GENERAL DISCUSSIONS

Abandoned by Heaven

POSTED BY: ZZETTA13
UPDATED: Friday, April 14, 2006 00:27
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Tuesday, April 11, 2006 4:08 AM

ZZETTA13


Question to fellow Browncaots,

I was just wondering about Mals faith. In the Firefly pilot eps in the battle scene for Serenity Valley we see Malcolm Reynolds kiss a religous metal he's wearing around his neck. Later he tells a fellow soldier " God won't let us die because we're to pretty."
This tells me that MR has a belief in a Divine Presents.Heck theres even talk of "Angels" coming to save the day.

What was Joss doing here? Is Mal the Character that once belived in the Almighty but since his prayers weren't answered has lost all faith?

With the introduction of Shepherd Book we see Mal making comments through the rest of the sreies and movie about Himself being all out of faith. Abandoned. Left to carry his own cross with some guilt and hatred.

I was just wondering if Malcolm Reynolds is a gonner when it comes to seeing that gorgeous Kingdom of Blue after the black?


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Tuesday, April 11, 2006 4:15 AM

PHOENIXROSE

You think you know--what's to come, what you are. You haven't even begun.


That's exactly it. There are a few things that confirm that too. One is his comment in the movie about a "long wait for a train that don't come". My favorite is a deleted scene for the pilot, the original opening. Mal and Zoe are lying on the field surrounded by the dying and they hear med-ships coming. Zoe asks "Whose colors are they flying?" and Mal says "Don't matter none." They try to get everyone up and Mal goes up on a rise to set up a flare. Zoe says "Are those really med-ships? Are we really getting out?" and Mal replies to the affirmative. Zoe says "Thank God." Mal sneers, lights the flare and says "God? Whose colors is he flying?"
He lost everything in that valley. Now all he has is the ship. And those on it.

*************************************************
Bible's broken. Doesn't make sense.

Zhu fu ni, mei-mei

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Tuesday, April 11, 2006 4:25 AM

JADEHAND


This is a sensitive subject.
Yes, Mal was a man with a great deal of faith. He believed with all he was. The loss at Serenity Valley ,It seems to me, was viewed by him as God turning his back on him. He's just returning the favour. Been there, done that, wear the t-shirt.
As for your final question: No. Might wanna re-read that book. Once accepted, always accepted. Even if you turn away. That seem fair? No, that's why it's called grace.

Visit WWW.Marillion.Com for a better way to live
"Finding the answer It's a human obsession
But you might as well talk to the stones and the trees and the sea
'Cause nobody knows And so few can see
There's only beauty and caring and truth beyond darkness." -Estonia(This Strange Engine) -Marillion



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Tuesday, April 11, 2006 4:25 AM

ZZETTA13


PHOENIXROSE,

I think he wants to believe and with all the gunshot holes,stabings and near death experiences the crew have had on Serenity. I would think that some of his faith would have returned.

JADEHAND, I know its a touchy subject but it comes out so clearly in the shows. And I agree with you.
Z

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Tuesday, April 11, 2006 4:30 AM

EVERYWORLDSPINNIN


That's right, he also told Book that he's welcome on his boat, but God ain't.

I have to say that out of all of the characters in the 'verse, Book was my favorite. Not because of his shadowy past (although that is very cool as well), but also because he was Mal's opposite in that respect.

My all time favorite scene in the show, or the BDM, is when Book is talking to Inara and says, "I think I'm on the wrong ship." To which Inara replies, "Maybe. But maybe you are exactly where you should be".

Maybe Book was meant to rescue Mal's faith, or rescue all of them for that matter.

--------------------------------------------------
Child One: "Republicans aren't real."
Child Two: "Full well they are!"

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Tuesday, April 11, 2006 4:30 AM

PURPLEBELLY


Is it time to recall that Whedon isn't merely an atheist, but an angry atheist?

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Tuesday, April 11, 2006 4:52 AM

ZZETTA13


Guess we'll have to get ahold of Mr.Univeres for the answers. He is on the other side you know.Make the link-up through his love-bot.


"The signal goes somewhere and I go everywhere." Mr.U


Joss an atheist? A hungry angry atheist?

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Tuesday, April 11, 2006 5:06 AM

ISAACSHEPHERD


This might be kind of a dumb question but does Mal still wear his cross (the one he kissed in the pilot)? Mal has lost his faith but with all the religious references in the first few minutes I would assume he was quite religous before the conclusion of Serenity Valley.

