Firefly

Posted by  $  MikeMarotta 11 months ago to Entertainment
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This is an example of Romantic fiction as elucidated by Ayn Rand in her book, The Romantic Manifesto. These characters act on the basis of their values. While they each know their self-interest, for each that is different, based on their personal life experiences. Thus, the show is about morality: beliefs becoming actions. Those different goals bring tensions and conflicts.

The hero is Malcolm Reynolds. He owns a spaceship, Serenity, that hauls cargo and passengers. Serenity is a "firefly" class ship, called so because the tail lights up when power is engaged. These are sublight ships. The story is set in the early 26th century. FTL does not exist. Terraforming does. China and America have united to dominate Earth; and Earth dominates the Alliance of human worlds. (There are no other sentient species.) Reynolds had been a "browncoat," a fighter in a sessionist faction whose revolt failed. Now, he seeks the frontiers, not quite far enough away from the Alliance. His crew of three consists of a former combat comrade and her husband who is the pilot, and also an engineer. Also along for the ride are a hired gun, a non-denominational Christian "Shepherd," a professional Companion (prostitute), and two refugees, a doctor and his sister.

Each of them has a defined self-interest. Usually, those coincide, thus the crew can function. Often, however, their values are in conflict as their different goals require independent choices in each situation.

The ship's hired gun, Jayne Cobb, was bought out from the men who hired him to kill Malcolm Reynolds. Cobb says, and Reynolds understands, that if the deal is ever good enough, he will turn Reynolds over to the Alliance. Yet, Jayne Cobb is there, at the ready, when he is needed because it is in his self-interest to do so.

"... value is objective (not intrinsic or subjective); value is based on and derives from the facts of reality ... Every proper value-judgment is the identification of a fact: a given object or action advances man’s life (it is good): or it threatens man’s life (it is bad or an evil). ... since every fact bears on the choice to live, every truth necessarily entails a value-judgment, and every value-judgment necessarily presupposes a truth. "Fact and Value" by Leonard Peikoff, Ph.D. here.

Malcolm Reynolds is a smuggler. He achieves that by not getting caught and having the right-looking papers. He and his crew do not need the attention that comes from having the doctor and his sister on board. They are fleeing the Alliance because Simon Tam broke River out of a government lab that was deconstructing her super-genius mind. But Captain Reynolds knows himself and his values. Doctor Tam and River are his passengers, even as they endanger his mission.

The show was touted on Atlasphere (http://www.theatlasphere.com/columns/040...).

You can watch the show on Hulu, http://TV.com, and Xfinity.Comcast. If you watch it on DVD, you can enjoy the backstory and commentary about the struggle to create and maintain the integrity of the work. A movie, Serenity, was released in 2005. Much more about Firefly will be revealed by your web browser.

This was originally brought to my attention by "Ba'al Chatzoff" a non-Objectivist on the discussion board "Objectivist Living."

Read the IMDB blub, cast and crew credits here:
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0303461/

The Wikipedia article is here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Firefly_(TV...)


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  • Posted by  $  rockymountainpirate 11 months ago
    Firefly is the best cowboys in space series ever, and the movie ties up some loose ends. It's amazing that it comes from Joss Whedon.

    "I mean to misbehave", Malcolm Reynolds.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ch3X5Wrhw...
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    • Posted by SaulOhio 11 months ago
      My favorite lines from the whole series and movie, in fact my favorite movie line ever:

      Alliance agent: "Are you willing to die for that belief?"

      Malcolm Reynolds: "I am." Draws his gun and fires several shots at the Allaiance agent. "Cause that ain't Plan A".
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      • Posted by Hiraghm 11 months ago
        I think my favorite line was, "Might have been the losing side. Still not convinced it was the wrong one."
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      • Posted by Hiraghm 11 months ago
        My other favorite line, that most everyone here will hate with an unreserved passion:

