More importantly, is this whole issue relevent today. If the purpose of some responses in this thread is to establish that The Church promotes censorship or ignorance, then those responses are just arguments for the sake of arguments. I’ve read dozens of arguments against all religion in general by resorting to ancient history out of context.
My point is that, I’ve been a Catholic for all 50 years of my life, and I have never been discouranged from learning or reading anything. I will say this much, I have observed that many do in fact have a hard time interpreting the Bible correctly because they tend to do so literally, lacking all historical context. Context means everything.
It seems we can argue about all sorts of things and completely miss the point, when it comes to religion and the average person. Often, blanket statements are made from the perspective of a particular writer. Someone says, “I believe this, or I believe that, because I’ve done this or that research, and I’m a logical and well studied man. I’m rational and demand rigor!”. Then they go and extrapolate thier beliefs, “standards”, and expectations onto everyone else. To do so is to be completely ignorant of people. The average person is mostly concerned with mere survival. Thier minds are almost entirely consumed with the issues that most emmediately affect them, like thier children, spouse, or work. Most people are horrible at managing thier own finances.
I guess another point that I’m making is that people do what they are capable of doing, including how they take in thier religion and faith. Most aren’t interested in argueing the “finer” points of history, theology, or whatever one might choose to argue about. Usually those who do choose to argue about these things aren’t very objective, so truth is rarely part of the goal. This is partly why so many people get turned off about talking about religion. There are too many amateurs who think they know something absolutely. These arguments can go on endlessly, lacking any real expert insights and facts.
So in closing, l have found that such arguments are almost always a waste of time and energy, and never serve any real useful purpose. They do nothing for the soul, or help bring us closer to God. They are, at best, a distraction, and at worse, devisive and pointless. There’s always going to be someone who knows more than some of us. The question is, with what spirit do they teach us? Is their intent good? Is there something relevent or value added that they want to leave us with?
Peace, grace, and love!