Saturday, September 19, 2009

Purdue's Pastafarian Preaching!

Yesterday the Society of Non-Theists at Purdue University had their annual Pastafarian Preaching. We go out in full pirate regalia preaching the Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster and hand out flyers to the confused students who run into us. One side of the flyer contains the "Eight I Really Rather You Didn't"s and the other side explains what the FSM is really about. We want to be a satire of your stereotypical fire and brimstone street preacher to show not only how ridiculous these people look, but that we have the right to criticize religious beliefs, especially if they're silly or hateful.In a stroke of wonderful luck that proves to me that the Flying Spaghetti Monster does exist, we found out Brother Jed was going to be there the same day as us. Brother Jed is a fairly infamous campus preacher who unites all religious denominations in laughing at him. He also looks exactly like Eugene Levy, which makes it all the more hilarious.We basically caused chaos for poor Brother Jed. We had our own readings from the Gospel while he was reading from the Bible, we held up our silly signs all around his, we giggled at all of the ridiculous things he was saying, we skipped around him singing pirate songs...but most of all, we got a great response from students who were sick of Jed's nonsense.
We started to get a little bored with his ranting, so we decided to commandeer the Boilermaker Special, to the cheers of the crowd around Brother Jed. The train is Purdue's mascot, so we have a little train looking car thing that you can get rides on on Fridays. So we climbed aboard and enjoyed our new ship, shouting piratical things at the now even more confused Purdue students.
When we returned Brother Jed was still going strong. Two of the Mormon missionaries approached us and asked what was going on. Oddly enough, they became our allies. We talked about how hateful Brother Jed was and how his method of preaching really didn't make any sense. As silly as I think Mormonism is, I have to admit that the missionaries on campus are generally nice guys. Much preferred to people like Brother Jed.
Overall, the day was a success. We didn't have any negative feedback, we handed out thousands of flyers, many people thanked us for what we were doing, we got interviewed by the Exponent for multiple stories, and we made the local tv news. I'm not sure how we could have done much better!
I can't do the day justice through talking about it, so here's a video of some of our pirate antics and Brother Jed's hilarious nonsense.

Happy Talk Like a Pirate Day, me harties! Arrrrr!

EDIT: One of our other Pirates has blogged about it too, with more photos and video!

18 comments:

  1. Cool pics! All of a sudden though I have this uncontrollable craving for booty...

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  2. You know, so far at least 4 random flirtations came to mind watching, and I'm just at the part where the pirates prepare to do battle with Brother Jed.

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  3. hahaha that guy is hilarious! "You worship a monsteeer!! You sound gay!!!" XDDD

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  4. I will admit that "That’s the finest pirate booty I’ve ever laid eyes on" crossed my mind. Also, my roommate entered, and said, "what the hell are you watching", then there was some part with Jen walking in front, and he goes, "Oh, I understand."

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  5. Good job, I hope more atheists see this and can use this to get the courage to start standing up for our beleifs instead of letting religious idiots push people into fear.

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  6. Whoa, you have *campus preachers*? America is way more exotic than I thought.

    Here in Europe people don't usually push their religion, altough they'll start whining if you openly critizise it.

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  7. Hands down, the best pirate-day event I have ever seen.

    @Arctic Ape: They turn up here in Australia occasionally as well. I've seen one at the University of Queensland, and there are a LOT of religious groups at the University of Sydney.

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  8. I don't want to come across as disapproving of the event, because it looks like it was a great success, but I'd like to play devil's advocate. I sometimes wonder if this sort of event might be counterproductive.

    On the one hand, it's certainly good at getting attention, and it sheds some light on the ridiculousness of religious beliefs. The FSM is very good for that purpose.

    On the other hand, I think it runs a risk of making atheists look silly and frivolous, and of confusing people who don't already have some idea what atheism and/or the Gospel of the FSM are (for instance, it opens you up to people like that preacher saying "look at them, they worship a MONSTER!" which, while funny, may be counterproductive and misleading to bystanders).

    The "we have flimsy moral standards" line is only asking for people to make an argument that morality comes from their religion and that we atheists are morally depraved. That argument is prevalent enough, sadly (no matter how many times it's dealt with), without any encouragement.

    I'm not sure, but it might be worth thinking about. I don't really know where I stand about this, I'm just playing devil's advocate here.

    P.S. I think the preacher's naked-crucified-man-topped staff is hilarious.

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  9. mcbender,

    I think it's one of those things that no matter what you do, someone isn't going to get it. If atheists are all just serious business, there are plenty of people who aren't going to listen to us at all. But by being lighthearted, we have a lot more people approach us and "get" what we're doing. For the ones who can't pick up on the sarcasm/satire...well, they're probably not on our side to begin with or the best logical thinkers, so they're probably a lost cause anyway.

    There are definitely plenty of people we confused, but that's what our flyer is for. One side seriously explains why we're doing what we're doing.

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  10. Atheists are serious business. Grrrrr.

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  11. I think I would have preferred Pastafarian Pirates at our local campus. Instead we were graced by a nationally infamous church group that decided to visit as part of an oxymoronic "love campaign" and remind us exactly who their god hates (apparently, most everyone). At least on the question of engagement, I don't think anyone seriously tried to argue with them, but there was a good sized group of people running a counter protest.

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  12. Awesome, I'm glad the day was a success.

    Also, I'm glad you finally rode the Boilermaker Special!

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  13. Awesome job. I am very impressed. Keep up the good work. Next time throw in a few posters praising Eris. You know, just in case.

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  14. Oh, you crazy kids. :) Jen, you do make a fetching godless piratess.

    FWIW, NTLAP day also happened to be me birthday, me hearties. Tho, at my age, it only marks another year closer to Davy Jones' Locker. Arrgh...me arthritis be actin' up again.

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  15. Wow... I thought it was the job of religious individuals to persecute, scream, and otherwise be ridiculous in condemning others. Yet, here Atheists have proved me wrong.

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  16. @Another Archer

    Yes, but with Atheist pirates, you don't get the fire and brimstone, or a rugged dedication that everything in our 'good book' actually happened and was decreed by some crazed beardy nutjob on a cloud who was also his own son. What we give you are plenty of noodles and lots of Yarrrrr!

    And we hope you understand also that it is SATIRE. Sheesh!

    Jen, that was a great video and your demo looked like a big laugh. My fingers are crossed that there are many more likeminded people across America doing the same sort of thing, and its just that we don't get to hear about them.

    (and I would like to add my support to your fetchingness as a pirate. Yarr indeed! :) )

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  17. That Jed guy scares me. He really believes that women don't get to have orgasms unless they're married and having sex with their husband?

    ......I mean really?

    This is what happens when you are raised in a crazy religious household and have been sheltered from the ways of the world. You get an unhealthy obsession with sex and are chock full of misinformation about it. This is what creates child molesters... if you grow up but your ideas about sex and the human body don't, you are more likely to retain interest in the age group that matches your sexual maturity level.

    :/ He probably is one.

    Also, @Another Archer: cry more.

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