One of the genuine beliefs of pastafarians is that religious belief should not get special privileges. One might argue that they believe this "religiously". It is indeed satire, so I think the judge is correct there. I think where the judge is wrong is arbitrarily deciding that any form of satire is necessarily disqualified as a religion.
We're in agreement that satire doesn't necessarily disqualify something from being a religion. But, holding an idea "religiously" does not make that idea the basis for a religion.
*In general*, I agree religions are hard to pin down. For concrete instances though, it's less gray than people generally wish to believe as you really can take into account your best understanding of the proponent's intent.
Again, to restate... the question here isn't whether religions are special or deserve any special treatment. The question here is whether FSM and it's proponents are doing anything other than trying to cynically game the system. The judge seems believe that the answer is a resounding no. If it was a different religion, the outcome would also likely have been different too.
This is analogous to how members of other religions may not believe in every literal claim their religion makes. Some christians don't even believe that Jesus was anything more than a normal human being with some good ideas.
I struggle to agree with this, because FSM deliberately and consciously espouses things they ALL don't believe in. This seems blatantly different to the situation where there's internal debate within a religion (e.g., your Jesus example is a good one). Find me a FSM practitioner who actually believes their stories, and I'll happily reconsider
Either way... I've enjoyed the discussion with you!