evidence in the universe to determine the most reasonable explanation. The book is accompanied by an eight-session God’s Crime Scene DVD Set(and Participant’s Guide) to help individuals or small groups examine the evidence and make the case.
J. Warner Wallace is a Dateline featured Cold-Case Detective, Senior Fellow at the Colson Center for Christian Worldview, Adj. Professor of Christian Apologetics at Talbot School of Theology, Biola University, author of Cold-Case Christianity, God’s Crime Scene, and Forensic Faith, and creator of the Case Makers Academy for kids.
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