A slippery slope or a cliff?

Stan’s piece on slippery slopes reminded me of the distinction between a slippery slope and a cliff.

When debating the oxymoronic “same sex marriage” (SSM) topic one of the typical secular arguments I use is that the same arguments could be used to justify polygamy, incestuous relationships, bestiality, etc.  The reason is that the pro-SSM arguments are typically that the parties are loving and committed and that the government should therefore recognize and affirm these relationships – even though by nature and design they don’t produce the next generation and they can never provide a mother and father to a child.

The other side often responds that these are “slippery slope” arguments, defined as:

A slippery slope fallacy is an argument that says adopting one policy or taking one action will lead to a series of other policies or actions also being taken, without showing a causal connection between the advocated policy and the consequent policies. A popular example of the slippery slope fallacy is, “If we legalize marijuana, the next thing you know we’ll legalize heroin, LSD, and crack cocaine.” This slippery slope is a form of non sequitur, because no reason has been provided for why legalization of one thing leads to legalization of another. Tobacco and alcohol are currently legal, and yet other drugs have somehow remained illegal.

However, as the link notes, the slippery slope argument is not always a fallacy.  In the case of SSM, it is clear from the reasoning that it would apply to these other cases.  That is why I consider it a cliff instead of a slope.  Once SSM is legislated the same reasoning is immediately available to other groups.

The same thing occurs with the inevitability of SSM impacting religious freedoms and the child abuse of teaching 5 yr. olds how “natural” LGBTQX behavior is.

What is ironic is that the SSM proponents claim (or is it feign?) revulsion at polygamy, incestuous marriages, bestiality, and necrophilia.  Yet who are they to pull up the moral drawbridge?  Until recently almost all of society viewed GLBT behavior as immoral, and many still do.  Why is the pro-SSM crowd so judgmental of other preferences and “orientations?”  I would think that polygamists would have a much stronger case for governmental recognition and affirmation than gays, because at least they can provide a mother and a father to a child.

Here’s an overview of same-sex unions.

14 thoughts on “A slippery slope or a cliff?”

  1. You hit the nail on the head with their faux moral standards. Most repel at the idea of polygamy or incestuous marriages, etc, yet they have no moral standing on which to base their revulsion. The scary ones are those who also see nothing wrong with the other unions as long as they are mutually consented – and I’ve encountered those types! Ironic that those types say bestiality and necrophilia are wrong because there is no consent – again making a moral requirement!

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  2. The interesting thing is they’re playing the same game. We say, “No, marriage is defined as ‘the union of a man and a woman’,” and they say, “Bigot! You’re just trying to keep us from marriage equity!” But the fact is that we are both in the business of defining marriage; they’re simply defining it differently than we are. We would say “man and woman” and they would say “either gender … but not polygamy or incest or …” The discussion, then, is not the moral issue, but he definition. But they keep dodging that discussion and simply lean on “equity”. Again, moral double standards. “What we want marriage to mean is moral; what you want it to mean is not.”

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    1. Yes, that is their first ploy: Cheating by begging the question, or assuming what they should be proving. The debate, of course, is whether same-sex unions could qualify as “marriage” and warrant a re-definition of the word. But they start off by saying they are equal instead of proving it.

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  3. You stated in your post above, “When debating the oxymoronic same sex marriage topic one of the typical secular arguments I use is that the same arguments could be used to justify polygamy, incestuous relationships, bestiality, etc.”

    But hasn’t the church already weathered centuries of “slippery slope” arguments over Scripture in controversies – from inclusion of the gentiles to issues of slavery, interracial marriage, integration, etc.? They had their (disputed) Bible verses for slavery, against integration, interracial marriage, extending the right to vote to women, the list goes on and on. And they positioned themselves then as they do now: proud intolerance of the “unnatural” and “unbiblical.” We must not forget that while it may seem evident to us that others did terrible things in the past, it isn’t always so easy to see that we ourselves may be doing terrible things today.

    Nearly every person who acknowledges an aversion to homosexuality does so on the basis of what he or she believes the Bible has to say. In their mind, there is no doubt whatsoever about what the Bible says and what the Bible means. Their general argument goes something like this: Homosexuality is an abomination and the homosexual is a sinner. Homosexuality is condemned in both the Old and New Testaments. Therefore, if we are to be faithful to the clear teachings of Scripture we too must condemn homosexuality. Needless to say, this premise is being widely debated among evangelicals today and seriously challenged by biblical scholars, theologians and religious leaders everywhere.