        Shepherd Book: "You don't fix the Bible; it fixes you".
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  • Posted by gypciz 10 months, 4 weeks ago
    I HIGHLY recommend the Firefly Series, then watch Serenity. My husband worked on Serenity. He's a Visual Effects Artist & create the all digital rain in a scene where the Serenity spaceship is leaving a space port in a driving rain storm. He created other effects as well, but as the saying goes in Hollywood, "they wound up on the cutting room floor".
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  • Posted by lmarrott 11 months ago
    I'll admit I haven't given Firefly a chance because I don't much like statements from Joss Whedon in the last few years. Also it doesn't help my brother raves about Firefly which makes me not want to give it a try. I have seen Serenity a long time ago, but I mostly have forgotten it by now.
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    • Posted by bep_w 11 months ago
      It's most certainly worth watching. The writing is exquisite; Joss Whedon likes to have dramatic moments offset by a funny line and comedic moments offset by drama. It feels more real than straight soap opera or sitcom. The world of the show also feel plausible. Whedon and his writers didn't just pick a random scenario and run with it, they really sat down and thought through what this world might evolve into in the future. So in that respect, it's not like Star Trek. It feels organic where Star Trek feels like a TV show. Finally and similarly, it's easy to lose track of the fact that the show is sci-fi because it feels like you're watching a Western!

      I highly recommend watching it and watching the movie again! It's surprisingly relevant.
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      • Posted by  $  Rocky_Road 11 months ago
        I just found the DVD at the library, so I'll take your suggestion and watch it!

        It seems like the entire series is on one disc...can that be right?
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        • Posted by bep_w 11 months ago
          The show is only one season. My version has it on 4 discs so they might have split it up. It's also sold at Walmart, Target, Amazon, etc. I have a feeling that after seeing the first few episodes, you might want to invest in the rest! Oh and just a heads up: The episodes fit into an hour time slot so they're about 45 minutes, except the first one which is an hour and a half. It lays out the entirety of the show's exposition and takes the time to pretty fully develop the characters. It also has one of my favorite lines in the show, "that man is psychotic;" it's a treat!
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          • Posted by  $  Rocky_Road 11 months ago
            Thanks for the answer.

            I haven't picked up the DVD yet, it is still checked out. My guess is that it has the entire season.

            I'll follow it up with another viewing of "Serenity"!
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            • Posted by  $  Rocky_Road 10 months, 2 weeks ago
              Followup:

              The library's copy was on 4 discs, and included 14 shows. I am watching the final episode tonight.

              I also picked up Serenity, and will have it watched by morning!

              So far, my favorite episode was "Out of Gas".
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        • Posted by  $  11 months ago
          The show was not successful. A few years later, the movie "Serenity" tied up some of the loose ends.
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          • Posted by  $  khalling 11 months ago
            I agree
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            • Posted by  $  Rocky_Road 11 months ago
              I've seen "Serenity" several times...should I just skip the show?
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              • Posted by  $  rockymountainpirate 11 months ago
                Don't skip the show. While the movie can stand by itself, it's best watched after watching all the series. You'll understand the dynamics in the movie if you have the background of the show.
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                Posted by  $  11 months ago
                Enjoy the show. It is meant for enjoyment.
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                • Posted by  $  Rocky_Road 11 months ago
                  Thanks, guys!
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                  • Posted by gypciz 10 months, 4 weeks ago
                    FOX killed Firefly deliberately. They kept pre-empting it for "specials" or to roll out new shows, then changed it's permanent time slot. It became so confusing that most people thought it was cancelled before it was. This is a page out of NBC's play book, who have killed many a show I have liked with this underhanded excuse for programming!!
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    • Posted by  $  rockymountainpirate 11 months ago
      I'll recommend you watch it and ignore the Whedon connection. These are people who work in their own rational self interest while trying to stay under the radar of the oppressive control of The Alliance.

