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 Post subject: Remove Apologetics?
PostPosted: Sat Jul 18, 2015 4:41 am 
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LocutusofBorg wrote:
…remove apologetics and biblical interpretion [sic]…


I'm really curious to hear your rationale. Ditching apol. sounds like a decent idea but I don't know why.

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 Post subject: Re: Remove Apologetics?
PostPosted: Sat Jul 18, 2015 6:37 am 
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I've never actually had to explain my rationale to someone, so this may be a bit rough, but I'll do my best.

Apologetics, or any event dealing with Christianity or the Bible, shouldn't be an event for several reasons:
1) It isn't in line with the goal of forensics. Forensics are supposed to train people for argumentation skills and public speaking skills and, ideally, is at least somewhat agnostic toward actual content. Of course, debate is the best example of an event where truth doesn't really matter, but speeches are supposed to be the same to a certain extent. Judges shouldn't be ranking competitors based whether or not they agree with them, but rather on the reasoning behind the arguments. The very nature of apologetics asks the judges to judge the speeches on the truth of their arguments in addition to their speaking abilities. This is furthered by the NCFCA preferring elders/pastors/Bible teachers etc. in those events. The best way to teach apologetics is to teach argumentation outside of the Bible, then let debaters apply those lessons to the Bible.

2) The event called apologetics isn't apologetics. Many of the questions by definition are not apologetic.

3) It makes forensics personnel. For the vast majority of competitors and judges, Christianity is at least ostensibly the most important thing in their lives. When you start discussing those views in a competitive environment where you are required to speak forcibly for what you believe (or want the judge to think you believe) without the chance for rebuttal, debate becomes personal, people get offended, feelings are hurt. Of course, this can happen outside the round too, but when you mandate people to talk about the Bible, bad things are gonna happen.

4) It creates an air of superiority among competitors. I can't speak to other events, but in R5 there is a feeling that apol is the holiest of events and, at the end of the day, the only one that really matters. It isn't. In fact I think it is literally the most useless event (for reasons other than what I'm listing here). It literally creates a caste system between competitors who do apol and those who don't.

5) It creates the feeling that in order to be a "good Christian," you have to do apologetics. Read the article I posted in the other thread. He was forced to do apologetics because "you're a pastor's kid now." In other words, "you have to be a good Christian now." I know from personal experience this is not an isolated feeling. This feeling is not only false, but simply harmful. Basically, if you are able to "defend your faith" (i.e. answer random questions about Marx),you are a good Christian and destined to do great things. Well, look at the artile I posted. Just because you're good at apol doesn't mean you're a good Christian. When you create an atmosphere that elevates one artificial event to the level of the "holy event," you hinder true Christianity by shifting the focus to being good at talking about Marx.

6) Most importantly, the things of God should not be a competition. Besides the rhetorical implications of saying "You are the best at defending Christianity," it seems pretty unsavory to learn how to do what the Bible commands simply for competitions' sake. Apologetics, true apologetics, not the [censored] version in the NCFCA, is good for its own sake and should not be something we give out awards for. The things of God and His commandments are not to be done for a shiny trophy. It trivializes Him and His Word. I don't know how to expand on that, because, like I said, I've never had to verbalize it, but I can give it some thought when its not 12:30 AM and I'm watching Psych.

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 Post subject: Re: Remove Apologetics?
PostPosted: Sat Jul 18, 2015 6:53 am 
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I don't want to get into a lengthy debate about this, but I'd just like to note that you don't see #3, #4, or #5 happening in region 7. Maybe those things happen in other regions, but in my 4 years of competing in the region, none of those things have happened in region 7.

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 Post subject: Re: Remove Apologetics?
PostPosted: Sat Jul 18, 2015 3:40 pm 
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LocutusofBorg wrote:
1) It isn't in line with the goal of forensics.

Who cares if it isn't in line with the goal of forensics, it is the goal of the league to encourage students to delve more into their faith and that is what apologetics accomplishes. Obviously just cause you know how to debate or how to speak does not mean you will be able to defend your worldview unless you've taken time to learn about it (that is what the category has done for me). If the goal of learning more about your faith isn't the goal of forensics then maybe forensics isn't the right goal to lord over the league.
LocutusofBorg wrote:
2) The event called apologetics isn't apologetics. Many of the questions by definition are not apologetic.

The way I see the category aplogetics is just as much about knowing what you believe as it is defending what you believe, because you can't defend something you don't understand or know.
LocutusofBorg wrote:
3) It makes forensics personnel. For the vast majority of competitors and judges, Christianity is at least ostensibly the most important thing in their lives. When you start discussing those views in a competitive environment where you are required to speak forcibly for what you believe (or want the judge to think you believe) without the chance for rebuttal, debate becomes personal, people get offended, feelings are hurt. Of course, this can happen outside the round too, but when you mandate people to talk about the Bible, bad things are gonna happen.

