It’s been a pretty ordinary few weeks in Insanityville. Nothing particularly out of the common way. When I say ordinary, I mean that freakish stories are now so commonplace in Insanityville that those who remain shocked by anything they hear get my sympathy for the trouble they must have to go to in getting all that sand out of their hair and ears.
There was one story that briefly shocked me, but it turned out to be a gross misunderstanding on my part. When the story came into my inbox, the headline said something like, “US Photographer ordered to shoot lesbian.”
“That’s a bit much,” I thought. “Maybe all that the LGBTers have been saying about Christians being full of hate is true after all.”
However, my shock soon abated when I clicked into the full article and found, to my relief, that no one was being ordered to shoot anyone else after all, and that I had only seen the first part of the full headline, which ran as follows: “US Photographer ordered to shoot lesbian ceremony, says Judge.”
“Oh I see,” I thought. “Christian forced by the full force of the law to violate their conscience. Phew. That’s not shocking. That’s just par for the course these days.”
For those of you who are struggling to come to terms with life in Insanityville, let’s just test your power to shock, or not as the case may be. Here are three ordinary stories, two of which are true, the other I have made up. Can you tell which is which?
- One of the most famous and highly regarded broadcasters in the world has just broadcast a program which suggested that monogamy is on its way out and that polyamorous relationships, involving multiple partners, might soon become the norm.1
- A company called TC Systems has just developed a robot which allows men not only to have intercourse with it, but to provide the man with “companionship”.2
- In Glasgow, Scotland, a man was stopped by a security guard from entering female toilets. The security guard is now the subject of a “hate crime” investigation for refusing the man, who is apparently “transgender”, permission to enter the toilet.3
Did you guess? Difficult isn’t it? The answer was the last one. The incident of course happened in Edinburgh rather than Glasgow!
What is interesting about these examples and the US photographer story is that they are all instances of things that we were assured would not happen. Civil partnerships would not lead to Christians having to violate their conscience. Same-sex marriage would not lead to polygamy. Freedom of sexual expression would not eventually lead to people trading real people for sexual companionship with robots or animals or anything else they please. Recognition of transgenderism would not lead to men being able to use women’s restrooms and security guards getting into trouble for refusing them entry.
When I ponder these things, my response is to wonder where humanists and liberals draw the line. What is the point where they begin to say, “you know, I kind of thought that the whole sexual liberation and gender equality things were good ideas, but I wonder if things haven’t begun to go a little too far.”
Part of the problem for the humanists and liberals is that many of them have swallowed the fallacy of the slippery slope fallacy. At every point throughout the movement to a post-Christian society, liberals have assured us that “thus far have we come, and no further shall we go.” And when Christians have opposed them on an issue, saying that it could open the floodgates to something even worse, the liberals have shouted them down and said that this is just the classic uneducated “domino effect” or “slippery slope fallacy”.
It is fairly clear that many who have employed this argument have done so knowing exactly how spurious was the charge, but they used it anyway precisely because it was so effective in shutting the mouths of their opponents and furthering their ultimate agenda. But it also seems to me that there have been a multitude of regular humanists and liberals out there who – to use Lenin’s phrase – have been “useful idiots” for the cause, and have naively swallowed the slippery slope fallacy argument, genuinely believing it to be true.
For the benefit of the second group, let’s just examine the slippery slope fallacy. The argument basically goes like this: to say that legitimising behavior A will automatically lead to behavior B is a basic error of logic. Well it might well be, but for three important considerations:
Firstly, those saying that the slippery slope theory is a fallacy are generally not listening to what their opponents are really saying. Let me give you a couple of examples. I have written here and here that there is effectively no qualitative difference between transgenderism – the idea that you can change your gender because of subjective feelings – and transkindism – the idea that you can change your kind because of subjective feelings. A second example is the argument that if you change the definition of marriage to include two men or two women, then you have no basis to deny three or four people from marrying, or no basis to deny a brother from marrying his sister.
