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In the Modernist Heresy page I described the breakup of philosophy, or the search for truth, into the separate major fields of theological science and material science. This truly major modification in Western thinking happened quite suddenly, speaking in purely historical terms. From the Renaissance / Reformation period through the eighteenth century Enlightenment, with its new emphasis on Rationalism and Empiricism, the split was made permanent, and the new "scientists," who concerned themselves only with matter, were (and still are) increasingly becoming the darlings of the public.
Every new scientific discovery reinforced the notion that all important future human knowledge would eventually come from that sphere, thanks to the scientific method and the rigid discipline of the practitioners. And, of course, when the scientific method is indeed applied, important new discoveries may be expected to be made. However, as shown in multiple pages within this site, the scientific method is quite frequently not applied at all, and unsubstantiated hypotheses are elevated to the level of scientific theories, and made into axiomatic well known facts by simple acclamation of non-critical "scientific" peers.
But other pages in this site address the non-scientific nature of much of modern science today. What I'm talking about here is what appears to be the adoption, by theologians, of the empirical, natural, scientific method for use in studying what has to be the most paranormal human language document in existence: the Holy Bible. And when the "scientists" doing this examination are consecrated and/or ordained ministers of the Christian faith, then, the skeptical, disbelieving, objective, neutral, scientific beginning point of the project should raise some eyebrows, to say the least.
I was only vaguely aware of this thing called historical-criticism before I took any courses at the Athenaeum of Ohio, just about all of which were affected in some way by the approach and the interpretation. You can see many of these courses of study under the various Cafeteria Catholic navigation buttons at the left. Through these classes I encountered non-scientists play-acting at being scientists, and tossing around scientific-sounding terms like empirical evidence without even knowing what they were talking about.
Now, as I've said in the Thinking Catholic page (and elsewhere) in this site, objective reality for the theologian is not the same as objective reality for the material scientist. We all recognize, or should, the fact that objective truth is completely independent of the human mind. Whether we believe it or not, no matter what we do, it still remains objective truth. Subjective truth is what you think is true, or what you feel is true. But objective truth doesn't care what you think or how you feel; it remains unchanged objective truth, no matter what you do.
On the theological side of the street, particularly for Catholics, unchanging, everlasting objective truth comes to us out of the Deposit of Faith, a major if not central part of which is - Holy Scripture. All of which is considered to be inspired by God, and written by inspired men. Now this entire Deposit of Faith, which includes all of Scripture, is the objective foundation on which we build our ethos, which is the basis of our morality, and the only non-empirical limiting factor guiding us in properly doing our critical thinking.
On the purely scientific side of the street, for the pure materialist, the only unchanging objective truth is of a strictly material nature, proven empirically beyond any doubt by experiment and observation, with complete peer review, and falsified by no one. The pure materialist, if there is such a thing, has no guiding ethos, for he has no objective basis for an ethos. He may have certain political or religious leanings, but in the rejection of the super-natural, he has no fixed moral ethos.
From what I've seen, in commentaries, text books, lectures and class material, the chief practitioners of the historical-critical method, which pretends to be very scientific, are primarily clergy, or at least believers of some sort. But, no matter who does the research using the method, the bottom line is, all they are doing is literary criticism, pure and simple, done on literature that is thousands of years old. Which, of course, cannot possibly be as accurate as literary criticism of work written today. And that cannot be done other than subjectively, because is strictly and exclusively the output of someone's mind, judging what someone else wrote.
We can look at the archaeology of the period, the cultural norms, the linguistics; we can look at the material written on where it still exists, whether parchment, skins, copper, stone or whatever; we can look at other literature of the period, where it exists; but when you boil it all down, you're looking at the words that someone wrote a long time ago, and making some sort of judgment about them. It's literary criticism, nothing more and nothing less, and there can be nothing empirical and nothing objective about that judgment. It's work that is and can only be purely subjective.
Yet we see axioms and givens in use by the practitioners as if they came out of material, empirical scientific laws. Such as those involving the theories surrounding the sequence in which the synoptic Gospels were written, and every bit of which comes to us out of pure, subjective conjecture. Another word for conjecture is guess. No matter how scientific, no matter how well educated, no matter how much peer review it enjoys, a guess never rises above being a guess.
