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The Invisible Pink Unicorn

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If you feel it is the duty of others to refute the claim, and not of yourself to support it, then how about refuting the existence of invisible pink unicorns?
- earliest mention of the Invisible Pink Unicorn on the alt.atheism Usenet newsgroup.

First 'revealed' to the world in the early 1990s, the Invisible Pink Unicorn, or IPU, is a fictional deity invented by atheists and exists1 as an illustration of the problem faced by atheists when asked to disprove the existence of a god by those of a religious persuasion. Due to her invisibility, the existence of the IPU is impossible to disprove, and this is doubly so due to the fact that, according to some, only her believers can see her. The IPU has since gained some degree of fame, partially thanks to the Internet, and now has a number of 'followers' who have deliberately expanded the idea so that it more strongly satirises the 'real' religions. Those who 'believe' in her do so either humorously, satirically or both, and have so far written many detailed and contrasting accounts based upon various subjects including her love of pineapple and ham pizza, her dislike of those who use the word 'an' in conjunction with the word 'history', and the fact that she 'raptures' socks, thus explaining the phenomenon of missing socks.

An History

The first mention of the Invisible Pink Unicorn dates back to 1990, when her name was used as an argument against the idea that atheists had the burden of disproving the existence of a god using only the evidence available to them. It is likely that the IPU had been spoken of prior to this posting, but the idea first gained momentum during the 1994/95 academic year at the University of Iowa when students using the university's bulletin board system2 created a manifesto containing, amongst other things, a number of IPU references.

Popularised on Usenet, a global bulletin board system, and on the World Wide Web, the movement has since grown and now has several websites devoted to the IPU. Satirical debates now take place over such matters as whether the IPU is a vegetarian and would not eat a ham and pineapple pizza, and the writing of conflicting dogma is actively encouraged. An invisible unicorn was referred to in Richard Dawkins' book 'The God Delusion' as being a popular equivalent of 'Russell's teapot'3.

The Basics

  • Appearance - The Invisible Pink Unicorn is both invisible and pink, a deliberate contradiction which forms the basis of the entire religion. Some claim that the IPU is only truly invisible to non-believers, while others claim that this is simply wishful thinking mixed with hallucinations. Some say that the IPU looks invisible, but feels pink, while others say that she is pink but impossible to look at.

  • Holy Days - All holy days of all religions are considered to be holy days by the IPU. Special importance is placed upon 1 April, which should be set aside as a day for spreading the word of the IPU.

  • 42 - The IPU's followers generally agree that the number 42 has some sort of significance.

  • Socks - The laundry room is the shrine of the IPU, and some believers may be blessed by 'visitations in their laundry', while others may find that the IPU has left holes in their socks with her horn.

  • Epithets - Followers of the IPU will often include phrases such as 'Peace Be Unto Her', 'Blessed Be Her Holy Hooves' and 'May Her Hooves Never Be Shod', sometimes abbreviated as acronyms, after the IPU's name.

  • The Purple Oyster - Said to once have been a minion of the Invisible Pink Unicorn, the Purple Oyster of Doom was cast out of the green pastures and into the sea after having tried to convince atheists that the IPU preferred pepperoni and mushroom pizza. The Purple Oyster is said to lead non-believers towards destruction, and is thus remarkably similar to Satan.

  • Dislike of Theists and Non-Believers - The IPU is said to cast theists and those who don't believe in her into the Great Pile of Manure, where dwarves will nibble at their kneecaps and the Purple Oyster will force-feed them pepperoni and mushroom pizzas.

  • The Logo - The Invisible Pink Unicorn logo consists of a simplified outline of a unicorn's head, horn and mane surrounded by a circle, and is increasingly becoming a symbol of atheism in general. The logo is copyrighted but can be reproduced provided it is used to represent atheism, and has been touted by those producing merchandise bearing the logo as a subtle means of indicating atheism without offending those who are religious.

1Or does not exist.2A sort of precursor to the World Wide Web, a bulletin board system allowed members of a network to exchange messages. Both Usenet and the World Wide Web make use of the Internet.3A fictional space-borne teapot, the existence of which cannot be disproved and was suggested as an analogy to God by Bertrand Russell in 1952.

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