    It rarely occurs to any of us that our reading of Scripture is profoundly colored by our own cultural context and worldview. Clearly, throughout church history most Christians who have used the Bible to condemn other Christians believed they were acting in good faith. However, history has revealed that what many were defending was their presumption of what the Bible teaches, not the truth of Scripture.

    Since I happen to speak and write on this very topic, I thought you might find some of these posts of particular relevance and interest.

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    1. But hasn’t the church already weathered centuries of “slippery slope” arguments over Scripture in controversies. . . We must not forget that while it may seem evident to us that others did terrible things in the past, it isn’t always so easy to see that we ourselves may be doing terrible things today.

      Great point, Alex. Using that logic I suppose we’ll inevitably realize that Jesus was being sarcastic when He said to hate your enemies. Because there is nothing in the Bible that is plain, right?

      The “argument that people sometimes go the Bible wrong in the past, or used it in self-serving ways, therefore they must be wrong on LGBTQ issues” is meaningless.

      100% of the verses addressing homosexual behavior denounce it as sin in the clearest and strongest possible terms.
      100% of the verses referring to God’s ideal for marriage involve one man and one woman.
      100% of the verses referencing parenting involve moms and dads with unique roles (or at least a set of male and female parents guiding the children).
      0% of 31,173 Bible verses refer to homosexual behavior in a positive or even benign way or even hint at the acceptability of homosexual unions.

      Nearly every person who acknowledges an aversion to homosexuality does so on the basis of what he or she believes the Bible has to say.

      But of course! All Islamic countries, China, the former Soviet Union and so many other atheistic countries base their views on the Bible . . . oh, wait, that doesn’t make sense at all, does it? Do you really think that qualifies as an argument for your position?

      In their mind, there is no doubt whatsoever about what the Bible says and what the Bible means.

      So do you apply the same logic to the Lefties and their lack of doubt about how the Bible says gay sex is OK with God? Or how about their certainty that God wants us to vote to have Caesar take from neighbor A by force to give to neighbor B? Something tells me that your skepticism starts and ends with sexual perversions.

      Their general argument goes something like this: Homosexuality is an abomination and the homosexual is a sinner. Homosexuality is condemned in both the Old and New Testaments. Therefore, if we are to be faithful to the clear teachings of Scripture we too must condemn homosexuality.

      Yep.

      Needless to say, this premise is being widely debated among evangelicals today and seriously challenged by biblical scholars, theologians and religious leaders everywhere.

      Oh, since some people debate it (mostly false teachers who deny a whole host of essentials) so it must be wrong? I’m not buying it.

      It rarely occurs to any of us that our reading of Scripture is profoundly colored by our own cultural context and worldview. Clearly, throughout church history most Christians who have used the Bible to condemn other Christians believed they were acting in good faith. However, history has revealed that what many were defending was their presumption of what the Bible teaches, not the truth of Scripture.

      Yes, because passages like Romans 1 are so vague. Oh, wait, they aren’t vague at all. They are bullet-proof.

      Since I happen to speak and write on this very topic, I thought you might find some of these posts of particular relevance and interest.

      Actually, I don’t care. I’ve refuted lots of pro-gay theology here, and I don’t feed trolls.

      http://4simpsons.wordpress.com/2008/09/17/endless-errors-from-soulforce/

      Problems with pro-gay theology http://tinyurl.com/5sgoqvv

      Responding to Pro-Gay Theology http://www.narth.com/docs/dallas.html

      I pray that while you are busy twisting scripture to make a god in your own image that the real God opens your eyes to the truth. Eternity is a mighty long time to pay for rebelling against the one true God and his created order.

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  4. I know where you’re coming from as I too held your same position for many years. But like many other evangelicals today, as well as the biblical scholars, theologians and religious leaders who have changed their mind on this issue, I too discovered that when examined closely and in their historical contexts, the standard canonical interpretations of the few passages that generally get appealed to in this debate do not survive close scrutiny. I did not arrive at this conclusion overnight and certainly do not expect anyone else to either.

