There's a certain word which my ideological opponents often use in their criticisms of my work. Here are some examples from some heated comments to the previous posts:
Could it be that the Gedolim realized that your agenda was to show that Chazal make mistakes and hence banned your books?
...[you have] an agenda to promote one approach and dismiss/invalidate all the others.
...Natan Slifkin and his Bible Critisism agenda...
i now stand in awe in front of the Gedolei Torah who somehow perceived that we are talking about someone with an agenda.
What exactly is an "agenda"? The definition of an "agenda" is an underlying ideological mission. There are two possible reasons why having an agenda could be a bad thing. One is that the underlying ideological mission could itself be bad. The other is that the mission itself is concealed and therefore devious.
The second possibility is certainly not the case. In the introduction to Mysterious Creatures (which, admittedly, those who banned the book did not read), I was very explicit about my ideological mission. I noted that when students are bothered by conflicts between Chazal and science, teachers usually only teach conservative approaches. I noted that this often causes severe disillusionment, and that it is therefore important for people to be aware of the approach of Rambam, Rav Hirsch and others to these issues. And I added that although my book describes and applies many different approaches to these topics, in several cases I emphasized the approach of Rambam and co., since these explanations are the least widely known and understood, and it is therefore appropriate to give them a fuller presentation.
So, there was no deviousness involved. But what about the first possibility - that the ideological mission is itself bad? I don't see how that could possibly be the case, unless you think that Rambam, Rav Hirsch and co. had a seriously perverted view of Chazal. The mission is to promote an approach to Torah which makes sense. Some people choose to promote Maharal's approach, and nobody objects. Others choose to promote the Nishtaneh Hateva approach, and nobody objects. Why should it be evil to promote the approach of Rambam, Rav Hirsch and co.?
The greatest irony is when people accuse me of "promoting one approach and dismissing/invalidating all the others" - as though the Gedolim were the open-minded ones who want to give every approach a fair hearing, whereas I am the narrow-minded one! I've seen this claim a few times, and it always makes me laugh. In my books, I discuss every approach, and note that all of them have a strong history of great Torah scholars behind them. My opponents, on the other hand, claim that the approach of Rambam, Rav Hirsch and many other Torah scholars is heretical and/or is forbidden to be taught! And Rav Moshe Shapiro in particular only ever gives credence to the Maharal's approach, and denies the legitimacy and historicity of any other approach. If anyone is guilty of having an "agenda" to dismiss and invalidate the approach of great Torah scholars, it is certainly my opponents rather than me.
In ideological battles, words are often wielded in nefarious ways. It's important to remember that what one person calls "an agenda" is what another person calls "a worthy mission." Describing my books as having "an agenda" is misleading; you might as well say the same about the Gedolim. Let's stick to discussing the real issues, rather than using inappropriate terminology which clouds the discussion.
(Don't forget that this Sunday are my two lectures at the Bridge Shul in Washington Heights - details on this flyer. They are planned to take place despite the weather forecast - if there is any change, I will post it here. If anyone can give me a ride after the lectures to Queens or (preferably) Long Island, I would greatly appreciate it.)