Unslippery Slope

 

  • http://blogforthelordjesus.wordpress.com Mike Gantt

    You support abortion?

    • Andrew Dowling

      Mike, either you are sincerely just not very bright or you just love picking fights on the Internet. Either option is sad.

      • http://blogforthelordjesus.wordpress.com Mike Gantt

        The fight was picked in the original post. I only sought clarification on what the fight was about.

        • Keen Reader

          Yeah, sure. Time to examine yourself.

      • Sean Garrigan

        Mike’s question follows as naturally as night follows day. I too would like to know if James supports abortion. When one defends the legalization of abortion against feared potential consequences — whether those fears are legitimate or not — one is defending the legalization of abortion.

        • Andrew Dowling

          Pointing out the hypocrisy/ridiculousness of the arguments for causal relationships doesn’t speak to anything of whether one supports a practice standing on its own accord.

          • Sean Garrigan

            Yet when the power of the point of a cartoon is based, in part, on implicitly
            defending the legalization of abortion over against what is considered
            an illegitimate fear involving additional potential consequences, and a Christian offers that cartoon to support the point, the question of whether that Christian supports abortion naturally follows, at least it would for many people.

            In situations like this where there is the potential for giving such an impression, a commentator will often offer some sort of caveat. Since James offered no such caveat, the only way one can be sure of his position is to ask him.

            • Kubricks_Rube

              James addressed this question last year:

              So what is my view? I consider abortion a tragedy at any stage. But I do not consider it equally tragic indifferent of the stage at which it occurs. And I therefore consider it appropriate that the woman who is pregnant be the one to decide whether ending the pregnancy as early as possible is more or less tragic than the possible impact of not doing so. I do not think that anyone actually desires to have an abortion, unless it is as an option weighed against alternatives that they find to be more tragic, whether it be the likelihood of having to drop out of school and thus be unable to care for oneself, much less the child, or the serious possibility that the mother may die resulting the loss of both lives.

              The evidence does not support the view that terminating a pregnancy early on is “murder.” And most people, including most conservative Christians, seem to know this deep down. Few of them would like to see the death penalty for those women who get abortions. Most of them consider those who shoot doctors or bomb clinics to be deranged rather than heroic. And what little Biblical evidence there is would support them in this.

              As for when to draw the line after which one attributes personhood, I will leave that to medical experts. It will be arbitrary, just like designating 18 as the end of being a minor, or any other milestone. But a dividing line for legal purposes is necessary – again, few would disagree about this, I think.

              If the experts advise erring on the side of caution, I would concur. Doing that does not mean placing the dividing line at the moment of conception.

              • Sean Garrigan

                Thanks, Rube.

    • Gary

      Mike, I don’t want to get into a fight, argument, etc…where there are 200 or more comments. Just curious about how you interpret Ex 21:22-24? More specifically, a plain read by me, seems to reflect a 2000 year old attitude that the husband owns the property of both the wife and the fetus. And the fetus is not considered a human before birth. Otherwise payment would be a life, not a fine. I am not questioning a person’s personal view on abortion in the present day. Only questioning what the author of the Ex section thought about human versus fetus. Just want to know your opinion on this verse. Please don’t mention Psalms, knitted in womb, since that has to do with the process, not the final product.

      • http://blogforthelordjesus.wordpress.com Mike Gantt

        The passage makes clear that a miscarriage is not a non-event (otherwise, why mention a woman with child?), and that the father, as well as the mother, have suffered loss.

        • Gary

          “Is not a non-event”. That is a rather cryptic answer, and doesn’t answer my simple question. Clearly the loss is property, not a human being. Otherwise the penalty would be death for the one who caused it. Is that how you interprete it? The text, not your personal opinion for our current times. I do not see how you could interprete it any other way.

          • http://blogforthelordjesus.wordpress.com Mike Gantt

            It is you who are imposing your personal 21st-century opinion on the text, for the text itself only stipulates that capital punishment won’t be applied in the case of a miscarriage. It does not fully explain the rationale and it certainly doesn’t say that the child within is not human.