    But I submit that the Bible not only does the Bible not oppose what we know as homosexuality, but also does not even recognize its existence. There was no such thing as “homosexuality” and “heterosexuality” per se. Those categories were not even on the radar screen — so they were never what was being discussed. To insist otherwise is to squirt our later-day prejudices into the biblical text, wearing the fig leaf of biblical authority.

    [trolling deleted]

    I would welcome your thoughts on these. We all have things to learn and we all have things to unlearn.

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    1. I know where you’re coming from as I too held your same position for many years.

      I’m not sure I follow. Does that mean we’ll all inevitably switch positions? Joe Dallas switched from pro-gay to the biblical view, so according to your reasoning he must also be right — http://www.narth.com/docs/dallas.html

      But like many other evangelicals today, as well as the biblical scholars, theologians and religious leaders who have changed their mind on this issue, I too discovered that when examined closely and in their historical contexts, the standard canonical interpretations of the few passages that generally get appealed to in this debate do not survive close scrutiny. I did not arrive at this conclusion overnight and certainly do not expect anyone else to either.

      But unlike those false teachers, I did the same study and realized they all meant what the church originally thought they meant:

      100% of the verses addressing homosexual behavior denounce it as sin in the clearest and strongest possible terms.
      100% of the verses referring to God’s ideal for marriage involve one man and one woman.
      100% of the verses referencing parenting involve moms and dads with unique roles (or at least a set of male and female parents guiding the children).
      0% of 31,173 Bible verses refer to homosexual behavior in a positive or even benign way or even hint at the acceptability of homosexual unions.

      Oh, and you cheat by referring to someone like Tony Campolo as one of your “many evangelicals.” He is a false teacher.

      But I submit that the Bible not only does the Bible not oppose what we know as homosexuality, but also does not even recognize its existence.

      Thanks for tipping your hand. The truth is that the God of the universe knew exactly what it was: for men to lie with men as they would lie with women, for people to abandon their natural sexual functions, and so on.

      There was no such thing as “homosexuality” and “heterosexuality” per se. Those categories were not even on the radar screen — so they were never what was being discussed. To insist otherwise is to squirt our later-day prejudices into the biblical text, wearing the fig leaf of biblical authority.

      Right, so they are new creations that God never addressed? Either way you lose: They are still perversions of what the Bible shows as the ideal. “Same-sex marriage” is an oxymoron whether you use the Bible or not.

      [trolling deleted]

      I would welcome your thoughts on these. We all have things to learn and we all have things to unlearn.

      You have many things to unlearn, and I sincerely hope you do so while there is still time. It is sad that you worship sexual perversions over Jesus.

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    2. the standard canonical interpretations of the few passages that generally get appealed to in this debate

      You are wrong on those “few” passages, but also wrong in only appealing to your false interpretations of them. You also ignore all the verses pointing to God’s ideal for marriage as well as all those pointing to his guidelines for parenting. Oh, and you ignore natural law and common sense (even Darwinists should see the errors of homosexuality).

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  5. AH,

    There is a non-Christian view about homosexuality also – that it is a perversion of human biology. And there is lots of medical and psychological damage caused by it. It abuses the human body. See, it has nothing to do with the Bible and this is the way I saw it for years before I became a Christian, so there was no Christian bias about it.

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  6. Reminds me of the ‘oxymoronic’ argument against slavery. The bible is clearly in support without a single injunction against it, yet all these theistic apologists refuse to treat the issue with the respect it deserves and insert their own arrogant, relativistic morality in place of god’s word. And these same false teachers pretend they and not the truly faithful biblical literalists have god on their side.

    For shame, people. For shame.

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    1. Exactly! Just as people changed the meaning of the term of slavery, they are trying to change the definition of marriage as well. They are perverting the meaning of something to satisfy their sinful desires.

      Thanks for the brilliant illustration.

      / sarcasm

      I realize that the slavery bit is one of the skeptics’ favorites from the Big Book O’ Atheist Sound Bites, but for any adults who care about the topic they can click the link in the Apologetics section to the right, or see Stan’s post I recently linked to, or any other of a number of clear and accurate explanations of the difference of slavery in the Bible (where, among other things, stealing people was a capital offense) and the later slave trade. Just like the false teachers, the skeptics rely on biblical ignorance to advance their cause.

