Friday, July 18, 2008

Knowledge that isn’t

A reporter, for the South Bend Tribune, wrote a good article. She started with, what she thought was, common knowledge. It is common fiction — items that the public accepts without thinking, as they were set up to do so, by effective programming. For those who study common subjects with a degree of rigor and a desire for veracity and knowledge, it does not pass inspection.

The initial sentence that falls, and fails, under scrutiny:
“In 1517, Martin Luther split Christianity in two and sparked the Protestant Reformation when he posted his 95 Theses that challenged teachings of the Roman Catholic Church on the door of Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany.”
The first error corrected — there was no posting on any door. This is a story, posed some time removed from the event, to drive in a point of view, that at best is a sentimental fiction, and at worst clever, black, propaganda. It is less historically accurate, than the fairy tale, that, all people before Columbus, believed the earth was flat.

The second error corrected — the term ‘Roman Catholic Church’ is misleading. There is only the Catholic Church. There are Latin rite Catholics. The word,‘roman’, used this way suggests that there are other catholics and other catholicisms. There are not. Catholicism is one and universal. Certain anglicans are fond to make this distinction vis-à-vis ‘Anglo-Catholics’, whom are protestants, whom in many ways, have an attachment for catholicism.

The third error corrected — christianity has always had divisions. The trunk line, the standard, was catholicism, and it was split in 1054 between a latin west and a greek east. These two divisions are both catholic and orthodox, but the west is usually termed ‘Catholic’ and the east ‘orthodox’.

I would hope, that, this does not seem arcane and pedantic and partisan. It is, as best as can be, historically accurate. So many other similarly believed statements, that are said without thinking, are likewise flawed. They are a priori creations, that were, meant to start an argument on a certain ground. In this battle of words, the one side, has won the definition of terms, before the contest has begun, and they will protest if these terms are not used in their manner.

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