Monday, August 21, 2017

Making the Case for Life on Campus

A few months ago I published a piece explaining how to get the training necessary to become an effective pro-life ambassador over the course of the summer(if you missed it, click here).

Now, with the school season just around the corner, it may be a little bit late to pick up a book-length treatment on the subject of abortion. How can you become trained and equipped to persuasively communicate your views this fall, whether on a college campus, or even in high school? Here are some suggestions:

1. Study resources that are immediately available to you: When I first started attending college back in 2013, I was constantly studying Christian apologetics during my free time, so as to help equip myself to understand the issues I would be encountering on campus, and to be able to respond appropriately to the intellectual challenges on the campus. This proved to be invaluable, both to my education and in helping me craft my worldview while I was pursuing my academic career.

The are multiple resources available that can help you accomplish this. Websites are a great tool, and there are many pro-life and apologetic websites available. Below are a couple of my favorites: There is a graphic abortion video that plays on the homescreen automatically)

While websites are good, having a book length treatment on the abortion issue handy is an even more important strategy. While reading non-class materials during the semester can be hard to accomplish, there are short, concise titles available to choose from:
Stand for Life by Scott Klusendorf
Love Unleashes Life by Stephanie Grey
Politically Correct Death by Francis Beckwith(a longer title, but a really good handbook of arguments)
Pro-life Answers to Pro-Choice Arguments by Randy Alcorn.

If you just don't have the time for reading, try out podcasts. They are inexpensive(ie "Free") and can be listened to while driving, working out, doing chores, or simply relaxing. They are a great way to learn the pro-life issue, current events, and the pro-life apologetics. The Life Training Institute has started our own pro-life apologetics podcast, where we discuss ongoing events and do regular episodes on issues related to pro-life apologetics in particular.

2. Take advantage of your school library

Many universities and community colleges give free access to their online databases for students and faculty members. This is key. The online databases can help you search for academic works by pro-life scholars, such as Don Marquis, Francis Beckwith, Robert George, and others.

Conversely, many of these pieces are not normally available unless one has a subscription to an academic philosophy or legal journal, so be sure to use the database.

Many of these articles are responses to or critiques of academic pro-choice arguments; most notably, arguments from "bodily autonomy" and personhood arguments. If you are looking for a good critique, this is the place to go.

3. Present Your Case Winsomely and Effectively

Now that you have the knowledge of the pro-life view, it is time to put it to use. Join a pro-life, politically conservative, or Christian club on campus, and connect with other like minded students. Many students may be pro-life on the issue of abortion, but are not doing anything to present that view clearly, carefully, and persuasively.

That ends now. Challenge like minded students to study up on the topic(using resources listed) and then "take it to the streets" by engaging in conversations. It doesn't have to be anything big; one-on-one conversations can accomplish wonders.

However, it is important to make sure that a student group that takes the issue seriously makes an effort to present their view to the larger campus community. Consider hosting a public outreach on campus for a day during the semester. Justice For All, Students for Life, Center for Bio-Ethical Reform, and other organizations do a fantastic job of helping make the case for life on campus, and teaching students to do so as well.

Afterwards, follow the display up with an event promoting solid arguments for the pro-life view. Organizing a formal debate is a great way of accomplishing that. This will give the pro-choice advocates on campus a chance to present their case, and a chance to show how the pro-life view handles common criticisms and objections.

Doing these three things can help you become an equipped and confident pro-life case maker on your college campus and in your community at large.

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