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October 17, 2006



Read the book. I didn't really think he had much to say- more of an echo than a voice.


Did you think he came across as "too mean?"


I've been thinking about reviewing this book alongside, say, Michael Walzer's Castle Lectures, On Tolerance. Quite frankly, I don't think Dobson has the slightest historical or philosophical clue about which he's writing. (For example, that the origins of modern toleration lie with Protestant Arminianism, of John Locke, Pierre Bayle, Le Clerc, Limborch.) I glanced at the book and actually laughed out loud it was so ridiculous. The sad part is, it's being promoted as the latest weapon in the culture wars.

From the preface: "Here I want only to suggest what it is that toleration sustains. It sustains life itself, because persecution is often to the death, and it also sustains common lives, the different communities in which we live. Toleration makes difference possible; difference makes toleration necessary." (On Toleration, p. xi-xii.)


I didn't think about that too much, honestly. Someone recommended it as a book to walk older students through and, after reading it I found I was looking for a different sort of substance.


After thinking more abuot the book, I can see how Dobson may have come across as mean spirited. I probably do that as well sometimes. Thanks for the question.


I have come across as mean-spirited, too. I don't like it when people, including myself, think they can take that kind of attitude just because they think the cause is really important.

I've experienced several broken relationships that I attribute to a certain fundamentalistic attitude I used to have. Those experiences have taught me to be more tolerant. I think that knowing you are right about something is one thing. Sacrificing a relationship over it is another.

Christian Cable

I think you have reached the heart of the issue Bill and perhaps a point of balance. Tolerance does not mean agreeing with someone, but it does mean loving them through it.

I know that the doctrine of election versus freewill is difficult. If not approached with humility and a broken heart, it can be divisive. Should I break fellowship because someone takes the view I believe incorrect? No, and yes - - I probably have before to my shame.

Perhaps we should ask the question though that when it comes to the body of Christ, are there non-negotiables? If someone challenges the diety of Christ and does not respond to gentle correction, then what is our Christ-like action? If that person names Christ, yet suggests that Buddha found a way to God outside of Christ, do we tolerate the teaching? The person - - yes, but the teaching? And if they lead others astray, what exactly does the Bible say about false teachers?

What are my non-negotiables of Christian faith? I'll post on it soon.



I think you are right in saying that there are non-negotiables. BUT (and you're probably going to want to "kill" me for saying this!) those non-negotiables can't necessarily be set in stone. In other words, we have to be open to the leading of the Holy Spirit, combined with what we already know and have experienced, to treat every situation as it comes.

I also think we have to be careful about the way we define "non-negotiable." In affirming the deity of Christ, to use your example, we have to be open to growing in our understanding of what, exactly, that means.

Christian Cable

Mild frustration yes - - provoked to homicide - - no. I will work on carefully defining non-negotiable. I aim to keep the list short. I suppose another way to put it is, "what defines a Christian?"


lol...I was just saying we always have to be open to instruction, even about things we already "know" to be true.


I know this is going to sound confusing, but you guys both sound right.. But then what is "right"? ;)


Be egalitarian regarding persons.
Be elitist regarding ideas.

In other words...
we treat people as having value, we "love our neighbors as ourselves" but that does not mean that all ideas should be equally valued. Some ideas are "stupid" and we should be free to say so, to disagree with the idea and debate it but that does not diminish the value of the person who holds those ideas.

It is possible to be wrong. (trust me, I've proven it) (grin)

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