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So someone recently posted an answer about the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

Is that acceptable?

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    Not the biggest fan of that question: I think there's a pretty good argument that it should be closed as too broad, especially when you consider that the word god doesn't have the same meanings across cultures. – user62 Aug 26 '16 at 1:19
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    I was wondering that myself. For instance, I posted about Longcat and Tacgnol in a comments instead of my answer, even though they are way cooler than the spaghetti monster thing. I also posted Lovecraft in the comments, even though that work is extraordinarily influential. – DukeZhou Aug 26 '16 at 9:14
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    @cybermike Lovecraft is specifically banned see meta.mythology.stackexchange.com/questions/160/… – bleh Aug 31 '16 at 12:45
  • @bleh I figured that might be the case, although Lovecraft's mythos has worked its way into so much of modern horror, from the Evil Dead to children's movies, like Pacific Rim. – DukeZhou Aug 31 '16 at 23:51
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I would say that for a religion to be "real" there has to be people who actually claim to believe in it.

I have never seen any credible source of people genuinely claiming to believe in the Flying Spaghetti Monster. It's a parody religion created as a rhetorical device, a joke and as a means to prove a point. Nobody has ever actually believed in it. Therefore, I don't believe it qualifies as an actual religion or mythology in the normal sense.

Sure, there are religions that are created by fraudsters/con-men who don't actually believe what they are promoting, but they usually claim that they do believe it, and they are not trying to be funny. Also, their followers typically do believe it. Thus, they qualify as actual religions.

Similarly so with ancient mythologies. There may be nobody or extremely few who believes in it anymore, but lots of people did believe it in the past.

So since no one anywhere (AFAIK) has ever seriously believed in the Flying Spaghetti Monster, I don't believe it's a proper answer. I might as well have answered The Ellimist (a totally fictional god that no one believes in.)

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    I present you evidence of practicing pastafarians: 1 2 3. It is a legally recognized religion in New Zealand and the Netherlands. Again, I don't necessarily believe it should be on topic, but trying to establish a metric by evaluating how many people believe it, and whether their belief is adjudicated to be adequately sincere seems very problematic to me. – femtoRgon Aug 28 '16 at 7:41
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    @femtoRgon Why? Do you think it's too subjective to evaluate who actually believes bizarre things and who are just trolling (Pastafarians)? With Pastafarians, it's ridiculously clear that they are just trolling and using it as a rhetorical device. Getting it recognized as a religion is just an extension of that. If there was any doubt at all as to whether or not a religion has ever been a serious religion, we could let the doubt come to the benefit of the religion. But with Pastafarianism, there is no such doubt. It's clearly a joke/trolling/rhetorical device. – Revetahw says Reinstate Monica Aug 28 '16 at 7:51
  • And I do believe that we need to consider how many people believe something. Otherwise, I could just create a religion together with my friends right now, and it would be on-topic. As for sincerity, I agree that it's mostly difficult to consider how sincere the beliefs are, and we should almost always assume they are sincere. However, as I said in the previous comment, in the case of Pastafarianism there is no such doubt at all. It's clearly not a serious religion to anyone. – Revetahw says Reinstate Monica Aug 28 '16 at 7:55
  • So what about buddhists that do not belive in Buddha, but do belive in the Path attributed to Him? – abukaj Feb 14 '18 at 21:30
  • @abukaj What do you mean "do not believe in Buddha"? The historical person is rather well documented, I believe people who don't believe he existed are rather rare, let alone among Buddhists. – Revetahw says Reinstate Monica Feb 14 '18 at 22:40
  • @Revetahw As I have been listening to many zen masters I seriously doubt that they care about existence of historical Buddha. Also I know no historical evidence of His existence. – abukaj Feb 15 '18 at 9:23
  • @abukaj That's fair enough. However, Buddhism is certainly a legitimate faith, with legitimate practitioners existing, regardless of their exact beliefs. – Revetahw says Reinstate Monica Feb 15 '18 at 9:54
  • @Revetahw why are you finding Pastafarianism not a real religion then? – abukaj Feb 15 '18 at 11:41
  • @abukaj Because it was created as a rhetorical device and a parody, not as something people genuinely believe in. – Revetahw says Reinstate Monica Feb 15 '18 at 12:37
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    @Revetahw Even if it was created as such device, it has attracted many believers. Every pastafarian I know claims he or she genuinely believe. You claim that they are insincere then. May you provide any reference to actual research testing their faith to support it? – abukaj Feb 15 '18 at 13:07
  • @abukaj The Wikipedia article on Pastafarianism has several sources describing it as a "parody religion" and "cultural movement" .The point seems to be "if you believe in your crazy religion, I will invent mine and it is equally valid". It started as a protest to creationism being taught in public schools. Their whole gospel and literature is filled with obvious jokes and satire. I think there is a clear difference between that and actual religion. I am not aware of anyone who genuinely believes in the FSM. – Revetahw says Reinstate Monica Feb 15 '18 at 19:22
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    @Revetahw still, is there any research on this topic or is it only opinion-based? Also, I know no one who genuinely believes in Allah - does it make Islam illegitimate? Do you know any Pastafarian who claims he or she is not treating his or her faith seriously? – abukaj Feb 16 '18 at 11:00
  • @abukaj This is not a hard science topic, it is a subjective matter. However, if you read a bit about Pastafarianism, there are countless clues that suggest it is riddled with satire and comedy. Full pirate regalia, wearing pasta strainers on the head, worshipping spaggheti, etc. I have not looked into scientific papers on the matter. However, my general opinion is that the whole thing is a (quite funny) joke. Quite different from the ancient religion of Islam that has hundreds of millions of devout followers worldwide. – Revetahw says Reinstate Monica Feb 16 '18 at 11:03
  • @Revetahw what is wrong with full pirate regalia? It is dress code established in the Pastafarian canon, as explained here: mythology.stackexchange.com/questions/618/… Also it is common among Christians to worship bread (not transubstantiated one, but the daily one) as it is mentioned in Lord's Prayer. – abukaj Feb 16 '18 at 14:08
  • @Revetahw As about the comedy aspect of faith... There has also been a debate recently about whether transubstantiation of gluten-free bread or not fermented must is valid - which I personally find ridiculous. I personally know many people of faith other than Pastafarianism, which have no problem to speak about their faith in a humorous way. – abukaj Feb 16 '18 at 14:09

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