            • Gary

              That’s the problem you have. You follow the bible literally, only when it agrees with your point of view, creation or abortion. Not much else to discuss.

              • http://blogforthelordjesus.wordpress.com Mike Gantt

                It’s quite appropriate to make reasonable inferences from a text, but there’s nothing reasonable about inferring that movement through a birth canal can convert property into a human being.

                • Gary

                  Tell that to Moses!

                  • http://blogforthelordjesus.wordpress.com Mike Gantt

                    Keep that up and you won’t be able to stay under 200 comments.

                    Besides, it’s not fitting, given your position, for you to claim allegiance to Moses. The 55 million American lives taken since 1973 are equivalent to the population of America’s 75 largest cities combined. That you’d attempt to use Moses’ words to help justify this holocaust does great dishonor to his name.

                    If you really want to honor Moses, believe in the One he said would come (Deut 18:15). Thank God forevermore that “property” was not aborted.

                    • Gary

                      You are right. Comments reach a critical mass at about 50, if you are reading them on an iPhone. Just not worth the trouble reading them after that. I have no problem with Moses, since I think a bunch of J, E, P, or D writers, or redactors wrote the first 5 books, not Moses. So I don’t have to worry about justifying, or reconciling items that are inconsistent, or simply do not make sense. I wish people so concerned with the unborn were just as concerned with wars and firearms kept under the pillow of stupid parents. Slippery slopes abound.

    • LorenHaas

      Did I miss something? I thought the cartoon was about the slippery slope arguement.

      • http://blogforthelordjesus.wordpress.com Mike Gantt

        I took it that way, too, but when abortion was used as it was in the argument it raised the question that I asked.

      • Sean Garrigan

        It is, but the power of the point is based, in part, on implicitly defending the legalization of abortion over against what is considered an illegitimate fear involving *additional* potential consequences. That James would approvingly offer such a cartoon on his blog doesn’t necessarily mean that he himself supports the legalization of abortion, but it certainly makes one wonder whether he does. Hence Mike’s question, and mine.

        • LorenHaas

          So this response reminds me of the Seinfeld episode where Kramer goes on a walk for AIDS, but gets threatened because he doesn’t want to wear “the yellow ribbon”. He is out there walking to support AIDs victims, but that is not enough, because he is not satisfying someone else’s standard of appropriate decoration.
          For some folks, you have to carefully consider how you use the word “abortion”. Before the word appears in your sentence you have to properly couch it in how evil and terrible it is, otherwise you are unclean.
          You have to be wearing the “yellow ribbon” before you can speak of abortion.
          How sad.

          • Sean Garrigan

            How said that there are people here who are so narrow-minded that they feel the need to take every opportunity to offer criticisms of those with whom they disagree, even if the criticism is so mind-numbingly petty as to impute negative motives to someone for asking a simple question.

  • Craig Wright

    Mike, after looking at your concern about the slippery slope regarding evolution and the further interpretation of Scripture, in which you defend Ken Ham’s unnecessarily pushing for a divide regarding being able to interpret Genesis 1-2 and the NT teachings of salvation, I would like to give some examples of evangelical Christians who handle both of those issues irenically and rationally. C.S. Lewis in his book defending miracles (titled Miracles, on p. 139) says that he regards the first part of Genesis as Hebrew myth. John R. Stott, the great preacher and teacher, who wrote the book titled The Cross of Christ allowed for evolution (Understand the Bible p. 62 ff.). And finally, Billy Graham, the great evangelist, allowed for evolution (in Billy graham, Personal Thoughts of a Public Man, being interviewed by David Frost, p. 73).

    • http://blogforthelordjesus.wordpress.com Mike Gantt

      How then do these three (and other worthies who agree with them, such as N.T. Wright, Francis Collins, John Walton, Tremper Longman) determine when the myths end and the history begins in the Bible?

