Challenging Apologists

Frank Turek, a TGM favorite is in Morgantown this week to talk to West Virginia University students. The event was sponsored by Ratio Christi and Campus Crusade. His audience on the first day numbered around 180, made up of some secular students, but mostly Christian groups.

Frank gave parts 1 and 2 of his I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist talk, but with very little in the way of new material. Once you’ve seen a talk enough times, the only interesting part left is the Q&A, which unfortunately disappointed this time around. There were only 6 questioners, including TGM.

The first questioner, a young gentleman who went by the name of Cainan, tried to get Frank into an argument about the nature of time and reality. The result was to be expected. Frank fended off the questions and the “debate” went nowhere. Now, Turek is no cosmologist, but nor was the questioner educated enough to properly challenge him. TGM never had the chance to ask Cainan what he was hoping to accomplish, but if he was trying to change minds, then he was horribly naive.

As the first post in this publication, let’s kick it off with some lessons about challenging apologists on stage…

Lesson 1. You are not going to convince them of anything. Novices don’t get speaking engagements.

Lesson 2. They are (usually) too slippery to catch. They’ve heard all the questions. And if you do catch them, they can easily recover. Why? Because…

Lesson 3. The speaker, not the questioner, is in control of the conversation.

If you do want to change the world, remember who you need to be addressing with your questions and comments – the speaker’s audience. However, bear in mind that…

Lesson 4. You won’t convert the audience either. In fact, they’ll probably laugh at how you were embarrassed by the speaker. Your goal, at best, should be to plant a seed in someone’s mind. It can be some new idea or evidence; it can expose some inconsistency in a way of thinking. But that is the best you can do.

Finally…

Lesson 5. Changing the world is a marathon, not a sprint. Stay at it, one listener at a time, if necessary.

We’ll have more to write about Frank’s talks in future articles this week, including our discussions following his presentations which were of the most interest to us.

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