John, I think this is a really great question! Although I don't agree 100% I can defiantly see what your getting at!
Gold Water's Ghost wrote:
I think we have, as a community, missed the point of apologetics. We don't walk into the real world carrying hundreds of 4x6 notecards with bible verses on us. We have maybe a minute to analyze a question someone asks us before we answer it. And we should know enough basic facts about the Christian religion, which directs our entire lives, to answer 100 relatively simple questions without notes.
To an extent I agree--but personal I think this is a poor argument. True we won't have index cards in our hand--but that shouldn't persuade us to not make up Apologetic cards. I understand that you also agree with Apologetic shouldn't be no-prep event--which I think is curial.
I do think we have missed something in Apologetics--content. My siblings and parents have judged numerous Apologetics rounds where (sadly) kids walk in and they have no idea what they're talking about. They lack content, and understanding. Apologetics can be very overwhelming when you first start. Though I've only competed in Apolo once--I can tell you it is one of the best events ever! Everything I've learned from digging deeper into Apologetic will stay with me for the rest of my life. For me that meant writing out word for word Apologetic cards--though I might not use them that way in rounds. It helps me remember exactly what point I want to make, exactly what the topics means. I don't think most people do that.
But I've also experience the draw back of having cards--when it comes to a question you don't have a card on! During my semi-final round (I broke at my first tournament--all Glory to God!) I drew a topic I didn't have a card on. And guess what? It was the scripture category--not I good category not to have a card on. So I spent my entire prep time flipping through all my scripture cards trying to find something I didn't have. I go up and attempted to fumble off these cards in my hand that had nothing to do with the question. Finally about half way through I just gave up and stopped looking at the cards in my hands and tried to give a real speech--what do you know? It got a lot better! I'm sure I was still dead last--but I learned something.
In those cases I see where my cards will tie me down. Its pretty common to hear older apologeticers to just use simple outlines because do a better job that way! I'm not there yet.
So for me there's a fine line between the two. Although, I think you should--even if going "cardless"--make cards. Maybe with just a simple outline or a few verses on them. At least be thinking about how you would answer the questions. But in all cases study!
We should have enough working knowledge to address the topics. And you'd be amazed how much you can remember with 4 minutes of solid thinking driven by desperation
Ultimately, isn't that what Apologetics is about? Thinking about how you would answer the questions? How would you explain the gospel? How do we know scripture is divinity inspired? Apologetics forced me to think "How would I answer this quesiton?" and though I'm getting better at my cards I now also feel equipped to answer these questions out of rounds--without my box. Whether or not you choose to use cards it up to you--but I still like mine.
Well there's my 2cents. I'm glad to hear of your Apologetic success! Obviously if no cards works best for you--continue to do it! Hope you continue doing well!