Anyways back to the question about the cross. I hadn't noticed it being around his neck after the war, but I'd wonder if he still had it stowed away somewhere. This also makes me wonder if his family was religous and what they were like.

IS



The Bible's a bit fuzzy on the subject of kneecaps.

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Tuesday, April 11, 2006 5:11 AM

ZZETTA13


One thing is for sure. Mal has loads of respect for Shepherd Book.

ISAACSHEPHERD, good question and one that may be addressed in a forthcoming series eps.


Z

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Tuesday, April 11, 2006 5:13 AM

RACH




Surely that's the whole underlying theme of the BDM though (or one of the big ones anyway)? That he finds something (anything) to believe in again?

Even if it's just the fundamental right of people to be idiots? Free, uninhibited idiots?

x

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Tuesday, April 11, 2006 5:23 AM

PHOENIXROSE

You think you know--what's to come, what you are. You haven't even begun.


Quote:

Originally posted by IsaacShepherd:
This might be kind of a dumb question but does Mal still wear his cross (the one he kissed in the pilot)? Mal has lost his faith but with all the religious references in the first few minutes I would assume he was quite religous before the conclusion of Serenity Valley.



Considering his bitterness toward Book at first, I would bet he chucked the cross into the furthest reaches of space. "God ain't welcome on my boat" (paraphrase) tells me that he wouldn't still have an icon anywhere. He certainly never seemed to be wearing a necklace of any kind. He believed so completely that the Independents truly deserved to win, that they were right, and even that "angels" would come save them. He was crushed, cut open and scooped out by the end of that bloodbath. My impression is that he started relying only on things he could see; himself, his crew, and his ship. He made his own way, not looking for any help he couldn't get from himself or the people with him. Yeah, he grew to respect Book, but he still didn't want to hear any sermons. Even in the BDM when he found "belief" on Book's advice, it was believing what River had to say. Book told him "River. I don't care what you believe, just believe whatever she..." and he did. He believed again, believed in a cause and in something he could see, and he did it himself. He triumphed.

Joss is an Atheist? I didn't know that.

*************************************************
Bible's broken. Doesn't make sense.

Zhu fu ni, mei-mei

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Tuesday, April 11, 2006 5:30 AM

MILFORD


In terms of Mal's faith, or lack thereof, I think the main point is that Serenity is about rediscovering a reason. He felt abandoned at the Valley, but seems to eventually warm to the idea of faith as the movie ends.

I believe that just like his gruff exterior was slowly softening, so will his bitterness towards his religion.

As for Joss beign an atheist, remember that non-Christian doesn't necessarily mean atheist. I'm not trying to start a religious war here in the threads or anything of that nature. Beleive whatever you want. However, the traditional concept of an atheist is one who rejects any belief in what is beyond herself or himself. I'm unaware of Joss making any comments on the subject, so we'll have to label him an "I-don't-talk-about-that-stuff-ist" for now.

Again, this is not an opening for people to argue about matters of belief, simply an observation regarding what atheist means. As to whether it's right or wrong, that's a matter of beleif, and should you want to scream and yell at each other over that subject, be my guest, but do it elsewhere please.

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Customizeable handmade baby gifts personalized by my wife! Check them out at www.baby-bobo.com. All proceeds go towards international adoption.

Leaning into the wind that used to carry me-Stavesacre
That's why I don't kiss'em on the mouth- Jayne Cobb

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Tuesday, April 11, 2006 5:44 AM

EMBERS


Quote:

Originally posted by IsaacShepherd:
does Mal still wear his cross ?


well we know he doesn't wear it to bed,
otherwise we'd have seen it in 'Serenity' in the scene where Inara's 'wave' wakes him up....
but you're right: he could have it saved somewhere
(my Father was an angry lapsed Catholic for more than 50 years but never got rid of his rosary)

probably his family were religious people...
but I'm also guessing they aren't still alive.
(just my own personal opinion of course)


**********************************************
watch the R. Tam Session vids: http://www.hittarivertam.nu/
and buy the 'Serenity' comics published by Dark Horse
have you checked out this thread?:
http://www.fireflyfans.net/thread.asp?b=2&t=15816

and listen to 'I'm Going To See Serenity':
http://music.podshow.com/music/listeners/artistdetails.php?BandHash=a0
c814e1229742ce77ed4497cbf4631c

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Tuesday, April 11, 2006 5:45 AM

ZZETTA13


MILFORD I agree,

This is not a debate only an observation.

