Why are we here on earth? What the meaning of existence? What is man’s purpose? What started the Universe? Where was God during the Holocaust? What is Truth? Should people have sex before marriage? What is the best way to find happiness? Where is the afterlife? Where are the voices in my head coming from? And what about masturbation?

In The Nature of Existence, director Roger Nygard, who made the wonderful Trekkies and Trekkies 2 took camera in hand, interviewing astrophysicists, neuro-scientists, authors, artists, actors, comics, filmmaker and religious figures of all faiths–plus Chloe, one of the most astute 7th-graders ever, who once asked Santa why people ended victims of genocide.

Whether or not we believe in God/s, the reality is that humans have an awareness of their own mortality which is what propels us and has caused us to create cosmologies which has in turn formed the basis for art, culture and law throughout the ages.

From Los Angeles to China and India, Nygard explores the great mysteries (including the secret of great pizza) in this witty, smart documentary which allows the viewers to make up their own minds.

One of my favorite scenes: An anti-gay preacher discussing the importance of love while wearing a “No Homos” button. Um, cognitive dissonance much?

Also it’s funny to see atheist author Richard Dawson slip and say

God knows

then laugh when he catching himself using the idiomatic phrase.

Comments on sex and masturbation show a number of cultural and religious differences. Nygard’s wry, wide-eyed exploration of faith and existence is smart, charming and thought-provoking, with no preaching; an even-playing field is provided for everyone, even the Christian wrestlers and Evangelical drag racers who proselytize in rather unique forums.

What comes across is that people have faith–whether it’s faith that God exists or not–and that the answers we come up with reveal our individuality.