Friday, June 29, 2007


Uncommon Sense

Here's just a passing thought from Walter Isaacson's biography, Benjamin Franklin: An American Life.
Franklin's reputation has suffered, off and on, in ages that value passion for profound ideals and denigrate compromise in aid of practical results and respect for views other than your own. To the charge that Franklin's main contribution to religious debate was a "good-natured tolerance," Isaacson notes:

Well, perhaps so, but the concept of good-natured religious tolerance was in fact no small advance for civilization in the eighteenth century. It was one of the greatest contributions to arise out of the Enlightenment, more indispensable than that of the most profound theologies of the era.

... Or, for that matter, than of the most profound anti-theologies of this era.

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