Anyone who would care to scream and shout over the matter can dawn their space equipment and go outside. There ain't no sound in space.

What Joss believes is his own buisness and each and every forum fan their own.No problem with any of it.

Just a thread for folks to express their view on Mals faith issue in a civilized manner. No need for anyone to see it any other way.

BTW, I've got Jayne in the corner with Vera to keep the peace

Z

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Tuesday, April 11, 2006 5:51 AM

MILFORD


Nice, nothink like a Callahan to keep the peace. Hey, do you think that it's the same Callahan company that used to make brake pads in the late twentieth century?

(How's that for a film reference?)

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Customizeable handmade baby gifts personalized by my wife! Check them out at www.baby-bobo.com. All proceeds go towards international adoption.

Leaning into the wind that used to carry me-Stavesacre
That's why I don't kiss'em on the mouth- Jayne Cobb

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Tuesday, April 11, 2006 5:57 AM

ZZETTA13


Don't know, maybe Callahans Weapons Company. Formed by Dirty Harry back on Earth That Was.



Z

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Tuesday, April 11, 2006 6:00 AM

PHOENIXROSE

You think you know--what's to come, what you are. You haven't even begun.


I know Atheist doesn't mean "non-christian". According to the dictionary Pagan is what means "non-Christian" or rather "Not following one of the three religions of Abraham" which could include Buddhism as being "pagan". Anyway. That's wrong too, but as was stated, this isn't a thread started for debate.
True Atheists are very rare, which is why I asked, as I hadn't heard anything about Joss being an Atheist. Agnostics are far more common.
Just to note, my grandfather was a true, dyed-in-the-wool Atheist from the age of 13 until the day he died. Being in WWII didn't help much, either, from the little he told me about it. So I know Atheism. Maybe Joss is and maybe he isn't, but Mal certainly seems (to me) to portray a very Atheistic attitude. To me. I know that religion you're raised with holds pretty tightly, so maybe he does struggle with it, but he really never seemed to place any kind of belief in things he couldn't see. Except, later, in the basic right for people to be idiots. I'm sure he would say it as "free" but idiots is funnier.

*************************************************
Bible's broken. Doesn't make sense.

Zhu fu ni, mei-mei

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Tuesday, April 11, 2006 6:32 AM

STAKETHELURK


Quote:

I'm unaware of Joss making any comments on the subject, so we'll have to label him an "I-don't-talk-about-that-stuff-ist" for now.
Joss is very much an atheist. In the Buffy commentaries and in various interviews he refers to himself as one (most notably in the commentary for “The Body”). In the commentary for “Objects in Space,” he describes the time and place of his realization that “I have no faith.” This isn’t speculation about his private life, he’s very open about it since it shapes his work.

(Oh, and btw, in one of the “Angel” commentaries we learn that Tim Minear is an agnostic)

It’s for this reason that I really doubt we were ever going to see Mal turn back to religion. He may become less hostile to religion in general, but he’s past that. He’s moving on to a different territory and I imagine that’s something Joss wanted to (and hopefully still wants) to explore. Given Whedon’s public remarks about the subject of faith, I really doubt we’d ever get a story about Mal regaining his faith in God--that doesn’t seem like something Joss is even interested in exploring.

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Tuesday, April 11, 2006 6:41 AM

PHOENIXROSE

You think you know--what's to come, what you are. You haven't even begun.


Quote:

Originally posted by StakeTheLurk:
He may become less hostile to religion in general, but he’s past that. He’s moving on to a different territory and I imagine that’s something Joss wanted to (and hopefully still wants) to explore.


That would be shiny. I mean, we do kind of get to see what Mal now believes in, but I'd like to see it play out more, you know. Hell, I just want to see everything play out more.

Stupid Fox

*************************************************
Bible's broken. Doesn't make sense.

Zhu fu ni, mei-mei

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Tuesday, April 11, 2006 7:04 AM

JAYTEE


I think Mal's reference to "angels" in the Serenity Valley scene in the pilot was a reference to the Independents air support and not to angels in the biblical sense.

