MATTERS OF MORALITY: The Slippery Slope

I listen to Glenn Beck.  I find myself agreeing with him less and less every day, but I continue to listen because I have come to believe that — whether or not he is correct — he is sincere in what he claims to believe and he does not try to deceive his audience.  For me, this is a refreshingly valuable commodity in our current culture.  However, Mr. Beck has been heading down a road I find quite troubling.  For years now, Mr. Beck has been coming to his audience saying, “This is it!  I’ve finally found the answer!  This is what has been happening: the cause of all our troubles.”  First, it was ‘Liberalism.’  Then it was the ‘Liberal/Progressive‘ movement.  Now it is ‘Post-Modernism‘ and ‘Moral Relativism.’  I’ll give Mr. Beck this much: he seeks answers, and he is not afraid to put in a lot of hard work in the process.  But I grieve for him that he is ‘ever learning, yet never understanding.’  You see, like the majority of those who seek to explain this world without taking God’s Word into account, all Mr. beck is doing is addressing the manifestation of a Spiritual cause.  Consequently, Mr. Beck looks for worldly solutions to a Spiritual problem.  It is why he always fails to understand.  It is why, until the Lord opened my eyes, I always failed to understand.  It’s all about the slippery slope of Spiritual and moral decay.

Simply put, the fallacy of ‘slippery slope‘ happens when a person makes a very unlikely claim that action A will lead to action B which will lead to action C (and so on).  A perfect example that has caused a great deal of anger in our current world would be the claims of the ‘climate change‘ advocates.  They claim that human activity will lead to dramatic climate change which will then lead to massive depopulation and extinction events.  If these folks were to make more believable claims, then their arguments might be sound.  However, as they stand now, they are advancing a fallacy (i.e. a mistake in logic or bad/flawed argument — or, in this case, ‘bad science’).  We know the ‘climate change‘ advocates are wrong because, before now, they had said we’d all be dead from over heating, and before that, we’d be dead from a new ice age.  None of their predictions ever happen because they exaggerate, and that is what makes their warnings fallacious.  In this case, they commit slippery slope.

But there is a problem with slippery slope, and that is that it is not always a fallacy — even when the claims seem to be unbelievable to the majority of people.  In this case, I would refer to Scripture for an example.  God warned the Israelites not to associate with the Canaanites because, if they did, the Canaanites would lead the Israelites into idolatry and ruin (to be more specific, the warning was against associating with people who worshiped Baal, but as Baal was the god of Canaan…).  Now, remember, the Israelites were real people, so we must imagine how this warning would have sounded to them.  If we were told that we would be lead away from God and into ruin because we mixed ourselves with Muslims, how do you think this would go over in our society today?  Well, the Israelites were proud of their faith, and of being the ‘chosen people,’ so you can imagine that the idea they could be lead away from God by the likes of the Canaanites would most likely have been met with even greater indignation.  And yet, this is exactly what Scripture tells us happened:

Numbers 25:1-3  New American Standard Bible (NASB)

The Sin of Peor

25 While Israel remained at Shittim, the people began to play the harlot with the daughters of Moab. For they invited the people to the sacrifices of their gods, and the people ate and bowed down to their gods. So Israel joined themselves to [a]Baal of Peor, and the Lord was angry against Israel.

Numbers 31:15-16  New American Standard Bible (NASB)

15 And Moses said to them, “Have you [a]spared all the women? 16 Behold, these [b]caused the sons of Israel, through the [c]counsel of Balaam, to [d]trespass against the Lord in the matter of Peor, so the plague was among the congregation of the Lord.

God warned His people, through His prophet, Moses, that association with those who worship Baal would lead Israel astray, but Israel did not listen.  God’s warning was about slippery slope: not the fallacious kind, but the real kind, the kind where one thing does lead to another and then another.  We known this because Jesus later says that this is exactly what the people of Israel did in addressing the Church at Pergamum:

Revelation 2:12-17  New American Standard Bible (NASB)

Message to Pergamum

12 “And to the angel of the church in Pergamum write:

The One who has the sharp two-edged sword says this:

…14 But I have a few things against you, because you have there some who hold the teaching of Balaam, who kept teaching Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols and to commit acts of immorality. 15 So you also have some who in the same way hold the teaching of the Nicolaitans. 16 Therefore repent; or else I am coming to you quickly, and I will make war against them with the sword of My mouth.

Notice that Christ singles out the remnant of those who teach false gods which are still within the body of the Church, and that He then makes it clear these people will not be turned to Him, but will turn people away from Christ and toward their false god(s).  Finally, Christ warns that if the Church does not repent (change their ways and go in the opposite direction), He will come and make war with them.  This is the true slippery slope: if the Church compromises with those who teach falsehood (i.e. lawlessness), the lawless will lead the righteous astray and, eventually, God will destroy them all.

