Mr Glasses wrote:
What is real apologetics? Can you provide an example of a question that is not apologetic and an example of one that is?
The definition of apol is "reasoned arguments or writings in justification of something, typically a theory or religious doctrine." By that definition, I guess all the questions are apologetic. But we usually define apologetics by the defense of Christianity (and that's how the NCFCA), which implies an attack that you're refuting. A lot of the questions are simply you reaffirming Christian doctrine without any implied attack. Also, apologetics as popularly defined is by definition discussion-based, a back and forth in which one person attacks Christianity and the other defends. NCFCA apol is a soapbox. It turns apologetics into...a term that I can't say here but to which I can't think of a homeschool-approved alternative. Preaching to the choir, I suppose.
How is this different than questioning deeply held political opinions that some religiously nationalistic folks hold with extreme conviction? Events like debate or extemp have plenty of opportunity to deeply offend people, especially in the demographics that NCFCA seems to attract (right wing evangelicals).
Fundamentally it isn't, which is why there are certain topics that don't belong in debate either. In the NFA one of the possible resolutions this year was social justice. I opposed it very strongly because people feel much too strongly about it. That's why debate is ideally about political issues no one feels particularly strongly about, or at least not strongly enough that you will get super offended if someone disagrees with you. That's something people don't often understand about debate/forensics. It isn't a search for truth and never can be. It is a search for argumentation, which requires an abstraction from emotion. That argumentation should then be applied to things you care about.
Could you list those extra reasons? I know it might be exhausting, and I understand if you don't want to, but I'm genuinely curious.
I'll PM you later today. If I forget, remind me.
Why is this feeling false, and how would you combat it?
It's false because knowing how to defend Christianity in an artificial and highly staged environment isn't the mark of a good Christian. For that matter, being able to defend it spontaneously isn't either. It replaces things of the heart, which James makes very clear is the mark of a true Christian, with things of the head. This is also my objection to things like AWANA, as you mentioned in your post. A kid can be an absolute brat, but if he can memorize Romans he's a super Christian. I don't think there's really any way to combat it, it's something that has been happening since the founding of the Church. But that doesn't mean the NCFCA should perpetuate it.
6) Most importantly, the things of God should not be a competition.
1. Observation: I think this is your primary objection to Apologetics.
From a Christian perspective, I think there's something desperately dishonest and disrespectful about the way evangelicals treat scripture (see AWANA and company).
2. But why is studying the book of nature (science), politics, or economics any less a "thing of God" than studying the book of revelation (scripture)? Earlier you criticized the idea that apologetics is holier than other events but here you embrace the sacred-secular divide with open arms.
From a Christian perspective, I think apologetics isn't holier than other events for the same reason that ministry isn't holier than "secular" professions. If this is true, then it's harder to argue that competition corrupts apologetics any more than it corrupts another discipline.
1. Yes, the phrase "most importantly" would indicate that it's my primary objection
And yes, that problem exists in AWANA as well. I rocked AWANA.
2. I mean, it isn't if you subscribe to the idea that everything eventually connects to God. But forensics isn't about studying a science book or economics. It's about studying argumentation theory. This applies to things like interps, too. They are arguments as well, just a different kind (not to be rude if you disagree, but this is simply a correct statement. Read up on some communication theory). Since the beginning of rhetoric people have recognized that the best way to perfect argumentation is to abstract it from emotion and personal bias, and then apply those lessons to what you actually care about. Apologetics distorts that by marrying argumentation to belief. That is incredibly dangerous because it leads to sophism (I can expand on that if you want, I have written many a procedural about this against Ks), which the original article and +X both explained quite well. As someone complained about above, yes, I value pure forensics very highly, here "pure" meaning forensics as it's meant to be done. That's because I have seen firsthand how it can change lives and communities. So I guess the short answer is that, if you don't believe in the secular/sacred divide, the content of forensics should be only secular,* with the understanding that the skills can be translated into the sacred. If you do believe in the secular/sacred divide, like I do, then it's a simpler answer. Forensics should be secular. Mixing sacred into forensics is bad. I guess that would make apol holier than the other events, but that's not really my objection. I'm saying that making something that is sacred a competitive event is prima facia
bad. My objection by saying that apol is seen as the holier is creating a second class of debaters who don't do apologetics, either because they object to it, don't have time, or simply don't like limited prep (I was a combination of all three).
Another objection I didn't really explain in the first post is that it puts the judges in an incredibly awkward position. This is probably the main reason why I refuse to judge it. Apologetics asks me to judge how well someone defends Christianity, but as a speech event also asks me to judge their speaking ability. I don't know how to rectify that. If someone can barely form a coherent sentence, but is the only one in the room who isn't a heretic, how am I supposed to rank that? Extreme example, sure, but it would happen almost every round on a micro level. How is one supposed to rectify the gap between who's right and who's good? Debate and IEs are easy to answer. It doesn't matter who's right. Apologetics asks me to determine who's right.**
*This isn't exactly a radical assertion. That's the justification behind not using the Bible in debate rounds. Well, that and asking the judge to vote against the Bible, which leads me to...
**This is also why I'm against BI or using Bible stories in other interps. It puts the judge in the position of feeling obligated to put you higher in the round. I know this isn't just me because I've seen it on ballots many times. "You were really good, but you didn't talk about the Bible and other people did, so I'm putting them ahead of you."