There is no doubt that the slippery slope argument is abused and has earned its position as a logical fallacy. Politicians use the argument to create fear and loathing against the policies they oppose. “If we allow this, the whole world will fall apart.” Because the argument is often abused, it tends to be discounted whenever it is used. “That is just a slippery slope argument.” It must be invalid.
But, folks, sometimes the slope really is slippery. Sometimes, a relatively small step can lead us over the edge and send us sliding down a dangerus slope.
I have lived in Iowa for 31 of my 55 years. I know a little bit about snow and snow sledding. When the kids were young, we loved snow days. We’d pile everyone into the van along with our sleds and we’d head to Boyson Elementary or Jones Park and ride some slippery slopes. You are poised at the top of the hill in your sled and you push yourself or scoot along an inch or two at a time until suddenly you reach the tipping point. You start to slide on your own and pick up speed. There is nothing to stop you until you reach the bottom of the hill. It’s a slippery slope.
A day or two ago, I read one of the most disgusting and disturbing statements I have heard, coming from Hollywood director Nick Cassevetes. He directed CB Scott’s favorite movie, “The Notebook.” He is releasing a new movie called Yellow, that evidently explores a theme, incest, that even our perverted, morally sick world has considered taboo. In an interview with “The Wrap” Cassevetes made this statement.
(There is a swear word in the quote. I normally delete those, but I thought it best to leave this one in. I hope the use of that word does not offend, but it demonstrates the utter contempt for moral standards in Cassevetes’ statement and I left it in for that reason. And, frankly, if the four letter word is what offends you about this statement, you might be missing the point!)
“I’m not saying this is an absolute but in a way, if you’re not having kids – who gives a damn? Love who you want. Isn’t that what we say? Gay marriage – love who you want? If it’s your brother or sister it’s super weird, but if you look at it, you’re not hurting anybody, except every single person who freaks out because you’re in love with one another. This whole movie is about judgment, and lack of it, and doing what you want.”
During homosexual marriage debates, those in support of traditional marriage have raised the slippery slope argument and it has been roundly rejected and scorned. Allowing homosexual marriage will not lead to the acceptance of polygamy, or incest or bestiality or anything else, our opponents say.
But the slope, judging from Cassevetes statement, is as slippery as a slope can be. “Love who you want,” says Cassevetes. “Isn’t that what we say? Gay marriage – love who you want.” He sees the link that many have denied. The basis of the homosexual marriage movement is a new ethic – do what you want!
Those of us who hold to traditional marriage do so on the basis of a belief in an objective standard defined by creation and scripture. God created a man and a woman – establishing marriage at the very beginning. While that standard was horribly violated in history and even in biblical history, the intent from the beginning was one man and one woman in a lifelong covenant. Our ethic for marriage is based on an objective standard – the way God made us and his commands thereafter.
But the modern ethic, the one defined by Cassevetes, is a subjective standard. “Love who you want.” “Don’t let anyone tell you who to love.” Right is not defined by God anymore, but by my feelings and emotions, my beliefs and desires. “It can’t be wrong, when it feels so right.” The proponents of gay marriage argue that each person should be allowed to decide whom they love and should be allowed to marry that person. And, as the last sentence of the statement indicates, the only sin is judgment of the choices another makes.
But when you adopt that subjective stance, you scoot over the edge of the slope and begin sledding down the moral hill straight to the bottom and there is little to stop you along the way. If you adopt this “sovereignty of the human heart” standard, where can it possibly stop?
- If one falls in love with someone of the same sex, shouldn’t he love (and marry) whom he wants?
- What if he falls in love with his sister (or brother)? According to Cassevetes, that should be okay by the same standard.
- What if he falls in love with two women? I read an article recently about a man and two women living as a family. Who are we to tell them that is wrong if it makes them happy, right?
- Maybe he has a dog that is his lifelong companion. The heart wants what the heart wants.
Once you push over the tipping point of the objective standard of marriage, there is, in fact, a slippery slope of morality and there is nothing along the slope to stop us. If the standard of morality is subjective, then homosexual marriage is only the beginning point on the slide to moral degradation.
So, what is the problem with the “love who you want” ethic? It is pretty simple and can be stated in one word. Depravity. When God looked at the wickedness of man before the flood, he gave this judgment.
The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. Genesis 6:5.
I was watching a show last night and one of the characters stated the mantra of modern thought. Listen to your heart, the main character was told, because “your heart is the only thing that will never lie to you.” Balderdash. The Bible says the opposite. There is no greater liar than your heart. Remember what God said to Jeremiah?
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? Jeremiah 17:9.
Read Romans 3:10-19 and then tell me about how human beings are “naturally good.” You cannot “follow your heart” because it is bound up in sin and will lead you astray. If you simply love who you want, your depraved heart will guide you into sin. We are called to live obediently and do what is right, regardless of our feelings or desires.
Homosexual marriage is a slippery slope, because it represents an ethical and moral shift from an objective, divine standard to a subjective, personal one. No one can honestly argue that homosexuality is approved in scripture. Marriage at creation was clearly intended to be between one man and one woman. Polygamy was certainly a blight on that standard that was at times tolerated but never approved or promoted among God’s people. But the NT reinforces the heterosexual monogamy standard that the God intended from the start.
America is rejecting that standard and replacing it with a new ethic: the sovereignty of the human heart. Whatever you think. Whatever you feel. Whatever your heart tells you. Do what you want.
And that standard is a slippery slope that will lead to places we do not want to go.