      In other words, if Gen 1-2 is myth, what else in the Bible is myth? We might as well get it all out on the table.

      • Craig Wright

        It takes hard work and study. Interpreting the Bible is not simple. John Wesley is attributed with using the quadrilateral of scripture, tradition, reason, and experience. They are not in equal value, yet work together with the Holy Spirit to discern.
        A historical example is the situation of Galileo. People tend to miss the reason that the church was against his idea of the earth moving around the sun. The reason used was that the Bible says so (Ps. 93: 1; 96: 10; 104: 5; Job 38: 4; 1 Sam. 2: 8; 1 Chron. 16: 30). The Protestants (with their strong emphasis on sola scriptura) also condemned Galileo, with Luther pointing out that there was a firmament above with the sun and stars attached to it. You and I would look at these scripture passages today and interpret them as poetry (I guess you would, too.) But, eventually science caused the church to accept a different interpretation.

        • http://blogforthelordjesus.wordpress.com Mike Gantt

          I share some of your view, but not all. I think that the Bible and science are talking about two different realms When the Bible talks about the sun rising and setting it is merely talking about the universe as seen through the naked eye. It then uses that knowledge to teach about a realm – the spiritual dimension – that is invisible (not only the naked eye, but to telescopes and microscopes as well). Thus Malachi prophesied “The sun of righteousness will rise,” using an aspect of the visible creation as an audio-visual aid to teach us about the spiritual dimension.

          Science, by contrast, merely takes a more detailed look at the physical realm. It has no way of learning about the spiritual realm. Science therefore must be content to remain ignorant about the spiritual realm. This does not make science useless, but it does limit its utility. That is, science can never be a single lens through which to view reality because it can, at most, discover only half of it – and not even the more important half.

          What church leaders should have realized in the time of Galileo was that nothing that science was discovering in any way contradicted the Bible for the reasons I’ve shown. Alas, there’s nothing unusual about religious leaders focusing on the wrong thing, as Jesus’ rejection and trial by religious leaders demonstrated so dramatically.

          Nothing about the way the world appears to the naked human eye changed with the Copernican revolution, and thus meteorologists today can still speak of sunrises and sunsets without fear of being labeled as anti-science.

          Unlike geocentricity, evolution – at least as its understood popularly – creates tensions with the Bible because it calls into question the Bible’s historicity and reliability. Perhaps this has less to do with evolution itself and more to do with those who would use it as sword against the Bible. Geocentricity requires no correlation with the Bible for the reasons shown above. Evolution, however, if it is true, requires some sort of correlation with the Bible which I have yet to find. As I’ve shown elsewhere in this thread, just saying Gen 1-2 is myth, assuming for the moment that would be an acceptable way to view that text, is not nearly enough to declare evolution and the Bible as compatible

    • Sean Garrigan

      I think that further clarification is needed. Many intelligent design advocates allow for evolution, and Michael Behe even accepts common ancestry (though I’m not sure whether he supports universal common ancestry), but that in itself doesn’t mean that they reject the teaching that there was a first human pair, and that those humans are responsible for introducing sin and death to mankind.

  • Ian

    Erm… okay, I don’t believe in the slippery slope either. But surely the point is, once you allow miscegenation, the next thing will be abortion, then gay marriage, then plural marriage, then incestual marriage, and so on. Which, to be fair, is pretty much how its going.

    • Sean Garrigan

      I don’t think that interracial marriage leads to or makes way for abortion, gay marriage, plural marriage, or incestual marriage, but abortion certainly can and does lead to a devaluing of human life, which could lead to additional negative consequences over time.

      In WI babies are killed regularly because mothers take them to bed and then roll over them, suffocating them, yet this negligence often goes with no or minimal punishment, because society accepts this unnecessary manslaughter of children. People suffer more sever consequences for drinking and driving, even when no one is hurt, than they do for killing their children via negligence.