Jaytee

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Tuesday, April 11, 2006 8:04 AM

PURPLEBELLY


Quote:

I'm unaware of Joss making any comments on the subject

http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/j/josswhedon181877.html

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Tuesday, April 11, 2006 8:07 AM

DESKTOPHIPPIE


Yep, I think Mal pretty much lost his faith in Serenity valley, and the series was mostly about reclaiming his faith - not so much in God as in humanity.

I've never seen him wear his cross since the battle. Is it stowed away somewhere? It could be. That would be interesting to find out actually!

Joss mentioned on the DVD commentary for the Pilot that someone (not him) saw the other characters as representing something Mal had lost. Kaylee would be his innocence and sense of fun, Wash his sense of adventure, Book his faith and so on. It explains why Mal clashes with the characters at different times.

Short answer - yes, Mal lost his faith. But that's not to say he can't get it back. After all, he accepted Book as one of his crew.

Desktop Hippie: at one with the 'verse

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Tuesday, April 11, 2006 8:08 AM

MILFORD


I was thinking along the lines of Tommy Boy Callahan and his brake pads.

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Customizeable handmade baby gifts personalized by my wife! Check them out at www.baby-bobo.com. All proceeds go towards international adoption.

Leaning into the wind that used to carry me-Stavesacre
That's why I don't kiss'em on the mouth- Jayne Cobb

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Tuesday, April 11, 2006 8:40 AM

ZZETTA13


Interesting DesktopHippie and certainly something that looks like possible connection points.Mals other selves.

Book.....Mals faith
Kaylee...Mals innocent side
Wash.... Mals adventuresome/exploration side
Zoey.....Mals connection to his past
Jayne....Mals Blutal and harsh side
Inara....Mals self battle (torn between Serenity & Inara)
Simon & River..Mals Alliance connection that he keeps.

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Tuesday, April 11, 2006 8:45 AM

MILFORD


I like that line of thought, but I'd suggest a slight change. I think Simon and River are less about the Alliance and more about family. Mal is a VERY loyal person, and I find it strange that the little we know about his family came from the short conversation with YoSaffBridge in Our Mrs. Reynolds. I think there's more there, perhaps they represent the guilt he feels at leaving his family on Shadow to join the Browncoats. Or maybe the Alliance did something to them. Who knows. We'll just have to wait for Joss to finish writing the second through fifteenth seasons and the five pictures for us to know the whole story.

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Customizeable handmade baby gifts personalized by my wife! Check them out at www.baby-bobo.com. All proceeds go towards international adoption.

Leaning into the wind that used to carry me-Stavesacre
That's why I don't kiss'em on the mouth- Jayne Cobb

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Tuesday, April 11, 2006 8:47 AM

WHOME


Lots of people become more overtly religious when things are going bad, or when they're under stress. You know that old saying that there are no atheists in foxholes? There are, of course, but there are also people who only had some vague religious thoughts before but start praying nonstop when things get rough. Mal doesn't need to have been very religious before the war to have become very religious during it. Then in his disappointment, disillusionment, depression, and anger, he convinced himself that he had stopped believing in anything good at all. (It's not true of course- he believes in Serenity, and he believes in the strength of his crew.)

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Tuesday, April 11, 2006 8:59 AM

DAYVE




ok, for what it's worth...
i think that Mal, when faced with the ultimate crisis of faith, realised that reality and religion are not necessarily one and the same.

This is an old argument. And while i never intend to offend people of religious belief, I must stand up for my own personal belief in secular humanism.

If Joss intended to resolve this issue in some future story, we'll just have to wait (and hope) for a continuation of the series. I certainly don't know his thoughts on this, except that I have read about his curiousity about extistentialism, which is not usually associated with worship of a deity.

Like i said, an old argument, with sincere views on both sides of the question, and from past experience one that will never be resolved to everyone's satisfaction. So, at least for me, i accept the story as told, and whether or not Mal finds a faith in something besides his ship and crew will be left for another story.

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Tuesday, April 11, 2006 5:39 PM

PHOENIXROSE

You think you know--what's to come, what you are. You haven't even begun.


Alright, so if I'm allowed to get off the topic of just Mal's faith here, I'm wondering about Eastern religion on Firefly. There was some evidence of it, but it did seem mostly Christian. Not many contemplative people coming up on the show. Book was actually the most calm and centered character, and it was mentioned (in Ariel) that at the Abby you could contemplate the wonders of your rock garden. Anyway, I'm just wondering if there are any theories on why there's not a lot of Zen or Buddhism in the series. On a similar note, might Mal become more contemplative and Zen? That would be an interesting direction to go. Not really a worship of a deity, but a path nonetheless. I think that would be shiny.

