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Catholic Magisterium Resolves the Problem of "Pervasive Interpretive Pluralism"?
on September 17, 2016
Having read other works by the author, Christian Smith, I highly respect his powerful intellect and mastery of written English. Smith is a sociologist of the highest rank.
I can empathize with the emotional pains related to Smith's epistemic* struggles and journey, but readers need to be aware, this book is polemic in nature and the author is not hesitant to exaggerate at times or employ caricatures.
Based on my own experience of being raised within American Catholicism**, "pervasive interpretive pluralism" (PIP) is NOT exclusive to Protestant Evangelicalism, in spite of all the pervasive Catholic gloating. So-called "authoritative" interpretations of Scripture, by the Roman Magisterium, are really only cathartic for the lesser educated. Catholicism has simply done a good job of hiding it's own internal problems of PIP from the public.
Strangely, or maybe not, Smith overlooks the one point on which Evangelicals are commonly united and identify--the centrality of the biblical "New Birth." As I finish this book, I'll additional thoughts to this review.
* related to the philosophic sub-category of epistemology, which is the study of knowledge: what we know, how we know it, and how we can have certainty of anything.
** became a "born-again" Christian on October 9th, 1969.