Now notice the arguments here. They aren’t saying that if you legitimise transgenderism, you will get people asking for kind-change operations. They aren’t saying that if you change the definition of marriage you will end up with polygamy or incestuous marriage. It may well be the case that these things will happen, but all the argument is saying is that such things are a possibility because having shifted the definition of gender and marriage, you have no basis for not then shifting the definition of kinds and further redefining marriage to include a number of other configurations.
So although it would indeed be an error of logic to say that transgenderism will lead to transkindism, or that same-sex marriage will lead to polygamous or incestuous marriages, it is not an error of logic to say that these things are at least a possibility.
The second reason the argument is faulty is simply a historical one, and it goes like this: Who are you kidding? Do you really think that the slippery slope has not happened and that we aren’t on it right now? Here we are, decades since the start of the sexual revolution and are you telling me that opening the door to one thing didn’t lead to another?
When divorce laws were first weakened, those who opposed this warned where it would lead, but they were called scaremongers and told that the slippery slope argument is a fallacy. But here we are years down the line, and in most western countries it is harder to get out of an insurance contract than it is to get out of the solemn and binding promise you made. Was this not a slippery slope?
How about abortion? When legalized abortions were first mooted the reasons were generally all about things like preventing backstreet abortions, and when people warned that legalizing it would lead to mass abortion they were again told that they were scaremongering and were derided for their slippery slope argumentation. Yet here we are years down the line, and in most western countries, abortion is a “medical procedure” and the slaughter of millions is accepted by multitudes as normality. Was this not a slippery slope?
The same thing has happened to just about every other social issue you can think of and continues to happen unabated. We have been told that the argument that redefining marriage might lead to polygamy is a false argument. Well the broadcaster mentioned above – the BBC – is clearly now starting its campaign to soften people up for that, just weeks after same-sex marriage was made legal in Britain. And that’s because their aim was never to legitimise homosexual marriage, but to delegitimize proper marriage. Is this not a slippery slope?
Transgenderism won’t lead to men using female restrooms? Really? But that is exactly what it is leading to as the case in Edinburgh clearly shows. The point of trangenderism is not to give legitimacy to a few men who feel like women, but rather to eliminate all boundaries between males and females, so that in a few years, we will all be genderless and able to use any restroom we choose without anyone stopping us. Is this not a slippery slope?
The final reason that the slippery slope fallacy just doesn’t hold, is that it is based on a presumption that we – the enlightened ones – have spoken the final word on the subject. We want same-sex marriage, but we sure don’t want polygamous or incestuous or bestial or paedophilic marriages. Well maybe you don’t, but there are people out there who are just that bit more “enlightened” and “tolerant” than you. Do you really suppose that they will not take advantage of the opening you have given them?
Once you have swept away the biblical basis for marriage, divorce, sexual conduct and gender, found in the opening pages of Genesis and reiterated by Jesus, it matters not whether you personally only want this but not that. You have destroyed the foundation that would have allowed you to argue against that, and whether you like it or not you may well find people who want to go that bit further than you would personally like.
So at the end of all this I simply want to appeal to those humanists who have swallowed the fallacy of the slippery slope fallacy. You have seen your culture change immeasurably over the past few years. Maybe you are happy with many of these changes. But as you start to see things happen which you said wouldn’t happen, and which you are uneasy with, my question is this: “Where is your line in the sand? At what point will you say: ‘You know, things have gone much further than I ever wanted and I think maybe this has all gotten out of control?”
If you ever find yourself at that point, you have just three options:
- You can just accept that there are more “enlightened” and “tolerant” ones than you and that you can do no more than accept their lead as they continue on down the slope within the moral vacuum you have helped to create until we reach the very pit.
- You can try and maintain your position halfway down the slope, arguing in the moral vacuum you have helped create against the more “enlightened” and “tolerant” ones as they continue their attempts to lead us further down the slope into the pit.
- Or you can simply confess your part in taking us down the slippery slope into Insanityville, as others have done before you, gladly accepting God’s free offer of forgiveness and pardon, along with his promise to take you from the slippery slope and set your feet on the Rock.