      • Andrew Dowling

        “In WI babies are killed regularly because mothers take them to bed and
        then roll over them, suffocating them, yet this negligence often goes
        with no or minimal punishment, because society accepts this unnecessary
        manslaughter of children”

        What on Earth are you talking about . . .?

        • Sean Garrigan

          What part of my comment don’t you understand?

          • Andrew Dowling

            I guess I’m trying to understand the epidemic of mothers rolling over their children in Wisconsin . . .and what that has to do with abortion

            • Sean Garrigan

              It’s an extrapolatory example of one possible consequence of the devaluing of human life that follows from the legalization and societal acceptance of abortion. The different societal reactions to two similar situations may be suggestive of underlying attitudes which are shaped by a variety of factors, one of which might possibly be the attitude toward unborn children, which could bleed into and subtly color attitudes toward infants.

              In my example, I noted that infants are being killed at an alarming rate because mothers chose to engage in a practice that is known to be dangerous. Yet when this happens, it’s typically considered a tragic accident, with no legal consequences to the mother. On the other hand, someone else can engage in another practice that is known to be dangerous, namely, driving after drinking, and that person can suffer severe legal consequences, even jail time, when caught, even if there was no accident and no one was hurt. An act of manslaughter is viewed compassionately while a stupid act that could have but didn’t result in death or injury is rightfully viewed with disdain.

              I’m not saying that the legalization of abortion is responsible for the odd disparity of treatment, but it is possible that if we had a healthier appreciation for the value of human life, then we might respond to the problem of infant death by suffocation by introducing laws to help prevent it, and legal consequences for those who ignore the laws. We have laws that require parents to put their infant children in a car seat while driving; there’s no reason we couldn’t introduce laws requiring parents to put their children in a crib while sleeping.

              • Andrew Dowling

                “I noted that infants are being killed at an alarming rate”

                Can you show any evidence of this?

                “Yet when this happens, it’s typically considered a tragic accident, with no legal consequences to the mother”

                So the Christian response would be to lock up a grieving mother who accidentally smothered her baby?

                “On the other hand, someone else can engage in another practice that is known to be dangerous, namely, driving after drinking, and that person can suffer severe legal consequences, even jail time, when caught, even
                if there was no accident and no one was hurt.”

                To compare your accidental mother-infant bed deaths to drunk driving has so many problems I don;t even know where to begin. . .

                • Sean Garrigan

                  I explicitly stated what I think should be done, and it didn’t involve locking up the grieving mother, although that should certainly be considered in some cases, e.g. multiple deaths involving the same mother, especially when drinking or drug abuse was a potential contributing factor.

                  What I suggested, which you conveniently ignored, was that we can at least discuss introducing laws stating that infants be placed in a crib to sleep, just as we’ve introduced laws stating that infants be placed in car seats while driving.

                  http://www.jsonline.com/news/milwaukee/87602592.html

                  • Andrew Dowling

                    Sorry, 10 deaths from sleep smothering out of 203 over a 2 year period is not “an alarming number” . . you’ve let the news-story which was designed to outrage and generate views/clicks fog what in reality is simply not a major issue and not even in the same ballpark as drinking and driving. And who is going to buy these cribs, which are incredibly expensive? You? This generally happens in the poorest of households because you have many people crammed in a bed because they simply don’t have many beds. The best way to prevent what are clearly unfortunate tragedies is education, not passing arbitrary and unneccessary laws.

                    And to infer, and this is clearly what you did, that these extremely rare occurrences align with a societal devaluing of life that relates to abortion is frankly ridiculous.

                    • Sean Garrigan

                      “Sorry, 10 deaths from sleep smothering out of 203 over a 2 year period is not “an alarming number”.

                      Right, it’s only 10, and they’re only babies, hey?

                      As to your claim that cribs are too expensive, you must have missed this from the same article:

                      “None of the 11 infants were found in a crib, though cribs were found in six of their homes.”