      Here's the theme song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D7vS4z6ng...
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      • Posted by lmarrott 11 months ago
        I'll download it. However this brings to mind questions about supporting people who philosophically disagree with me. Do you support them because they are talented but ignorant and somewhat hypocritical? Or do you withhold support as a method of supporting what you believe in?
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        • Posted by  $  khalling 11 months ago
          I have posted Whedon's Ayn Rand rant in here. It does support Whedon, but also the very good writers and actors who made the show what it was.
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          • Posted by  $  rockymountainpirate 11 months ago
            I agree. The show didn't follow his philosophy in my opinion. If it did I would not support it. I do withhold my support for those I don't agree with.
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            • Posted by monkeyppl 11 months ago
              Considering these two points on this reply thread- I'd like to present the idea that good fiction, especially fiction of the future (whether qualifying as sci-fi or not) is best done if there are so many life-like perspectives coming through that it would only be limiting to let the authors' philosophy shine through in dominance of others. Sometimes we see one character as an embodiment; sometimes it takes the entire set of main characters to collectively exhibit this philosophy, mixed in with other aspects- to be more 'realistic'...yay or nay?
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            • Posted by  $  iroseland 11 months ago
              I don't think Whedon has ever actually made anything that actually follows his own philosophy. I don't think he actually believes the stuff he says. I only say this because actions are louder than words, and well... In the meantime Firefly was an amazing show, and well worth taking a look at.
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        • Posted by  $  11 months ago
          If you are a Producer here, you can read Ayn Rand's margin notes in Barry Goldwater's "Conscience of a Conservative." Even though she excoriated him privately, publicly, she endorsed his candidacy. That sort of lays bare the lie of "Atlas Shrugged" if we are to completely withhold our sanctions from our destroyers. Read my review here under Philosophy of Leonard Peikoff's understanding Objectivism. He says, rhetorically, "... the fact is, since you're in a very small intellectual minority, if you're an Objectivist, you're going to quickly conclude that people in general are rotten and that life is miserable." (page 351)
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          • Posted by Hiraghm 11 months ago
            Pretty much explains why I'm not an objectivist. The idea that producers are in a very small intellectual minority is as hilarious as it is arrogant. It's the kind of comment I'd expect from a progressive.
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    • Posted by  $  11 months ago
      Read Ayn Rand's essays in "The Romantic Manifesto" to understand why you are not responsible for the political opinions of an artist whose work reflects your own highest ideals.

      Speaking of Edmund Rostand's _Cyrano de Bergerac_, she said, "The truth or falsehood of an author's philosophy is not an esthetic matter. You can take it up with the author in a philosophical discussion. ... But for the purposes of a play, you must accept the author's theme as the criterion and judge how well or how badly he carries out his theme." (_Objectively Speaking_ page 119.)
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      • Posted by lmarrott 11 months ago
        I guess my problem with a guy like Whedon is that while he is talented he uses his notoriety gained from that talent to distribute information and ideas that I fundamentally disagree with. So while I agree that I can appreciate the work done by someone like Joss, do I want to financially support him and help him be more successful where he can spread more bad ideas and viewpoints I disagree with?
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        • Posted by Hiraghm 10 months, 3 weeks ago
          look at it this way... by supporting Firefly/Serenity, you also support Adam Baldwin, a noted conservative on twitter.
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        • Posted by bep_w 11 months ago
          Well, I see where you're coming from. But in the context of someone doing their job and doing it well, Firefly and Serenity go above and beyond. And this show is most definitely NOT his soap box for delivering his agenda. The Socialist government is the enemy and the Independent, free thinkers are the heroes. And do I support that message? Oh most assuredly!
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        • Posted by  $  11 months ago
          Frank Lloyd Wright was best only mistaken and perhaps a just blithering idiot when it came to social policy. You only have to buy the home, not the man who designed it.
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          • Posted by  $  Rocky_Road 11 months ago
            Only a 'producer' could afford one of his designs, so that was probably never an issue!
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  • Posted by AJAshinoff 11 months ago
    Great show. I watch it every time it runs (and at least once on Netflix).
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  • Posted by  $  Hiraghm 11 months ago
    Correction: Earth dominates nothing. In the Firefly Universe, we abandoned Earth because we used it up, or we were too many, or other such nonsense.
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  • Posted by StephSCO 11 months ago
    I was a part of the local Browncoats fan group where I live for a number of years, and while I do not associate with them anymore, I still believe that at least some of them are good people.
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  • Posted by Scatcatpdx 11 months ago
    Whedon rant aside, I was not impressed by the show. It does not live up to the fan boy hype. and had to many plot holes. Firefly is a case where Whedon tried to build a show up on pure buzz rather than solid writing.
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    • Posted by  $  DriveTrain 11 months ago
      Khalling - LOL 8^[]

      Scatcatsnortland, you issue three pronouncements with nothing in the way of supporting examples.

      - You were not impressed with the show - that's groovy - to each his own;

      - "It had many plot holes" ...How many? What were they? Were they significant enough to detract from the value of the particular episode(s) of which they were a part? We'll never know, but I've had the DVD set since its release and have seen most of the episodes multiple times (they have that kind of replay value,) and I'm drawing a blank on "plot holes" of any Earth-shaking, pan-worthy significance;

      - "pure buzz rather than solid writing" - This is simply false - Firefly's (and most of Whedon's other work,) most solid aspect is precisely its writing. But first... "buzz." When Firefly came out I, a sci-fi fan virtually from birth, didn't even know it was there. Quite awhile later I caught word of it - some mention that caught my eye because I'd been a fan of his "Buffy" series (the first three seasons, anyway,) and the commentary I remember ranged from shoulder-shrugs to "meh" from people clearly uninterested in sci-fi as a whole.

