Don’t Come Across Like You’ve Taken an Apologetics Course

Picture: Students taking an apologetics course.

Imagine there is an eager pro-life high school student named Jared. He has spent hours talking with his pro-choice friends on Facebook, but their conversations never seem to go anywhere. Although he sometimes thinks that his friends make good points, he doesn’t always know how to respond to them. In order to be the best pro-life advocate possible, Jared decides that he needs to gain a better understanding of people who disagree with him and learn how to defend his own beliefs more persuasively. He reads abortion philosophy books, attends pro-life conferences, and listens to podcasts. After all this studying, he feels eager to discuss abortion with his friends—except this time he decides to talk with them in person during lunch instead of online. Afraid of forgetting any of the important arguments he has learned, he decides to bring a notebook outlining his talking points. Although his intentions are well-meaning, his delivery is noticeably awkward. Every time his pro-choice friends ask a question or make a comment, he refers to his notes before responding. Not only do his friends feel a little uncomfortable, but they also begin to think that the conversation isn’t genuine.

When you talk with pro-choice people, you probably don’t commit faux pas as flagrant as Jared’s notebook, but you may be making similar mistakes. If we come across in conversations as though we have spent time studying how to persuade people, they may feel uncomfortable and misinterpret our intentions. We don’t want people to think that we are reading from a script or that we have been coached on what to say. If we are making people feel this way, then our preparation is working against us instead of improving our advocacy. We don’t want to be deceptive; if someone asked me if I’ve spent time preparing for abortion conversations, I’d say yes. But I’m trying to not make that fact obvious because, when it’s obvious, it’s usually off-putting. Here are some easily overlooked mistakes that could prevent your dialogues from feeling relaxed and natural:

It’s easy to just denounce the other side as evil. It’s hard to listen to them. It’s hard to try to understand them. It’s risky to treat the other person like a decent human being because then you might have to take them seriously.”

 

For more of the context of this quotation, click here to read the full article, “Snidely Whiplash Is Not on Facebook.” https://blog.equalrightsinstitute.com/snidely-whiplash-is-not-on-facebook/

ERI Update – July 2018

Download Audio MP3 | 00:30:57

I recently sat in the conference room in our new office to give you an update on what’s been going on behind the scenes at Equal Rights Institute:

  • 01:41 – Sidewalk Counseling Course production update;
  • 02:58 – Why following us on Facebook and Twitter will help us publish books;
  • 07:18 – Introduction to my project to help pastors prevent abortions in their churches.

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“Inconsistent” is Different Than “Wrong”

Picture: An inconsistent red umbrella in a sea of black umbrellas.

Those of you who have spent any amount of time on social media lately know that political discourse has been particularly ugly in recent weeks. Ever since the controversy began over separating children from parents caught crossing the border illegally, there have been comments about what it means to be “pro-life.” My favorite tweet from the time of that controversy came from my colleague Rachel Crawford:

There are many worthwhile discussions to be had about immigration policy, but policing the term “pro-life” is not a prudent way to start one. [Tweet that!] There are good, compassionate, reasonable pro-life people of every political stripe. This is possible because being pro-life in regards to abortion is entirely consistent with all kinds of other positions all over the political spectrum.