                      And:

                      “The Health Department provides portable cribs to families that are unable to purchase one.”

                    • Sean Garrigan

                      Correction:

                      “The Health Department provides portable cribs to families that are unable
                      to purchase one and that are referred by a community professional, such
                      as a caseworker or a nurse.”

              • Neko

                Sleeping with your baby is not illegal. Perhaps that has something to do with why mothers who do so and smother their babies aren’t prosecuted. But clearly the coarsening of the culture due to abortion is at fault.

                Bad mothers! The serpent beguiles them. What is to be done with them?

                http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-24532694

                • Sean Garrigan

                  You must have missed the part where I said:

                  “It’s an extrapolatory example of one possible consequence of the
                  devaluing of human life that follows from the legalization and societal
                  acceptance of abortion. The different societal reactions to two similar situations may be
                  suggestive of underlying attitudes which are shaped by a variety of
                  factors, one of which might possibly be the attitude toward unborn
                  children, which could bleed into and subtly color attitudes toward
                  infants.”

                  That’s a far cry from your:

                  “But clearly the coarsening of the culture due to abortion is at fault.”

                  I suppose for some it’s a lot more entertaining to distort what someone says and criticize your distorted version than to simply consider another perspective sans ridicule.

                  • Anonymous

                    I didn’t miss the part, but I miss the distinction. Your fanciful association of less than a dozen, various tragedies with the “devaluing of human life” brought about by legalized abortion is indeed deserving of ridicule.

                    • Sean Garrigan

                      Correction: For liberals and trolls EVERY comment made by those you don’t agree with are worthy of ridicule. That notion is unfortunately perpetuated by the owner of this blog, who regularly ridicules those with whom he disagrees.

                    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

                      I consider this absolutely unfair. There are often a range of viewpoints that are compatible with the evidence. I interact all the time in a respectful manner with people who reach different conclusions than I do. But there are some who try to use the fact that experts disagree to insert their own claims which actually do not fit the evidence, and my lack of respect for that is, I think, not at all inappropriate.

                    • Sean Garrigan

                      I apologize for including liberals in that description, as I should have reserved the criticism to trolls alone.

                    • Anonymous

                      “Liberals and trolls”

                      Just because I was provoked by your disingenuous, passive-aggressive “extrapolations” of a sensational story doesn’t mean I’m trolling. You may think your overwrought post obscured your meaning, but it did not. “Right, it’s only 10, and they’re only babies, hey?” Loud and clear.

                      If you must propagate the lie that supporters of legal abortion are desensitized to the value of human life, expect to catch some flak for your calumny.

                    • Sean Garrigan

                      Trolls always claim that their bad behavior is the fault of the person at whom they spit. That’s just an excuse. Trolls do what they do because that’s what they are, which is why I tend to stop interacting with people once I determine that they argue for argument’s sake, esp when they regularly engage in drive-by spittings.

                      If you propagate that society’s acceptance of the killing of millions of unborn children doesn’t have the potential to desensitize people to the value of human life, expect to catch some flack for your willful blindness.

                    • Anonymous

                      You’re quick to whine away well-deserved criticism of your absurdities as “spitting” by “trolls.” I’ll note that you didn’t utter one word of compassion for the unjustly imprisoned women described at the link. Your sensitivities are a fraud.

                      I’ll leave you to your ingenue act, “Sean Garrigan.”

    • David_Evans

      Is your logic that one evil leads to another? Because I don’t see either miscegenation or gay marriage as evils. The OT appears to sanction plural marriage, also.

      • Ian

        I was just linking the set. The idea that the doomsayer was wrong in each case seemed to ignore the possibility that they might see the series as connected, and therefore might see their doomsaying as vindicated.

        • R Vogel

          But he didn’t, nor did anyone, see them as connected, accept in hindsight. None of the slippery slope nonsense ever pans out.

          • Ian

            Since when has post-hoc rationalisation been a problem for these kinds of folks?


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