JMS on Usenet


Subject: Re: Is JMS a bit Muslim?
Date: Sun, 30 Jan 2005 00:44:20 +0000 (UTC)
From: (Jms at B5)

>Therefore, the question is, has JMS been studying Islamic Theology?

I have made it a point to read the holy books and as much as possible of the
supporting texts of pretty much every major religion on the planet.  

Consequently, I've read nearly all of the Koran (though not all of it, I must
confess), the Bible end to end (twice, which given Deuteronomy and Numbers is
saying something), all of the Bhagavad-Gita, a truckload of books on Zen (which
is in some ways closest to my way of thinking), the Egyptian Book of the Dead,
the Dead Sea Scrolls, sections of the Talmud and the Apocrypha, several books
on tribal African, Native American and Aborigine beliefs, some but not all of
the Hindu vedas (mainly samhita and upanishat).

I've also read truckloads of Greek and Roman mythology (which may go a ways
toward explaining the names of so many of the ships in B5) and Greek and Roman
philosophy, which is a very different thing, with the former oriented toward
figuring out the whims of the gods, and the latter about figuring out how the
world works.  I have always enjoyed Socrates, Aristotle, and Plato, but I will
confess to having a soft spot for Zeno, because he was *such* a pain in the
ass.  (I actually managed to plow through the Enneads by Plotinus, which is a
bit dry, but interesting reading.)  And I would commend The Meditations of
Marcus Aurelius to just about anyone.

Philosophically, I've always been a bit of a mutt, frankly, in part because I'm
one of those people who can see five sides to any two-sided argument.  And
after a while, you begin to realize that most of these books are about dietary
habits, social conduct, burial practices, whose truth can beat up somebody
else's truth, hierarchical constructs, who gives orders to whom, why, and what
penalty is attached to disobedience.

So I've always tried to extract from all of them those elements that seemed
honest to me.  What matters to me is simplicity of truth, humility, practical
wisdom and a sense of humor, which is why there's a lot I like in Zen, there's
so much humor in it, even a laughing buddha.

I don't, however, subscribe to any of them wholecloth.

So no, I'm not a Muslim.  I go the Mahatma Gandhi route...I am none of those
things, and all of those things.

> JMS took the Arabic
>word, Minbar and used it to name a race of noble, pious and virtuous beings.

It's the word for a pulpit in a mosque, which I've noted elsewhere before.

It is not, however, an endorsement of any one group.  It just seemed
appropriate, as with naming the Earth Alliance ships after classical
mythological figures.


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