Thisby Thestoop and the Black Mountain

It’s fair to say that I read a good number of books children’s books. Having kids of my own, I like to pilfer their shelves from time to time. In our house, we like to stock “the classics” as a sort of quality guarantee. Since children’s books became a genre there have been writers who have tried to cash in on the children’s market as a way to make a quick buck with little effort. Reading “the classics” means that you get the best books from every era without having to wade through the formulaic twaddle, most of which has mercifully been forgotten over the years.
It’s a different story with modern children’s books. Picking up a new children’s book means taking a chance on wasting your time, and the modern children’s book publishing machine loves tried and true formulas. After the success of Harry Potter we got books about schools for magical/mythological/specially talented kids who are sorted into groups based on their personalities. After The Hunger Games took off, we’ve have had m…


After totally misunderstanding the mission of Christ by saying that Christ attempted to separate religion from the civil realm and make it totally spiritual, Rousseau lays out the foundations for what he thinks the civil religion ought to look like. See if you find any similarities with our modern state.

The dogmas of civil religion must be simple and few in number, expressed precisely and without explanations or commentaries...As for the negative dogmas, I would limit them to a single one: no intolerance. Intolerance is something which belongs to the religions we have rejected...Wherever theological intolerance is admitted, it is bound to have some civil consequences...Now that there is not, and can no longer be, and exclusive national religion, all religions which themselves tolerate others must be tolerated, provided only that their dogmas contain nothing contrary to the duties of the citizen. But anyone who dares to say 'Outside the church there is no salvation' should be expelled from the state...

For those of you keeping track, here is a rundown of his argument:

1) No Intolerance
which can be expressed:

1) All religions must be tolerated.

2) Religions which contain dogmas contrary to the duties of the citizen must not be tolerated.

3) Religions which do not tolerate other religions must not be tolerated.

Let's make this even simpler by condensing this "difficult" argument into two simple propositions.

1) All religions must be tolerated.
2) Some religions must not be tolerated.


1) All R is T.
2) Some R is not T.

Nice going Rousseau.

If you want to create a totally tolerant society, then all religions must be tolerated. Including tribal religions which perform human sacrifice or cannibalize their enemies. Including religions whose adherents wish to strap bombs on their chests and wander into crowded public places.

If you don't want your society to tolerate these sorts of things, then your first principle can't be "no intolerance." You also can't say "no intolerance" and on that basis refuse to tolerate religions that are intolerant of others. The result is a blatant self-contradiction. No, for any society, there must be standards to judge which religions are to be tolerated and which are not. There is no neutrality anywhere. Everyone has a standard, and everyone is tolerant or intolerant of others based on their standard. The only question is, "Whose standard should we use?"

For Christians, the answer must be the same as that of Abraham Kuyper:
Oh, no single piece of our mental world is to be hermetically sealed off from the rest, and there is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry: 'Mine!'