*************************************************
Bible's broken. Doesn't make sense.

Zhu fu ni, mei-mei

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Tuesday, April 11, 2006 6:52 PM

STDOUBT


God doesn't abandon his children. <---note the period.
Wasn't there some bible story about a shepard who
tended a flock of 100 sheep, and one went wayward?
The shepard searched high and low, and finding the
lost sheep, said, little sheep, you are more dear
to me than the 99?
Anyway, sermons make me sleepy.

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Tuesday, April 11, 2006 7:20 PM

LITTLEALBATROSS


Quote:

Originally posted by PhoenixRose:
Alright, so if I'm allowed to get off the topic of just Mal's faith here, I'm wondering about Eastern religion on Firefly. There was some evidence of it, but it did seem mostly Christian. Not many contemplative people coming up on the show. Book was actually the most calm and centered character, and it was mentioned (in Ariel) that at the Abby you could contemplate the wonders of your rock garden. Anyway, I'm just wondering if there are any theories on why there's not a lot of Zen or Buddhism in the series. On a similar note, might Mal become more contemplative and Zen? That would be an interesting direction to go. Not really a worship of a deity, but a path nonetheless. I think that would be shiny.



In the Visual Companion Joss says that the main religion on the 2 main planets was Buddhism. But that didn't come out in the series or film (although I think there was a Buddha statue at the companion house in Serenity).

I really like that idea of Mal becoming more contemplative. Maybe he doesn't find religion again, but maybe he finds some peace.

If only there'd been more time...

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Tuesday, April 11, 2006 11:47 PM

MAGHAFFAR


WARNING -- bit of a long rant about to follow... Nothin' personal nor meaning to offend... just some pent-up thoughts on a spiritual bent...

Somewhere in the commentaries on the series -- for "Objects in Space" I believe -- Joss talks about "finding" his world-view after reading an existentialist writer, Jean Paul Sartre, I think. Because Joss comes from a TV writer family I'm guessing his ancestry is Jewish -- not anti-semitic mind you, just making an obvious statement -- Hollywood film & TV shows have been, from Hollywood's inception as an industry, predominantly written, directed & produced by people of Jewish ancestry. And a lot of these Jewish people are not the highly religious types, more the secular humanist type. And as many can surmise a lot of Jewish surivors of the Holocaust lost their faith in God.

Where's all this going?

Well, if Firefly had aired 15 or 25 years ago, I would have held a pretty similar outlook as Mal / Joss -- since Joss wrote most of who Mal is, it's really Joss' philosophical outlook we're seeing through Mal. Point being? Mal's discarding of his "faith" is actually a quite shallow expression of "blaming God" for the failures of mankind.

I was guilty of this growing up based on events in my own life -- being blinded in one eye shortly after birth due to prematurity and medical practices in the early 1960s, my mom dying of brain cancer when I was 7, my Dad splitting when I was 12 -- so I went the Eastern religion way, got into Zen, Taoism, etc.

I was never truly atheistic, just never bought the "opiate of the masses" as I perceived it back in my 20s. Wasn't til I studied Islam (Ahmadiyyat) that God in the monotheistic "Father" figure vein made any kind of sense. God talks to us in ways we can relate to, and each culture / ethnic region was given a "picture" of God that made sense to them for what they needed. So what makes it kinda hard for me in watching Firefly / BDM is seeing such a one-dimensional presentation of God in Joss's 'Verse.

I've got that quote from the Holy Quran at the top of my posts cuz that's the most direct verse about the nature of extra-terrestrial life in the Universe and God's role in everything. And that's not even a smidgeon of what's actually in the Book! It talks about embryonic development [once you understand the Arabic medically] in such amazingly detailed descriptions as to boggle the mind. The Quran describes the revolution of planetary bodies on their axis while moving in elliptical orbits as well as manned spaceflight.

