Slippery slope arguments tend to not to be a convincing line of debate. However sometimes they are right on.
Let’s go back a few centuries an imagine a time just after the reformation. Imagine a Catholic voice arguing that a break with unity and the idea of self interpretation of the Bible are very bad ideas. “Without the Church as a guide to the authentic interpretation of the Bible, there are no limits to how far from the Truth Christians can wander. Why, using this line of thinking it is only a matter of time until Christians can decide they don’t need Christ!” Nonsense! Ludicrous! Would have been the likely retorts.
Meet minister Gretta Vosper. Vosper is a minister from the United Church (the merged Congregationalists, Methodist and Presbyterians)in Canada. Vosper thinks that the problem with Christianity is Jesus.
Though an ordained minister, she does not like the title of reverend. It is one of those symbols that hold the church back from breaking into the future — to a time “when the label Christian won’t even exist” and the Church will be freed of the burdens of the past. To balance out those symbols of the past inside West Hill, there is a giant, non-religious rainbow tapestry just behind the altar and multi-coloured streamers hang from the ceiling.
“The central story of Christianity will fade away,” she explained. “The story about Jesus as the symbol of everything that Christianity is will fade away.”…
Ms. Vosper does not believe in the Virgin Birth, the Resurrection, the miracles and the sacrament of baptism. Nor does she believe in the creeds, the presence of Christ in communion or that Jesus was the Son of God.
In With or Without God, her book that was formally launched this week, she writes that Jesus was a “Middle Eastern peasant with a few charismatic gifts and a great posthumous marketing team.”
The Bible is used in her services, but it gets rewritten to be more contemporary and speak to more people. Even the Lord’s Prayer — also known as the Our Father — does not make the cut because it creates an image of a God who intervenes in human existence. And then there is the “Father” part that is not inclusive language and carries with it the notion of an overbearing tyrant who condemns people to hell.
Now you might be tempted to think that Ms. Vosper is an isolated looney, think again. Remember that the United Church is a conglomeration of formerly mainline protestant churches. Let’s See what the head of the United Church in Canada, Rev. David Giuliano, has to say about his un-Christian minister:
But it is not his job to condemn, he said, and the church is structured in such a way that complaints have to come from the congregation before any action can be taken. And so far there have been no complaints. He also sees the United Church, considered the most liberal of the mainline Protestant churches, as broad enough to encompass a wide range of theologies.
Even Rev. Giuliano agrees that the name Christian — which carries the baggage of colonialism and other ills — should probably be phased out. Instead, he would replace “Christian” with “Follower of the Way” or “Follower of Jesus.”
With no guide to orthodoxy, anything goes. For certain not all protestants, mainline or otherwise, have strayed this far from the truth. But without the protection that the Church offers, what is to prevent them from going off the deep end like UC in Canada? Nothing.
So next time you hear a slippery slope argument, pause just a moment before you shout “Nonsense!” and think about this story. Ideas have consequences. Sometimes we need to follow them to their logical conclusions down the slippery slope.