A cognitive analysis of the invented religions: the Flying Spaghetti Monster case


  • Cosmin F. Spaschi Alexandru Ioan Cuza University


cognitive science of religion, invented religions, Flying Spaghetti Monster, pastafarianism, pirates, faith, successful gods, Justin Barrett, Bobby Henderson


In this paper, I am going to realize an analysis of the Flying Spaghetti Monster religion from a cognitive perspective. This invented religion, which began as a protest action in Kansas in 2005, has gained numerous followers worldwide. The first part of the article illustrates an analysis of the study discipline entitled the cognitive science of religion. In the second part, my study takes into account Justin Barrett’s taxonomy of religions, which depicts five necessary characteristics that a god needs to possess to become memorable: must be minimally counterintuitive (1), and an intentional agent (2); also must possess strategic information (3), act in detectable manners (4) and motivate practices that reinforce belief (5). In the third part, I prove that the deity of FSM religion possess these five attributes. Thus, my thesis is that this parodic religion has, from the point of view of the cognitive science of religion, a similar formal structure as the great historical religions of humanity. For the academic study of religion, this topic raises several interrogations regarding the general functions of these symbolic systems. Consequently, this paper establishes that the way we understand our society is related to the answers that we offer to these concerns.


Author Biography

Cosmin F. Spaschi, Alexandru Ioan Cuza University

“Alexandru Ioan Cuza” University, Department of Philosophy, Iași, Romania






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