The Quran talks about sub-atomic particles, plate tectonics, the effects of nuclear fission, left-handed molecular spin, an expanding/contracting cyclical universe, the development of all life from water and the evolution of life in stages from ocean to land, the geological nature of mountains being embedded into the ground like pegs, which they are. The list and examples go on and on. All this without my even touching on the spiritual elements as "proofs" cuz I fugure with Sci-Fi fans, maybe the sciency stuff will get your interest. But the spiritual stuff is way more impressive once you see the bigger picture that Islam really presents, and not the yahoo terrorist stuff that's being foisted off by a lot of right-wing Christians, Fox News watchers and the Bushites as the Real Islam, which it ain't.

Don't mean to be preachin' and my apologies if I offend, but if Browncoats are anything at all like me, which I figure a decent percentage must be 'cuz I conjure myself one, they are free-thinkers and willing to respect a person's right to hold an opinion. Especially if they can defend it, and that is one thing I am willing and able to do -- cuz I came from where Joss kinda still is, and I believe I can see not only his POV but why it doesn't provide any real solutions or answers.

Mal's character is so unrooted and groundless spiritually speaking as a direct result of Joss' worldview. Sure, makes for a great "tortured" soul / loner type with serious emotional, trust & commitment issues and that makes for great drama, but does anyone honestly wanna live Mal's kind of life? Aside from having that spaceship, being able to shoot fast and straight, what and where would he be without those people on his crew?

Mal's a cipher, he's dead inside. Only thing keeps his heart going is the need for his ship and his need to "take care" of his crew. I see Mal as a guy who knows he needs something, knows he wants it [like Inara] but can't open himself up to let it in, really.

And that's called Tragedy, which Eugene O'neill and all those other existentialists like Joss realize is the core foundation of a worldview that can't accept God as a major player, for whatever reason. Makes for great pathos.

We are drawn to the ship and its crew precisely because they are routinely isolated and at odds with the 'verse they're in -- with only themselves to rely on. Book represents the "light" of a different path that can offer help, but Joss routinely pokes fun at that through Mal's comments and by having Book [played by a Buddhist BTW] showing fear and doubts about his own faith.

You think it was an accident Joss killed off Book in the BDM? I'd venture to guess Book was an ideological casualty more than a physical one.
Now Inara seems a practicing Buddhist -- we see her praying in the BDM -- but her occupation flies in the face of major Buddhist teachings and respecting the moral sanctity of sex by not engaging in it as a profession because it degrades the self-worth of the person doing it. You think the semitic religions got scads of ethical rules and moral laws? Buddhism ranks right up there, lemme tell yah.

Existentialism does one thing really well, when it's not fueling the ideologies of Hitler and Stalin types. It presents human relationships in their stark emotionalism stripped of any facades of self-delusion. This is why it works so well in dramatic structure as well as the sociological engineering of mass thought.

'Course religion can obviously do that too, and has. What keeps both systems from abusing their respective target audiences is the free-willed, intellectually and morally engaged participation of the members of the audience.
in the 'Verse, this comes out as Mal's sentiment: "I aim to misbehave." It's a reaction to the Big Brother Alliance-thought we all can relate to not wanting to be subjugated by.

Well, guess I'm all ranted out. Just wanted to pitch out some bigger rocks than usual to see if the ripples rocked any boats out there.
[Remember "The Boat Rocker" by Thomas Mann in 'Field of Dreams'? and the speech the wife gives at the PTA meeting? Now THERE's a Browncoat waitin' for her Browncoat if I ever saw one.]

=================================================================
Jonathan M.A.Ghaffar: MAGhaffar@wayoftheseekers.com
http://www.WAYoftheSEEKERS.com
http://www.TombofJesus.com
http://www.alislam.org

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Wednesday, April 12, 2006 1:22 AM

PHOENIXROSE

You think you know--what's to come, what you are. You haven't even begun.


Quote:

Originally posted by JayTee:
I think Mal's reference to "angels" in the Serenity Valley scene in the pilot was a reference to the Independents air support and not to angels in the biblical sense.

Jaytee


I know that. I'm a Browncoat, after all, I'm pretty smart. Just the fact that he was using the word was very important. Angels were going to resue them. The way someone uses languange says a lot about them; both in the real world and well-written fiction.

*************************************************
Bible's broken. Doesn't make sense.

Zhu fu ni, mei-mei

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Wednesday, April 12, 2006 2:08 AM

DESKTOPHIPPIE


I know it doesn't come through very clearly in the series or the movie, but I had always assumed that Christianity and Buddhism were the two main religions. There are a lot of churches on the border moons, and Buddha statues seem to pop up everywhere too.

