Tuesday, July 31, 2012
By Pastor Mark Christopher
One of my favorite secular quotes is from George Orwell who said, “In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act.” Orwell certainly was ahead of his time. We now live in an age and culture where simple disagreement with politically-correct dogma warrants a trip to the dog box while receiving a public name-and-shame lashing.
The truth of Orwell’s statement was duly illustrated only two weeks ago, when I came across the local headline “Church blasted over anti-gay billboard”. It seems as if a Pretoria-based ministry featured a billboard with a picture of an unclad male torso with various labels like “drug abuse”, ‘’promiscuity”, “alcoholism”, “porn”, “sex”, and, yes, “homosexuality”, positioned around the torso. Then read the caption “Whom the Son sets free, is free indeed.”
It all seems harmless enough, so what was this church’s crime? By including the label of “homosexuality” on the billboard, it implied that one’s “sexual orientation” could be changed, or “cured”. This, it is alleged, amounts to “hate” and incites “violence” against the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) community. Immediately the Advertising Standards Authority swung into action to investigate the billboard for the allusion that homosexuality is deemed a sin. Two days later, Light of The Nations Church retreated and replaced the offending billboard with a replacement sign that was entitled, “What the Church can learn from homosexuals”.
Incidents like this have become all too common place in our relativistic culture, illustrating the uncharted waters upon which the Church of Jesus Christ now finds itself. Whether we like it or not, homosexuality, and the whole LGBT complex, has become an issue that Bible-believing churches cannot afford to ignore. So as we think and pray about our role and response of being both salt and light to the LGBT community, what are some lessons the church should consider from incidents like the one above? I originally jotted down seven lessons when I read through the associated article, but, due to space, I will only share the first lesson with which one should be familiar:
Note the philosophical presuppositions behind all the pro-gay advocacy: To understand the headlines related to this defining issue, it is helpful to know what drives pro-gay thinking. In short, pro-gay dogma is rooted in philosophical and moral relativism. Based on this, morality is neither timeless nor universal. Binding moral absolutes simply do not exist (a self-contradictory statement in itself). Therefore, morality and ethics are fluid and in a state of perennial change, being subjectively determined by the prevailing culture of the day. After all, democracy rules, or so it is thought.
The practical outcome of moral relativism has produced what I call moral transvaluationism. A moral transvaluation is illustrated well by Isaiah 5:20 where it says Israel was guilty of calling “good evil and evil good”. Another way of saying this is that deviancy is defined down and normalized. Correspondingly, generally accepted morals are morphed into the new deviancy, being redefined as the new abnormal. This explains why Bible-believing Christians are now in the cross-hairs of today’s new thought police.
It should not surprise anyone to learn that relativistically derived transvaluations find their tap root in German existential thinking. One can almost smell the after-shave of Nietzsche and his nihilistic disciples as many of their philosophical meanderings are now employed, and given legs, by those, like the pro-gay lobby. I doubt seriously that most of the evangelists of same-sex orthodoxy are even aware of the subterranean thinking that governs their worldview. But for those who scratch beneath the surface of the popular slogans and clichés, the cognitive dissonance looms large and serves as the thermostat to the rhetoric and agenda associated with the pro-gay movement.
One of the outcomes of such a relativistic worldview is that pro-gay promoters invoke a number of logical fallacies when arguing their cause. Such is unavoidable when one’s script is subjectively derived and situated in experience. While the fallacies employed are many, the following three fallacies deserve honorable mention, given the frequency with which they used:
· The first weapon of choice in the pro-gay arsenal is arguing ad hominem. Reasoning ad hominem relies on emotionally charged salvos which are meant to vilify and demonize one’s detractors, by tarring them with character assassinations and calling their credibility into question. It is like walking up to a guy who is married and saying, “Are you still beating your wife?” It puts one on the immediate defensive, which is why it is effective. So the flurry of pro-gay ad hominem invectives, like “homophobe”, “bigot”, “heterosexist”, and “intolerant” are used to great effect without ever having to debate the substance of the issue itself. As Paul Nathanson, himself a homosexual, writes, “This argument (ad hominem) amounts to verbal terrorism … It is easy to trivialize arguments by attacking the personal integrity of those who make them. That way, you need not deal with the argument itself.”[i] Yet, with the right line of inquiry, the ad hominem bomb can be effectively diffused.
Let it not be said of Christians that ad hominem arguments are our weapon of choice.
· Arguing non-sequitur is another common pro-gay fallacy. A non-sequitur argument is simply a response that does not follow the premise of a former statement, there is no logical connection between the former and the later statements. The “then” statement does not mesh with the “If” statement. Pro-gay reasoning well illustrates this fallacy whenever they conclude that moral disagreement over the legitimacy of homosexuality is the equivalent of “hatred” and “discrimination”.