Now let us consider the slippery slope in our current society.  In 1962-64, we officially kicked God out of our public square, which included our schools.  From that point, the majority of indicators sociologists use to measure the morality of a society spiked.  Crime rates increased.  Teenage pregnancies increased.  STD’s rates increased.  Divorces and un-wed households increased.  Scholastic test scores decreased.  Civility decreased.  In short, every measure of morality showed a marked decline in the moral character of our society — just as God warned the Israelites it would when He warned them against associating with the Canaanites!

Our founding fathers were very clear about the connection between morality and liberty.  They forcefully asserted that liberty does not and cannot exist without morality, and morality does not and cannot exist without religion:

In the Founders’ Words: The Connection between God, Liberty and the Founding of America

In the Founders’ Words: the Essential Role of Religion in Public and Civic Life

There is a simple connection to all of this.  If a society loses its belief in God, then it loses its common morality.  This opens the door to everyone living according to whatever they believe is right, individually (i.e. moral relativism).  This then leads to a very self- or me-centered society, where the People — as a whole — stop caring for others.  People lose the sense of community until, eventually, this decay reaches down into the fundamental building block of all societies, the family.  Once the family starts to fall apart, and the parents — even if actually in the home — are no longer ‘present,’ a void is created.  This void is then filled by either a dictator who presents themselves a god (i.e. a sun king) or the State, which presents itself as god.  Either way, the result is that the people fall into idolatry and, in this particular case, it is the very form described in 2 Thessalonians 2:

2 Thessalonians 2  New American Standard Bible (NASB)

Man of Lawlessness

Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the [d]apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself above [e]every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God. Do you not remember that while I was still with you, I was telling you these things? And you know what restrains him now, so that in his time he will be revealed. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way. Then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His [f]coming; that is, the one whose [g]coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and [h]signs and false wonders, 10 and with [i]all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved. 11 For this reason God [j]will send upon them [k]a deluding influence so that they will believe [l]what is false, 12 in order that they all may be [m]judged who did not believe the truth, but [n]took pleasure in wickedness.

Now, I have no desire to get into a debate over whether or not this passage refers to the ‘antichrist’ or not — not in this post, anyway.  But what I would ask believers to consider is this:

What if Paul means for us to read this as the second person plural: as any man who takes his seat in the Temple of God [in this age, that being the heart of the believer] and says to himself in his heart that he is god?

If this is what Paul was actually trying to warn us against, then how have we not entered such a time?  We may call it moral relativism, but isn’t it a delusion in which many people think they can make sweet, sour or turn right into wrong just by saying it is so?  Certainly this is not much different from saying that a male can become female just because he ‘feels’ like a female today, only to switch back to male again tomorrow — or vice verse.  Scripturally, the bottom line is that this is depraved lawlessness, which falls squarely within the realm of past periods in Israel’s history:

Isaiah 5:20-23

20 Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil;
Who [n]substitute darkness for light and light for darkness;
Who [o]substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!
21 Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes
And clever in their own sight!
22 Woe to those who are heroes in drinking wine
And valiant men in mixing strong drink,
23 Who justify the wicked for a bribe,
And take away the [p]rights of the ones who are in the right!

I ask you, dear reader: is this not the current condition of our society?  So, how did we get here?  I’ll tell you how: we got here by dismissing those who tried to warn us we were sliding down the slippery slope.  We dismissed the warnings as fallacious nonsense and, as a result, we started compromising with lawlessness.  Once we started down that path, one thing lead to another — just as it always has and always will.  If it helps to think of it in ‘scientific’ terms, think of it like the second law of thermodynamics for society (i.e. all things tend to decay).  In a closed system, you have to maintain a certain energy level or things start to fall apart — decay.  Well, the same thing happens in a society.  Morality is the energy that holds civil society together, and that energy is sustained by a belief in God and God’s judgment.  If you remove God, then you lose morality and society starts to decay.  This is exactly what Voltaire meant when he said:

“If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent Him.”

The truth is: nothing short of a Spiritual Awakening is going to ‘save’ this country.  Believers need to accept this fact and act accordingly.  Perhaps it would be best if we were to start sharing the Gospel message with a boldness the world has not seen since the last Awakening while, at the same time, preparing for a persecution the likes of which the world has not seen since the last Jihad in the Middle East because, dear reader, these are the two choices now facing those who choose to cling to the Lord and His Word.

 

ADDITIONAL READING ON THIS SUBJECT:

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