This argument comes up because, once again, you are valuing pure forensics to highly. Any speech can become personal and make forensics personal it doesn't have to be apologetics. For example persuasive can be personal, controversial, and offending. And because our faith is so central to who we are it is in so very many speeches aside from apologetics. And if people are getting offending I have yet to meet someone who has been offended.
LocutusofBorg wrote:
4) It creates an air of superiority among competitors.

I have never seen this problem in my region (region 10) and if this was a problem it would be a personal problem with competitors not the category.
LocutusofBorg wrote:
5) It creates the feeling that in order to be a "good Christian," you have to do apologetics.

It is obviously not true that to be a good Christian you must do apologetics but if people are having this issue it's there fault for making Christianity something accomplished by works it is not the fault of apologetics.
LocutusofBorg wrote:
6) Most importantly, the things of God should not be a competition. Besides the rhetorical implications of saying "You are the best at defending Christianity," it seems pretty unsavory to learn how to do what the Bible commands simply for competitions' sake.

I agree that Christianity should not be competitive, but I do not agree that we are learning how to do what the bible commands "simply for competitions sake." The category in my mind is simply incentive to learn more about the bible, which is the main goal of the category. For myself apologetics has been a chance to learn more about what I believe and develop what I believe more.

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 Post subject: Re: Remove Apologetics?
PostPosted: Sat Jul 18, 2015 5:38 pm 
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I don't really want to debate this, since it would be pointless. You won't change your mind, I won't change mine. It's not like I expect many people to agree with me.

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 Post subject: Re: Remove Apologetics?
PostPosted: Sat Jul 18, 2015 6:23 pm 
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Those things absolutely happened in region 7 when I competed and I doubt things have changed super drastically in the last 5 years.

I would like to see apologetics removed as well as the focus is entirely on sounding polished while giving the approved answer to the question rather than actually grappling with theological issues.

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 Post subject: Re: Remove Apologetics?
PostPosted: Sat Jul 18, 2015 9:18 pm 
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Db8r_from_Dixie wrote:
Those things absolutely happened in region 7 when I competed and I doubt things have changed super drastically in the last 5 years.


Things actually do change pretty drastically in 5 years, bro. If I ever found any of that to be the case in my first two years of competition, it certainly wasn't present over the past two years.

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 Post subject: Re: Remove Apologetics?
PostPosted: Sat Jul 18, 2015 9:38 pm 
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So you're saying someone could win an apologetics round by arguing against something like biblical inerrancy? :P

Judges don't want to hear competitors' opinions, they want to hear competitors' argue for the judges' opinions

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 Post subject: Re: Remove Apologetics?
PostPosted: Sat Jul 18, 2015 9:56 pm 
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Some parents [which ones?] seem to believe that Apologetics is the only redeeming event because it is the only explicitly religious one. LocutusofBorg and Db8r_from_Dixie, how would you respond?

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 Post subject: Re: Remove Apologetics?
PostPosted: Sat Jul 18, 2015 10:21 pm 
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Mr Glasses wrote:
Some parents [which ones?] seem to believe that Apologetics is the only redeeming event because it is the only explicitly religious one. LocutusofBorg and Db8r_from_Dixie, how would you respond?

I'd ask them if they thought C.S. Lewis was a good theologian and apologist. Then, after they answer in the affirmative, I'd tell them to read "Learning in War Time" (one of the addresses in The Weight of Glory).

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 Post subject: Re: Remove Apologetics?
PostPosted: Sat Jul 18, 2015 10:26 pm 
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Db8r_from_Dixie wrote:
So you're saying someone could win an apologetics round by arguing against something like biblical inerrancy? :P

Judges don't want to hear competitors' opinions, they want to hear competitors' argue for the judges' opinions


That's actually not what I said. I said that 1) Apologetics has not made forensics personal, 2) It has not created an air of superiority among competitors, and 3) There is not a stigma that you aren't a "good christian" if you don't do apol. I never commented on what judges do or don't like to hear.

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 Post subject: Re: Remove Apologetics?
PostPosted: Sat Jul 18, 2015 10:33 pm 
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Quote:
That's actually not what I said. I said that 1) Apologetics has not made forensics personal, 2) It has not created an air of superiority among competitors, and 3) There is not a stigma that you aren't a "good christian" if you don't do apol. I never commented on what judges do or don't like to hear.


