Greetings again from the darkness. You are to be excused for not taking seriously any person, club, organization, or religion that chooses to be identified by wearing colanders (pasta strainers) on their head. After all, many municipalities and courts of law would and have agreed with you. Still, writer-director Michael Arthur takes a direct approach in presenting the Pastafarians, and many will be on board with some of the points made.
Bobby Henderson founded the “ancient but forgotten religion” in 2005 to oppose the teaching of creationism and intelligent design in schools, and claimed Pastafarianism as a real religion, “as much as any other.” The intent was to keep religion out of government-financed schools. While many will agree with the philosophy, it is difficult to gain credibility when one’s deity is an invisible ‘flying spaghetti monster’ and your leader defends the religion as legitimate by showing up in court wearing a colander on his head.
Mr. Arthur takes us through The Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Russia, and Costa Rica as he explores the followers and the factions. We meet Bruder Spaghettus, who claims humans and Pastafarianism are descended from pirates, and he attributes the increase in global warming to a decrease in the number of pirates. Many religions have had “splits”, and this one is no different in that regard. What is different here is that Bruder’s Pastafari followers wear pirate garb instead of colanders. Only you can decide if that’s an improvement. Is this a real religion, a fake religion or a parody of religion? Director Arthur interviews followers, as well as academic scholars in search of the truth.
Reading between the lines, it appears likely that the religion was started as a lark, but has evolved into a somewhat loose organization with a philosophy of opposition to “traditional” religions being given more power, respect, advantages, and influence than should be the case. There is no real evidence to support claims that Pastafari (a play on words from Rastafari, the Jamaican Abrahamic religion) is the ‘fastest growing religion’ or has ‘millions of believers.’ Is it possible to take a serious look at a ridiculous topic? What Mr. Arthur finds is that it seems legitimate to question the manner in which “real” religions are treated with privilege. The film doesn’t feature founder Bobby Henderson, which seems odd, and it skims the surface more for entertainment than enlightenment. And what I have to say to that is … R’amen, brother.
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