How to Debate

subtitled “Debate your Christian values using Secular Language to Win More People to the Argument.”

If you believe the Bible to be the inerrant inspired Word of God, then you and I agree.

However, NARAL, Planned Parenthood, the Democratic National Committee, many of the policy makers in the U.S. Congress and the Obama Administration and many of the folks posting at various blog sites do not.  Telling them to adopt public policy based on the teachings and moral authority of the Bible is like quoting poetry to a pig: “It wastes your time and irritates the pig.” Worse, the “other side” doesn’t respond positively to the Bible, and so arguments based on this Truth are not (immediately) effective.  Human persistence will only do so much toward defeating that resistance and will often cause people to leave the debate unchanged.

We also need to remember that we have allies among people who have different religious viewpoints and do not have a comfort level with the language and arguments of the Bible-believing Christian.  These allies are our brethren and understand the moral and ethical content of the debate at least as well and often better than we do.  As allies in this fight they’re looking for tools and content to use in this fight against abortion.  We can cooperate with them toward the common goal of reducing abortions.

So I suggest that each of us politely and substantively state a moral, not a religious, case for our opposition to some aspect of President Obama’s healthcare plan and its related measures proposed by abortion supporters.  That will work, I promise.  It is some effort but not really.

For a believer, God’s Truth is reflected in all the smaller truths of biology, relationships, justice and freedom.  If you read a claim that women will be hurt financially, reply by telling them about the real science that proves that the most effective way out of poverty – especially for a minority single mom – is marriage.  If they argue against parental notification laws because of cases of incestuous abuse, reply and ask them if they’ve read the law. Quote back to them the case law that proves how rarely that occurs.  Then ask them if the thousands of proven incest and statutory rape cases presented to Planned Parenthood somehow don’t apply.  Polite and reality-based facts (not just science & figures but also experience & human reality) will win this fight.

Do not censor yourself.  If you have a faith experience that’s relevant, tell it.  If you know a person hurt by abortion or longing to adopt, say so.  Say that your faith tells you to be compassionate.  Write that God’s word speaks truth about your experience.

Of most importance before all of this is do not surrender prayer; it will certainly do much more for this fight than our small words.  We all know this, but I repeat it for my benefit and perhaps yours.  PRAYER is our first tool, and web logging and dialog are only a supporting role.  Already you and I are lifting up these issues and these decision makers in prayer.  If you’re reading this and writing on a blog but haven’t spent at least 15 uninterrupted minutes (or 30 or 60 or 90!) in prayer in the last 24 hours then you are wasting your time!  Worse, you’re wasting your best weapon in this fight.  You’re not preparing properly for this work.

Finally, do not threaten anyone with anything.   A person who sins so greatly that he will surely go to hell won’t change his ways because we tell him so.  He will change when he responds to God’s gift of Grace.  Each of us has lived that and has changed for the better sometimes profoundly.  However, a threat or other words written in anger serves to make us look foolish and confirm others’ hardness of heart.  Worse, the occasional unstable person will read it and think ‘those sinners deserve to die’ and will act on that thought.  I propose that an act of violence is a PRO-CHOICE act.  We cannot go there and must discourage others from going there.  God – who has a plan to change their hearts – will give them what they deserve; we cannot.

12 Responses to How to Debate

  1. would you consider weighing in on this thread.

    http://www.rpinet.com/wforum/index.php?t=msg&th=4091&start=0&rid=261&S=55e0d7bc330516fcc9f9362773014e91

    It seems there are CATHOLICS arguing there who are not sure FOCA is a bad thing.

    I understand non-Catholics, but Catholics?

  2. Laura says:

    I had some difficulty reaching this thread – couldn’t in one location, did through another – Will look into it.

  3. Matt says:

    Thanks for this reply.

  4. velilna says:

    When almost 1/3 of all pregnancies end in abortion, we have a serious national problem. When women think the only way to solve their “problem” is to end it, they have been deceived. You see, . . . . the “problem” never goes away. It haunts the woman, her partner, the siblings, the people who love the woman for many years to come and possibly forever. We have a social lottery going on. Women need to be educated that they have a CHOICE e to have their children, rather than eliminate the “problems”. Our wellness as a society can best be judged by the ay we treat the helpless; babies, the elderly, the sick or handicapped.

  5. Laura says:

    Are you following the “discussion” at change-dot-gov? Some of the testimonies are truly heartbreaking. One woman pointed out just yesterday afternoon: “It was my RIGHT to have been given ALL the information and support I would have needed to do so, but I was deprived of that right, and of the right to my full dignity as a moral human being.” —

  6. Mary T says:

    Wonderful points to consider when debating the pro-abortion people. It is definitely NOT a religious consideration, but one of natural law, which transcends all belief systems. We have to be logical and factual when we speak to others – otherwise we may be considered to be ‘religious nuts who want to impose our viewpoint on everyone else.’ It’s funny, but they don’t consider that they are imposing their viewpoints on us!

