For parents who'd like to inspire more critical thinking in their kids, this introduction to an unusual "faith" may be your starter kit. It's short (56 minutes including credits!), it's got a funny and intriguing premise, and it has a mission that's become essential in our modern world: examining what is a fact. And to do that, groups across Europe are calling into question the greatest collective acceptance of antifact: faith. Pastafari is the world's fastest-growing religion, gaining official recognition in The Netherlands in 2014. To make their cause known, dedicated followers are legally fighting to get their religious headwear -- colanders -- accepted in driver's license photos (call it a small step for noodles). And the members of this tongue-in-cheek religion are stone-cold serious about promoting religious freedom -- specifically, the freedom to not follow a religion.
A professor explains why religions began and lays out a case for why they're a well-organized farce. Members of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster explain their belief system with a straight face, never breaking character, in an effort to point out that their position may seem ridiculous, but how is it any less ridiculous than other denominations? This church has its rituals -- including Friday noodle mass -- which participants can attend or not. It has principles to follow, but they're offered as suggestions instead of rules. And the underlying philosophies of FSM are similar to those of other organized faith groups, with a few modern additions: live peacefully, be a good person, and work together to lower the cost of cable. The bottom line, the film argues, is that being a good, ethical, moral person is up to you, and following a religion may encourage good behavior -- or may encourage war and mayhem. There's no doubt that I, Pastafari is a conversation starter, but parents of faith may want to preview the content to decide whether it's a conversation their family is ready to have.