For example, the personage of Q, who was imagined or theorized into existence to help solve the synoptic problem. There exists in all the universe not one single shred of empirical evidence supporting existence of the person they call Q, or any theoretical document called Q or authored by Q, which is supposed to have made the rounds of the inspired authors, in a proper sequence. Q was dreamed up, guessed at, given broad consensus and peer approval, and is today accepted as if an objective truth. That's how historical criticism works.
So what, you might ask?
Well, it seems that historical-critical scholars, who, you will remember, are primarily theologians, and many Catholics among them, have adopted the material scientists tool, the empirical scientific method, with which to study the paranormal and the super-natural. To do that, they have to put aside their ethos, in order to assume a neutral, objective position on the matter being studied at the moment. In other words, they put their faith aside. And, remember, to do good critical thinking, one must begin the exercise from a position of skepticism in order to properly criticize the argument put forth for criticism.
Which explains why historical-critical scholars seem to have never met a miracle they couldn't question: they have to find a material explanation, or call it into question.
Therefore, the parting of the Red Sea becomes a wading exercise in the Sea of Reeds. The Virgin Birth becomes invented or developed theology as the authors consult with and copy from each other, and from Q.
So, today, respected theologians, ordained priests among them, have no problem at all with softening the teaching surrounding events and miracles that are even articles of the Creed itself. And still call themselves believing Christians. I witnessed this sort of thing, first hand, at the Athenaeum of Ohio's Ding Dong School of Scripture study.
May God protect us from the experts.
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LPMP Cafeteria Catholic Pages.
In the Cincinnati Archdiocese, the Athenaeum Of Ohio's LPMP (Lay Pastoral Ministry Program) consistently taught a do-it-yourself - let-your-conscience-be-your-guide Catholicism to future Lay Catholic Pastoral Ministers. Just think about that term for a moment. What have laymen to do with Pastoral Ministry in the Catholic Church? This was an Alinsky-Lite program of evil disinformation aimed at weakening Church authority and loosening Church doctrine in the minds of Catholic laymen.
Do our Catholic bishops promote and teach Roman Catholicism, or something less?
Cafeteria Catholicism, i.e., Pick-And-Choose Catholicism, is rampant in America, thanks to many American Catholic bishops.
(Cafeteria Catholicism 101)
My "Education" at the Athenaeum Of Ohio LPMP (Lay Pastoral Minstry Program).
The Athenaeum Of Ohio LPMP program was the required pre-requisite for entry into the Deaconate program in Archbishop Daniel E. Pylarczyk's Cincinnati Archdiocese.
(Cafeteria Catholic 1)
The hidden dissident agenda in the Athenaeum of Ohio LPMP teaching.
The overriding dissident agenda of Liberal Catholicism appeared sometimes mostly in teaching material, sometimes in teachers themselves, sometimes in both.
(Cafeteria Catholic 2)
A better name for the LPMP's Formation for Discipleship class: Catholic Dissent.
The Athenaeum of Ohio LPMP course called Formation for Discipleship was one big long exercise in Catholic dissent, pure and simple.
(Cafeteria Catholic 3)
Moral Theology, Cincinnati Archdiocese style: This ain't your daddy's religion. Christian Ethics is the title of the course in the Athenaeum of Ohio LPMP course on Catholic Moral Theology.
(Cafeteria Catholic 4)
Athenaeum of Ohio LPMP Christology Course: NOT about the Christ Who Rose Again.
This theoretically Catholic Christology course teaches about a Christ Who didn't know who he was, didn't necessarily rise again after death, but Who "teaches us valuable lessons" nonetheless.
(Cafeteria Catholic 5)
Athenaeum courses consistently taught that the early Church condoned slavery.
This teaching is clearly false. Yet the Athenaeum of Ohio LPMP program, in multiple courses, officially taught that the Church "changed" its teaching on slavery.
The "Enlightened" birthing of Historical-Critical Scripture analysis.
Historical Criticism of the most paranormal literature ever produced calls into question the "enlightenment" of the enlightened.
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