      From http://birdsoftheair.blogspot.com/2011/09/more-on-biblical-slavery.html:

      It is important to note, as I have multiple times, that biblical slavery is not the same thing as modern slavery. Consider this. Modern slavery has basically been 1) involuntary 2) for the economic advantage of the elite, 3) typically included mistreatment, 4) where slaves lived separately from their owners, 5) were considered property (and could be disposed of as with any property), 6) could not own property, and 7) were slaves forever.

      Old Testament slavery was different. It was 1) normally voluntary 2) for the purpose of solving a debt problem 3) with strict rules against mistreatment. Typically, 4) slaves lived in the homes of their masters, 5) were not property, 6) could own property and, in fact were given property when released, and 7) were only in the position temporarily. Old Testament slavery wasn’t very much at all like the modern version.

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  7. I think the point you make is an excellent one indeed. If you can see your way clear to get that biblical slavery is not the same thing as modern slavery, why can’t you also apply the exact same principle to this issue? That is what the biblical writers were addressing is something different than what you and I know as “homosexuality” per se? If we could stand Moses and Paul before us (the only two biblical authors who have been attributed as having said anything pertaining to or about homosexuality) and applaud them for their condemnation of homosexuality, they would almost certainly stare at us in blank incomprehension. Why? Because homosexuality per se simply isn’t anything they’d ever been aware of.

    What strikes me here as particularly curious is that if you are so confident of the infallibility of your hermeneutical skills on this issue, why would you not consider reading the few posts I’ve written on this topic and provided you links for, and show me “the error of my ways”. Like you, I have great respect for God’s word. Fact is I recently went back to school and got a second master’s degree from Westminster Theological Seminary. I purposely selected a solid evangelical seminary where I got to sit under some of the best and brightest evangelical professors who have dedicated their lives to the study of God’s Word. I obviously take this stuff quite seriously. I, like many others, have come to conclusion that we were taught about these passages doesn’t hold up to scrutiny when they’re closely examined and I have articulated my position in my blog. You, on the other hand, insist that I am mistaken and am twisting God’s Word. If you are correct and I am wrong, looking at the posts I’ve suggested and indicating exegetically where I am dead wrong — hey, you might, based on your assessment, save a fellow brother from eternity in hell! What have you got to lose?

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    1. Because homosexuality per se simply isn’t anything they’d ever been aware of.

      Again, you tip your hand in denying that the Bible is the word of God — as if the Holy Spirit wasn’t aware of these sins! And of course Paul and Moses were, too. Even if they weren’t, then by your reasoning homosexual behavior would be something “new” and obviously not part of God’s plan.

      If you can see your way clear to get that biblical slavery is not the same thing as modern slavery, why can’t you also apply the exact same principle to this issue?

      You are also shooting yourself in foot. Biblical slavery is different than modern slavery, just as biblical marriage is different that oxymoronic same-sex marriage. The Bible could not be more clear that God’s plan for marriage is one man and one woman.

      As I pointed out when refuting your hopeless argument that people who oppose oxymoronic SSM got their views from the Bible, billions of people can tell you otherwise. The facts are not on your side, yet like the men of Sodom you grope for the door even though blinded.

      I think Moses and Paul would be glad to point out how homosexual behavior involves men behaving as they would with women and abandoning their natural functions. They didn’t use the word homosexual but they described the behavior perfectly — probably so when false teachers like you came along 2,000 years later you’d have no valid arguments against their texts.

      Like you, I have great respect for God’s word. Fact is I recently went back to school and got a second master’s degree from Westminster Theological Seminary.

      Lots of false teachers have seminary degrees. That proves nothing.

      I glanced at your blog, and it has the same lousy reasoning you’ve offered here. I have refuted these things many times and have noted references in my previous comments.

      http://4simpsons.wordpress.com/2008/09/17/endless-errors-from-soulforce/

      Problems with pro-gay theology http://tinyurl.com/5sgoqvv

      Responding to Pro-Gay Theology http://www.narth.com/docs/dallas.html

      hey, you might, based on your assessment, save a fellow brother from eternity in hell! What have you got to lose?

      I have offered plenty here to “save” you, but you are ignoring the life preserver. The sad fact is that you appear to be spiritually dead and an enemy of God. I hope He raises you to life, but I’ve done all I can here. I am commanded not to waste my time further. Please save your keystrokes, because I have nothing else to offer Romans 1 poster children.

      Cheers,
      Neil

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