Tolerance: A Smug,
Superior Attitude?
Bob Webster

Graphic Rule

From: "Positive Atheism" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
To: "Bob Webster"
Subject: Re: Positive_Atheism_Letters_Section
Date: Friday, March 16, 2001 4:33 PM

This idea dates back at least to Paine, who didn't have all that many original ideas but was a masterful organizer and compiler of extant ideas, with an eye for discerning the most ethical and ideological among a range of choices.

Toleration is not the opposite of intolerance but the counterfeit of it. Both are despotisms: the one assumes to itself the right of withholding liberty of conscience, the other of granting it.
     -- Thomas Paine, The Rights of Man

This rejection of tolerance as a counterfeit of intolerance led to the concept of Liberty as it was understood in the late eighteenth century, during the crafting of American government. To seek out the history of this crucial point would make an exciting study.

Cliff Walker
"Positive Atheism" Magazine
Five years of service to
     people with no reason to believe

Graphic Rule

Graphic Rule

From: "Positive Atheism" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
To: "Bob Webster"
Subject: Re: Positive_Atheism_Letters_Section
Date: Friday, March 16, 2001 4:59 PM

I'll buy that, because it is highly unlikely that you'd have even heard about Thomas Paine in grade school or high school. He wrote a book that criticizes the Bible, you know, and thus his rightful place in the telling of America's history has been stripped from him -- and the rest of us as well.

Cliff Walker
"Positive Atheism" Magazine
Five years of service to
     people with no reason to believe

Graphic Rule

Graphic Rule

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