What surprised me initially was that Christianity only seemed to show up on the more "backward" planets. You don't get a lot of religion on the core worlds (that we've seen so far, anyway) but it's little places like Haven that seem much more Christian. At first I thought this was a commentary on the religion itself, but having listened to Joss' commentary on the movie I think I get why this happens.

One of the things Joss mentions is that the border planets don't have all the benefits of the core worlds, and he mentions freedom of religion as one of those benefits. However, he says that despite their shortcomings the border planets still want the freedom to do things their way without interference, and it's pretty clear that that's the side Joss shows sympathy for. I think the difference in the two faiths on the show helps illustrate that point of view.

From what little I know of it, Buddhism is pretty inclusive. I think some people even shy from calling it a religion, preferring to think of it as a philosophy. Christianity is the opposite. It's one path, based on one God with a pretty strict set of rules (even if the different branches disagree on what they are.) That sort of sums up the border plantes themselves. They do things their way, to their rules, and don't plan on accomadating any meddling Alliance.

Now that's a ~very~ simplistic view on ~both~ religions, and I'm happy to be corrected on this, but I think that's what the religions on the show are used for. Any Buddhists about who can let me know if I'm barking up the wrong Dharma Wheel?

Desktop Hippie: at one with the 'verse

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Wednesday, April 12, 2006 2:16 AM

PHOENIXROSE

You think you know--what's to come, what you are. You haven't even begun.


Well, yeah, it's simplified, but you've got a pretty good take on Buddhism, really. "Tao" actually means "way" so it's just about finding the way. Very internal. Very personal. At least it is for me. But it can be called a "religion" because it is about the spirit. It can also be called a personal philosophy, I suppose. I call it spirituality myself.

And there are Buddha statues, but no one acts calm or at peace or contemplative at all, which is why I ask about it. (shiny side note: Ron Glass is a Buddhist, which is maybe why Book seems so... at peace most of the time. despite his troubled past.)

*************************************************
Bible's broken. Doesn't make sense.

Zhu fu ni, mei-mei

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Wednesday, April 12, 2006 7:17 AM

ZZETTA13


Ok browncoats I'm bumping this post up because of the very interesting writting thats come up.

First,Kudos to MAGHAFFAR I enjoyed reading your post. It enlightened me.

I will try not to make this to long...but

Now about Firefly and Malcolm Reynolds.

Shepherd Book in Serenity before his death says "Just believe..." or "Just believe in it."
Had he been able to continue I feel his spoken words would have had the flavor of, just believe in something good,or somthing of goodness or positve.

Book just wanted Mal to be rid of his darkness. The serenity crew is a family. This is affirmed when Mal and Jayne are face to face at the airlock on Serenity after the medical endeaver on Ariel. Mal " You do it to any one of my crew, you do it to me!!!"

Mals "Family" on board ship are the only good things he feels he has left. He is the "FATHER". There to safeguard his fold. He felt the same way about his soldiers in Serenity Valley.

The mention of ANGELS in the tv pilot is a direct connection to heaven and also why I posted the title of the thread "Abandoned by Heaven" and not " Abandoned by God"
Joss and the other witters of Firefly may write some of the humor of Serenity quickly and by the seat of their pants. But when it comes to the religious and spiritual aspect of the show the writting of these parts are well thought out before penned.


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Wednesday, April 12, 2006 8:56 AM

SERENITYSEEKER


I must say, even as a Christian, I am truly enjoying reading this thread. It is amazing that all of us, despite our religious and philosophical beliefs, can gather to express our ideas without fear of persecution. I hope y'all won't mind if a young country boy throws in his two cents (and please forgive me if this comes out really long).

Just to give y'all some background on my personal beliefs, yes I am a Christian but I've definitely changed my viewpoints from when I was younger. I also wanna take this chance to apologize to y'all of varying faiths that may have come under persecution from more close-minded Christians than myself because those type of Christians piss me off too. Anyways, I was raised in a fairly conservative environment and brought up in a traditional Southern Baptist church. I didn't drink, smoke, curse, or do anything "wrong". Yes, I was considered a Bible thumper probably and to be honest I wasn't really happy. But about 2 years ago, when I started my college years my views really changed. I can't point to a specific incident but my faith was really rocked, much like Mal's was.