Since when does debate equal hate? Quite frankly this is absurd. But such absurdity didn’t stop one gay-rights crusader from concluding that the billboard, cited above, continued to perpetuate “The stigma attached to homosexuality” and “contributed to the killing of homosexuals in SA and in Africa”. Really? What empirical proof is there for such an serious allegation? How does one diagnostically substantiate such a specious claim? Just because one says it does not make it so. No amount of wishful thinking will ever authenticate the claim.
If the above statement were true, then it would logically, and necessarily, follow that a pastor’s preaching against adultery, incest, fornication, and polygamy is equally responsible for inciting “hatred” and “violence” against adulterers, violators of incest, those who engage in pre-marital sex, and polygamists. One could even go so far as to maintain that preaching against polygamy is inviting the assassination of the South African president, since he is a polygamist. Does teaching against murder and theft encourage vigilantism and kangaroo courts? To maintain the affirmative is non-sequitur logic, and is, therefore, fallacious. No doubt there are those who do harbor hatred toward the gay community, but it simply does not follow that proclaiming the biblical position on gender distinction, marriage, and sexual morality is tantamount to hatred. It is as unreasonable as it is illogical to insist otherwise.
The most over-used non-sequitur script of pro-gay forces is their use (actually abuse) of the term “sexual orientation”, which is a loaded label, filled with numerous assumptions that are never defined nor adequately explained. Above all else, the use of this undefined terminology is meant to imply that there is a proven biological/genetic link to homosexuality. Therefore, homosexuality is as immutable and involuntary as skin color, or an uncorrectable disability. It is for this reason many wish to accord civil rights status to the whole of the LGBT movement. Thus, disagreement with the same is equal to “racism”, “hatred”, and “bigotry”.
The trouble is, upon examination, this genetic aspect of the “sexual orientation” assumption remains unproven. The “science” surrounding same-sex desire has not determined any certain genetic link. The science is all inconclusive. Most of the studies are filled with sample bias, flawed statistics, most can’t be duplicated, and many studies are often conducted by homosexuals themselves, who are hardly dispassionate in their research. There currently exists no truly objective means for determining whether a person is inherently and congenitally homosexual — there is not one diagnostic test to validate the claim. Even if a genetic link could be definitively established, this would in no way negate one’s moral responsibility, any more than a genetic link to grand-theft auto would excuse a car thief for hot-wiring and stealing your car.
Same-sex desires and same-sex orientation find their source in the broken and disordered sexuality that is a direct result of original sin and the innate sin nature we all share (Matthew 15:17-20; Mark 7:18-23). The mere presence of same-sex desire does not justify the act. Otherwise adulterers, pedophiles, the incestuous, and zoophiles could all justify and legitimize their particular deviancies based on their subjective desires and urges. To be inclined toward homosexuality is not the equivalent of being consigned to it. To insist otherwise is a grand demonstration of non-sequitur thought. That the unexamined orthodoxy of same-sex “sexual orientation” is just assumed by most, cannot be attributed to empirical evidence. Rather, it is a result of shrewd application of the old adage that if you repeat something often enough, loud enough, and long enough then people will believe it. But that doesn’t make it so.
Pro-gay use of non-sequitur thought is a classic example of transvalued logic, which ignores the obvious while arguing the ridiculous. Under honest scrutiny such logic is exposed for what it is and ultimately fails.
· The liar’s paradox is another glaring fallacy that fuels pro-gay thinking. The gist of the liar’s paradox is summed up in the statement “The truth is that there is no truth.” This is a self-contradictory declaration that finally negates itself. This is at the heart of postmodern thinking, which is strongly reflected in pro-gay thinking. As one pro-gay advocate told me, “There are no moral absolutes.” So in an effort to subjectively rationalize his sin, this chap fell into the jaws of the liar’s paradox with his self-contradictory statement. The inference here is that the only moral absolute is that there are none. Such is a self-defeating assertion that nullifies itself under the sheer weight of its own absurdity. As Francis Schaeffer would say, "They have escaped from reason."
So what is the point of this exercise? Why explore the philosophical assumptions of pro-gay logic? The answer is simple, the above evaluation is needed to inform fellow believers about the philosophical framework that supports the same-sex fallacies we hear ad nauseam. In becoming more familiar with the pro-gay presuppositions, it is hoped that those who encounter such logic will be better prepared to speak the truth in the love (Ephesians 4:15), as they seek to proclaim the life transforming gospel of Christ to those mired in sins of this nature. To be forewarned is to be forearmed when deliberating with one in the LGBT community. So speak the truth each one you to your neighbor (Ephesians 4:25), but remember that doing so in a culture of colossal deception often will be misconstrued as a revolutionary act!