      As for Whedon's writing, the endless, continual wit of his dialog is matchless and sidesplitting, and his concepts and execution of them are - as Mr. Marotta's piece above accurately states - driven largely by moral choices rather than chance and whim. I shouldn't need to mention that choices-driven drama in contemporary American culture is virtually extinct (you generally have to go to Japanese television, where it's literally everywhere.)

      So...some specifics and explanation please.
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      • Posted by Scatcatpdx 11 months ago
        lI really do have much time for this so I am going to refer to a post I made in 2009
        This brings me to another Fox dumped SF-FI fanatic supported show: Firefly. Thanks to Hulu.com I survived the first five episodes before saying no mas. Like Virtuality the show fails because it tries to mix Science Fiction with the old western movie shtick. The plot holes are huge. First the show jumps unbelievably from 26th century space opera to 19th century Western and in one episode 18th century aristocracy, no time travel was involved. Second a plot line is left aimlessly hanging. On the first episode the crew of Serenity picks up pastor, a man and his daughter and companion without telling the viewer where they are heading and to get off. It like the writer forgot about the plot and arbitrarily made the passengers part of the crew.

        Both shows fails because the produce fell for a common mistake thinking a show success is based on few single elements taken out of context from previous successful franchises. Virtuality fails by taking elements of Star Trek and reality TV and Firefly attempts to mix Space Opera with elements of old west show like Bonanza and throw in rabid fans and astroturfing buzz.
        http://www.lionspeak.asinglelion.com/?p=...
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        • Posted by SaulOhio 11 months ago
          There are a number of hole in your criticism.

          1: By the end of the first episode, we know where Simon and River Tam are going. They are simply on the run.
          2. They are brother and sister, which is clearly explained and repeated a number of times thorughout the series. How can you miss such an obvious fact? "She's my sister" This is repeated in different words practically every episode.
          3: There is no time travel needed. The premise is Robert Heinlein's that as new worlds are colonized, they will have the very simplest of technologies because that is all that can be sustained with a low population, so different worlds go through different stages of social development, and can resemble different eras of Earth's history.
          4: What do you mean we aren't told why the companion is there, and where she gets off. (In the lurid sense, we are told precisely where she gets off.) It is explained in the early scene where Inara is introduced to Sheppard book.

          I particularly like many of the pro-freedom, even almost Objectivist themes of the book. "Thats what governments are for--Get in a man's way"--Malcolm Reynolds.
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          • Posted by Hiraghm 11 months ago
            I loathe Inara for her profession (having me on board with her, particularly with Mal's feelings for her, would have made for some interesting discussions...) I do not respect professional liars, even if their clients are willing to be lied to.

            In particular, Heinlein's "Tunnel in the Sky" portrays a society that has to start over from scratch on an alien world.
            Pournelle and Stirling's "Falkenberg's Legion" series actually takes this much farther. At one point a character is bemused by the fact that he's riding a 19th century paddlewheel boat up a river, alongside a hovercraft from a century later, overseen by a helicopter, and he got there in a starship.
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            Posted by  $  11 months ago
            Cogent points, Saul. Just to note in 3. that this also appears in Asimov's "Spacer" and "Robot" series as the Settler worlds prove more resilient than the hyper-individualist Spacers. At the end of one, detective Lije Bailey watches his son lead a wagon train into space.

            The idea is common enough in science fiction. An ST:NG show "Up the Long Ladder" brings together a high-tech society that is collapsing from genetic "replicative fading" and a "back to the nature" colony (also failed) from the old European Union.
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      • Posted by Hiraghm 11 months ago
        Although I love Firefly/Serenity, I've never been a sci-fi fan. I always preferred science fiction.
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        • Posted by  $  DriveTrain 11 months ago
          "I've never been a sci-fi fan. I always preferred science fiction"

          LOL

          Errmm, in English and in most other humanoid languages, there's this thing called "abbreviations." I recommend you study up on the concept, because over time you'll be running into it all the time. It's just everywhere, I'm afraid.