I think that's the thing that pulled me in the most about Firefly was seeing a character who reflected some of the emotions I was/am feeling. My take on Mal's faith is that some part of him still holds onto his beliefs before losing the war. He's a good man, despite his rough and tough exterior. He still has some hope for good in his life, and generally that hope comes from his "family" on Serenity. I can't see Mal as a man without any faith or hope because if that were the case, what's to keep him from becoming a Reaver or just blowing the back of his head off in despair? Who knows if he will ever return to his original faith, and even if he does I'm sure it will be skewed somewhat by the events that have taken place in his life. My hope is to see Mal find some true serenity (forgive the pun) in his life and be able to come to terms with some of the losses in his life.

Thanks for lettin me share my story and I hope to hear some replies from y'all soon enough.





Keep flyin'.

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Wednesday, April 12, 2006 10:39 AM

RACH


This thread is very, very good.

Faith is (or would have been) a huge underlying theme in FF. The dualism of Christianity/Eastern religions existing seemingly without conflict (or at least on board the ship; cf the tranquility of the Book/Inara exchange about praying for Mal)would seem to negate the particularities of religion: the basic fact of belief is the key.

My memory is quite fuzzy on existentialism (A level French Lit, anyone?). But the emphasis Sartre placed on the act - 'l'engagement' - and even more importantly, the ACCEPTANCE of the need to act is, to me, the absolute theme of Serenity.

In 'Objects in Space' River's insight into Mal is that 'none of it matters a damn'. Existence is survival. In a sense, living so close to the margin makes that easy. It's when confronted with decisions that have long term implications that problems arise :cf relationship with Inara in FF/the decision to bring River back to the ship in BDM, which goes against every aspect of the sterile utilitarian philosophy that Mal lives under.

The problem with Mal is that this utilitarianism is set at odds with his innate morality. In the absence of a closer self examination, this equates to his loyalty to his crew above all. (There's a really eloquent thread about this another discussion board that examines this with great elegance.)

Faith in something greater? Only when he decides to engage. To fight another war. Faith in humanity? He can't resist it.

I hope he never resolves this issue, or loses the bitterness, mind you. Makes for magnificent viewing.

My muscular buttocks, I don't think I've engaged my brain like that for about 2 years. I think I may have strained something.





x

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Wednesday, April 12, 2006 11:43 AM

EMBERS


I just wanted to kind of remind people, that in spite of what Joss Whedon's religious views are, I don't think he is imposing those (specifically) on Mal.
Joss has said many times that Mal is much more conservative politically than he, Joss is. Mal is very much and independent/libertarian type who does not want Government's interference for good or bad...
So similarly, Mal has rejected God - not because Joss thinks that that is a correct response -- but because of his experiences in the war. Mal could easily regain his faith... Or not. He is a complex character who can actually grown and change in a lot of different ways.

I'm just waiting for future comics, and eventually our Big Damn Sequel, so I can find out what is going to happen next!

I have really enjoyed everyone's posts....

Oh yeah, I wanted to say about Buddhism: I think we didn't meet a lot of Buddhists for the same reason we haven't met a lot of Asian characters: because the show ended before Joss really had a chance to fully develop this 'verse. I'm hoping for much more in the future... (if I live so long)


**********************************************
watch the R. Tam Session vids: http://www.hittarivertam.nu/
and buy the 'Serenity' comics published by Dark Horse
have you checked out this thread?:
http://www.fireflyfans.net/thread.asp?b=2&t=15816

and listen to 'I'm Going To See Serenity':
http://music.podshow.com/music/listeners/artistdetails.php?BandHash=a0
c814e1229742ce77ed4497cbf4631c

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Friday, April 14, 2006 12:27 AM

PHOENIXROSE

You think you know--what's to come, what you are. You haven't even begun.


Hey, I was talking to my dad about this whole discusion and he told me that he's seen some Buddhist iconography in Mal's bunk. One was a statue, and one was a print that he's pretty sure is the Five Families. It was very blurred, though. I guess he tried to freeze it and couldn't be absolutely sure, but he's been a Buddhist for many years and he's pretty sure.
So maybe Mal did have religion all along. Maybe didn't practice regular and didn't wear anything around his neck, but it was there.
Then again, maybe it was just knick-knacks by the prop people to make the space look like Asian fusion, but they're usually very exacting on the details.
Anyway, I thought that was interesting.

*************************************************
Bible's broken. Doesn't make sense.

Zhu fu ni, mei-mei

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