Over the last several posts I have done my best to present a Biblical position on the issue of Homosexuality and the LGBT lifestyle and in particularly, concerning what the Bible teaches concerning what the church’s position ought to be in contrast to the recent decision of Eastlake Community Church of Bothell WA.. What I have avoided on this sensitive and emotional topic has been name-calling and straw-man arguments. That has not been the case with ECC and pastor Meeks.
So, just what is a straw-man argument anyway and why should I care?
Wickipedia (not always the best source) defines it as “a straw man is a common type of argument and is; an informal fallacy based on the misrepresentation of an opponent’s argument.“ Another explanation is; “The Straw Man fallacy is committed when a person simply ignores a person’s actual position and substitutes a distorted, exaggerated or misrepresented version of that position.” And of course, Webster’s defines it as; “a weak or imaginary argument or opponent that is set up to be easily defeated.”
More often than not, this kind of argument or fallacy is perpetrated upon another, purposely, without the chance of rebuttal. It is done through exaggerated examples and frequently the use of slogans and pejorative name calling. The tactic is often effective on those who are not in the habit of using critical thinking skills and/or are easily swayed my emotional rhetoric. It is also particularly effective by the use of name-calling (ie. racist, bigot, hater, judgmental, Pharisee, homophobe, etc.) with the goal of silencing the opposition through guilt association and shame. It is often used in politics and religion where the goal is to target a friendly audience to the person’s position by vilifying the opposition. In some cases, where the tactic is often used, the party using it is unaware of the unfairness of its use and they often think they are actually raising a logical polemic. What is even more interesting is that once they have bullied the opposition into silence through fear and/or guilt, they think they have won the day! This often has the effect of reinforcing their own position and as a result they become more militant. Continue reading ‘Homosexuality and the Theology of Inclusion Part 4 Straw-men’