          Seriously, after reading Ben Bova's unintentionally-comedic fits of anal-retentiveness on that issue of Momentous Import, I've taken up the practice of using "sci-fi" exclusively, because I think apoplectic reactions to inconsequential trivia are irrational, and... I've never preferred irrationality.
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          • Posted by  $  Hiraghm 10 months, 4 weeks ago
            If you think my response was "apoplectic", you must be an Obama supporter.
            The difference between "sci-fi" and "science fiction" is not of Momentous Import, but it is the same same as the difference between words such as "hear" and "here" in clarity of thought.

            Sci-fi (thank you syfy channel) can be anything from fairy tales to faux-documentaries.

            The difference is only important to people who wish to read science fiction and have to wade through the muddled swamp of pseudo-science fiction and fantasy to find science fiction to read.

            I would classify "Firefly" as more "space opera" than actual science fiction. But it's close enough by today's standards.
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            • Posted by  $  khalling 10 months, 4 weeks ago
              point for space opera. I love it!
              so, are you saying Asimov vs. L. Ron Hubbard
              or Orwell vs. Verne or Huxley vs. Creighton?
              Aj should get in on this conversation. He writes science fiction.
              http://www.amazon.com/Shadows-Live-Under...


              give an A and Z list.
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              • Posted by Hiraghm 10 months, 3 weeks ago
                I'd say Heinlein, Asimov, Pournelle & Niven are among the "hard" science fiction writers (and therefore, by my definition, "science fiction writers"). Asimov actually wrote more real science books than he wrote science fiction.

                I wanted to be a science fiction writer all my life, but I had a problem; I kept insisting on getting the science right, which would mean things like actually inventing an FTL drive before I could write a real-time interstellar story, for example.
                I eventually gave up trying for decades. Now I'm trying again.
                First "Roarke's Drift", an Atlas Shrugged type SF story (I'll be coming to Atlas Productions to get the movie made, if/whenever :). Then "Voyage of the Dark Horse" (gotta have it done by fall of 2014), a time-travel story, then a series of stories that take place on Venus, and a series of stories about a person who eternally despises the human species... with good reason.
                All I gotta do is get myself to type out the words...

                Among my favorite lines from Firefly:
                Wash: "Psychic? Sounds like something out of science fiction"
                Zoe: "We live in a spaceship, dear."
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                • Posted by  $  khalling 10 months, 3 weeks ago
                  I just thought of something else. I'm not a big science fiction reader, but it occurred to me that science fiction is about what's plausible more than about what's actually been invented.
                  For example, we can extract the DNA of dinosaurs stored in mosquitos from the Jurassic period. (turns out the DNA is too corrupted) BUT it's plausible.
                  The possibility of life based on silicon instead of carbon.
                  1. every invention is a combination of known elements
                  2. Do not limit yourself to existing technology
                  3. If the science is plausible, don't worry about the details.
                  My husband is a physicist and patent attorney. We deal with inventors every day.
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                • Posted by  $  khalling 10 months, 3 weeks ago
                  thanks for the list. Good luck with your writing.
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    • -1
      Posted by  $  11 months ago
      "we Christians share the blame for this current gay marriage mess by intrusting power to regulated marriage to a secular state on a false assumption America at any time was a Christian nation; that such nationalism cannot be found in Scripture.

      Perhaps we need to lean we are not, and never was and never could be a Christian nation and need to get pack proclaiming the Gospel." --

      From the blog of Scatcatpdx.
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      • Posted by  $  Hiraghm 11 months ago
        Maybe not on your planet, but on the 3rd one out from Sol, culturally and philosophically, Christianity dominates the United States. To ignore this fact is simple blind bigotry.
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        • -1
          Posted by  $  11 months ago
          Hiraghm, it is not my comment, just a quote from scatcatpdx that I used to suggest why he does not like "Firefly." We get a surprising number of religionists here. The best way to work this process is to thread through the posts to see who is commenting on what. The presentation software tracks discussion by a simple hierarchy: this is my reply to your reply.

          If you click someone's name, you can see their introduction page with a dropdown for Submissions and Comments. It is a pretty good way to get to know what someone is about.

          For all of that, though, welcome to the Gulch.
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          • Posted by  $  Hiraghm 11 months ago
            My apologies; I missed the initial quotation marks and regarded the attribution as a simple tagline.

            Just FYI, I'm not a religionist. I'm an agnostic turned Christian (as I put it, "a shirt-tail Christian").
            I don't believe in religion (as an institution). I do believe in God. I don't require others to believe as I do.
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