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 Post subject: Re: Remove Apologetics?
PostPosted: Sat Jul 18, 2015 10:56 pm 
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I ask all of the following in the spirit of agreement. I generally agree with your conclusions, but I want to understand the supporting rationale with greater depth.


LocutusofBorg wrote:
2) The event called apologetics isn't apologetics. Many of the questions by definition are not apologetic.

What is real apologetics? Can you provide an example of a question that is not apologetic and an example of one that is?

LocutusofBorg wrote:
3) It makes forensics personnel. … When you start discussing those views in a competitive environment where you are required to speak forcibly for what you believe (or want the judge to think you believe) without the chance for rebuttal, debate becomes personal, people get offended.


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).

LocutusofBorg wrote:
4) It isn't. In fact I think it is literally the most useless event (for reasons other than what I'm listing here).

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.


LocutusofBorg wrote:
5) It creates the feeling that in order to be a "good Christian," you have to do apologetics. … This feeling is not only false, but simply harmful.

Why is this feeling false, and how would you combat it?

LocutusofBorg wrote:
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.

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 Post subject: Re: Remove Apologetics?
PostPosted: Sat Jul 18, 2015 11:51 pm 
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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.

Quote:
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.

Quote:
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.

Quote:
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.

Quote:
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."

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 Post subject: Re: Remove Apologetics?
PostPosted: Sun Jul 19, 2015 4:06 am 
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LocutusofBorg wrote:
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

Ok, so basically you are saying that NCFCA has an Apol section that they define broadly. And that's bad because...? I mean, the only real impact to this whole argument I can think of is that maybe NCFCA should change the name of the event to avoid confusing people. But everyone laready knows what the event is about, so I don't really see why it matters. :P

Quote:
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.

I suppose we should go ahead and abolish all the platform speeches and impromptu and extemp as well, since you those are all "soapboxes" too? You're logic could be used to advocate the abolition of everything except debate and interps. You're basically saying no one can ever give a good speech that isn't a "soapbox" unless they have someone arguing against them.

Quote:
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

Wait...so we shouldn't be able to use facts in order to defend our faith? We need to look only at emotions? If that's what you're saying, I'd love for you to give a good reason why.

Quote:
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.

I have never once seen ANYONE in NCFCA glorified as some amazing Christian just because they did well in Apol. Nor have I ever felt the urge to do it myself in order to feel like a good Christian. And I know lots of very good Christians who DON'T do it, and never will. Apol is generally seen as "the boring event." To me, this just seems inconceivable that people would be glorified for doing well at it, but if you've actually seen it happen more than once, I guess I'll take your word for it.

What I HAVE seen is people glorified for doing well in DEBATE. People who win in debate are SO much more "important" than people who win in Apol, so if you really wanna stop glorification, at the very least you should be advocating the abolition of debate as well. ;)

Quote:
it seems pretty unsavory to learn how to do what the Bible commands simply for competitions' sake.

What? That is not the point of Apol at all. Apol isn't "doing what the Bible commands" for competition, it's learning how to DEFEND the Bible for competition. Totally different.

Quote:
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?

That, like many of your objections, is totally non-unique to Apol. What if someone in debate can barely speak a sentence, but is the only one with good arguments?

Quote:
Debate and IEs are easy to answer. It doesn't matter who's right. Apologetics asks me to determine who's right.**

No, it asks you to determine who is the best arguer in Biblical-related arguments. The same way debate asks you to determine who has the best arguer in policy related arguments.

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 Post subject: Re: Remove Apologetics?
PostPosted: Sun Jul 19, 2015 5:29 am 
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Cybernight, I have already answered most of your points and, as usual, you are clearly misrepresenting what I have said. I'm happy to clarify my opinions, as MrGlasses asked me to, but I will not debate it.

(just fyi I'm not trying to duck out of it or make assertions and refuse to back them up. I was asked my opinion and I answered. If I were to start the discussion I certainly would be willing to debate it. I simply don't have the inclination to engage in what I think is a pointless argument.)

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 Post subject: Re: Remove Apologetics?
PostPosted: Sun Jul 19, 2015 5:07 pm 
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LocutusofBorg wrote:
Cybernight, I have already answered most of your points and, as usual, you are clearly misrepresenting what I have said. I'm happy to clarify my opinions, as MrGlasses asked me to, but I will not debate it.

So...I'm wrong, but you won't tell me why. Great. ;) I mean, if you don't want to debate, that's fine, but it's a little lame to say "you misinterpreted everything as usual" without even telling me what I got wrong.

Also, I am not willingly misinterpreting your posts, and I read them all very carefully, so if I don't understand them, maybe that means you need to make them a little clearer. :P

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