    Compassion, empathy, logic and science will win the day, not emotional ranting and raving. We have to reach out to people where they are (much like God does with us!). And what better model to follow than Him who knows us better than we know ourselves and judges with mercy and truth.

  7. Sheila DeFoor says:

    You know, this whole thing makes me think of two different Scriptures – whole situation wrapped up in these two. 1. Even satan can disguise himself as an angel of light and 2. where in Revelations it speaks of those who will not be able to buy and sell – those that will not receive “the mark of the beast”. Why? Well, if we keep working and therefore paying taxes, then we are partaking in the very sin that we are fighting. We are murderers just like them. There comes a time I think where the rubber has to hit the road and some people, including myself, are going to be forced to make some RADICAL decisions for Christ. Decisions that will most definately lead to the radical conversion Jesus called us to. The true meaning of “deny thyself”. I wonder how many will have the courage to make those radical decisions. It was easy while staying comfortable, what now, when our financial and material security stand in danger of being wiped out if we don’t follow the beast? For those who have been busy judging and condemning, but won’t give up paying taxes in order to not participate in the slaughter, I think they best say a whole lot of “Divine Mercy” prayers. For those who choose a more radical approach, I hope that God will provide. He does, literally down to daily bread, but unless you begin to practice a great deal of walking by faith and not by sight, you will most surely grow despondent. Either way, things are going to get bad, most likely very bad, pretty much all are in agreement about that. I pray all remember that when God said “daily bread” He really meant it. You can live it. He will provide. Might not be how you had planned………….but He does provide. And in all things remember tis better to give than receive. If you need, give. Don’t hoard. Don’t get selfish. Give. “Give and it shall be given unto you”. I think mostly we all need to start giving alot of mercy…….as we are all going to need it more than ever now.
    God bless.

  8. Matt says:

    Cannot argue with anything you’ve written. God will change these hearts; not us.

    The idea of this page is to challenge the culture’s error on abortion. Since many can’t or won’t hear the religious argument for Truth we can learn & use lesser truths – delivered with charity in words they understand – to convince them.

  9. Laura says:

    I’ve always felt this piece reflected good thinking, but after being on several websites and forum discussions in the past four months, I’ve come to feel that this essay is one of the best bits of counsel to be found for any of us expanding energy to oppose abortion. Thank you, Matt.

  10. Ninja says:

    Often as pro-lifers we neglect to monitor our tone of voice to
    pro-abortion individuals. [edited M]

    How would Christ talk to them? Would He scream to their ears and use veiled sarcasm to reach them? Or would He walk alongside them, touching them on the back or shoulder to create that link quietly opening their hearts.

    I have frequently wondered if an aggressive approach does not the people who favor abortion to not listen to the word of God. Shutting down the lines of communications is not what we need to do.

    I’ve seen it happen with my boyfriend and his sister. His sister is a pharmacy tech who casually mentioned that she sells Plan B. Naturally the first reaction was anger from his part, which only promptly shut her down. When she mentioned to me that she didn’t understand why he was so angry, that was the start of what I believe to be a fruitful conversation that may eventually get her back to thinking of the sanctity of life and that the “Chance” of actually preventing a conceived embryo from implantation is still a chance of ending a pregnancy that’s already been started at conception.

    I also find that using the stages of development do not harm the persuasion. (I prefer not to use the term argument) Using embryo is not degrading to life provided that you still regard it as such in your explanation.

    I don’t believe you’ll always create an instant submission into the evils of abortion, what we need to do is simply open the doors of thought and spirituality for the Holy Spirit to descend on to open the hearts.

  11. Rosesz says:

    Hey laura and Matt,
    Interesting article..

    I try in my onw way.. am not Catholic.. do believe in BC but definitley not in abortion..

    I kind of make up my posts as I go.not following any agenda but what is said on the blogs.. not any formula.. and do pray on what I may be saying..
    . Some dont like them but I firmly believe in showing respect for other posters.. and try though not always successfully to get off when I get too upset.

    Insults do not show us as God’s people .. I have had a lovely conversation with laura the past 2 days..

    I know my thoughts probably wont change anyones mind.. but I feel if something can be done to save even one life.. the time is worth it..

    Many prochoicers.. in this country.. I believe do not want all of the measures the FOCA will bring..

    Lets hope it gets thru to the politicians..
    God bless
    Rose

  12. Laura says:

    Rose, You’re doing a very fine job at Topix, and I’m grateful for your presence there. Thanks so much for popping by here and taking a look at this blog.

    See you in the trenches, yes?

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