Wednesday, July 30, 2008

How to be a professional Pro-lifer

I promised to put up a couple of links to the American Protestant apologetics people I know about who are confronting the "liberal" secular culture and the abortion lobby.

Stand To Reason blog
Stand to Reason:
Greg Koukl, Steve Wagner,

plus a few others.

STR has an extensive archive of very good, very clear apologetics on a number of Christian doctrines and their work is not really badly hampered by Protestant anti-Catholic biases. This is an altogether laudable effort at expanding on C.S. Lewis' idea of Mere Christianity, and Uncle Jack features prominently among their sources, along with a number of Catholics. STR's work is focused on answering the secular left on religious and "social conservative" issues, including the Life n' Family ones.

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Scott Klusendorf came out of this school and worked with STR for a while before becoming more focused on the life issues and splitting off to do this as an independent. Scott's workshops got me going in all this when I still lived in Halifax. He has spoken to the Canadian Parliament, and the effect has been seen in some of the debates in the House, esp. in the debates on the Human Reproductive Technologies bill.

Scott divides his time between giving training seminars for young pro-lifers and debating abortion advocates around the country. He's the one-stop guy for learning the entire thing.

Scott has written the book on doing pro-life apologetics. Literally. You can order Pro-Life 101 here.

Scott's thing is to tell young audiences, "I want you to consider becoming a full time pro-life apologist, to do the work I do." When first heard him say this to a room of about 20 Nova Scotians, it was like an electric current had been zapped into us all. I found myself three months later boarding a plane to New Jersey to attend a five day seminar. (He also gives training seminars in how to do "support raising", to create a full time salary for yourself to do this work. This is a method of fund raising for religious missionaries that is very common among American Protestants, but of which I had never heard. I know a few brave Canadian souls who have done this, but what Scot perhaps fails to take into account is that this something that requires the American national character to pull off. It is not really something that many Catholics would be able to do, and even fewer Canadians, and I would say almost no Britons. But maybe I'm wrong.)

Scott has a lot of articles posted to his website that spell out very systematically the rhetorical method to approach nearly all the abortion lobby's slogans. If you read them carefully, and learn the basics, you too can start your career as a pro-life troublemaker in six easy lessons.

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The Center for Bioethical Reform:

WARNING. clicking on the link opens the front page of the site that has a very gruesome and extremely graphic video of an abortion that begins automatically five seconds after the site opens.

CBR is founded on the principle that images are the only way to reach people about the reality of abortion. The Graphic Images theory is one that I do not refute, and I've done a lot of GAPping in the last few years. But I also think that it's not always appropriate in every situation. The GAP (Genocide Awareness Project) has been extremely effective where it has landed, especially on university campuses, and it always goes along with careful training of volunteers who are taught to make the rational case against abortion without mentioning religion and without recourse to emotive answers. The pictures are only the ice breaker; the other crucial factor is the training. Without it, I think you are only asking for trouble.

CBR founder Greg Cunningham came to the national pro-life conference in Toronto I went to at the end of 1999 and said that the problem Canada's pro-life movement faces is that the Canadians are too polite. Canadians are afraid to confront and correct and argue coherently. Not only do they not have a firm enough grasp of the issues and the abortion lobby's rhetorical tactics, but they are afraid to step up. He challenged a room full of the Canadian pro-life movement's complacent and comfortable to do a better job. "We need more rude Canadians" was one of those electrifying moments for me.

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CBR + Scott's training seminar in New Jersey gave rise to the Canadian Centre for Bioethical Reform, run by the zany and wonderful Stephanie Gray and my friend Jojo Ruba. Same kind of thing, only with a Canuckistani flavour.

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Peter Kreeft is a professor of philosophy at Boston College and is probably the last Catholic in the place. He is a convert from Calvinism and has written 50 books on Catholic apologetics and is probably the only Catholic apologist in the US (which means also anywhere else, since it is only in the US that any of this is happening) who is also answering the "liberal" secularists. (Most of the Catholic apologetics being done there is aimed at answering the usual slurs of the Protestant fundamentalists ("Y'all do so worship May-Ree, an ah can prove it!"). I personally think this is a waste of time. It's not the fundies who are going to end up putting us all in camps and who have taken over the world.)

Kreeft is the guy and if you haven't made yourself familiar with his works, now's the time. Especially if you want to know how to approach Thomas but are scared stiff, as I was. Kreeft was the first place I ever discovered Thomas's five logical proofs for the existence of God.

A lot of his articles, and audios of a few of his talks are available here. He's a huge Tolkien and C.S. Lewis fan and has done a lot of stuff on them.

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Research and reference

I would say that if you wanted to buy one book that would teach you a totally comprehensive pro-life apologetic, one that covers in great detail and with lots of examples, the entire issue, this is the one:

Book -Pro Life Answers To Pro Choice Arguments by Randy Alcorn.

Other stuff that's good: Greg Koukl's "Relativism: Feet Firmly Planted in Mid-Air" on why moral relativism is self-refuting and how to answer it.

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This is the basic stuff. Get through this and you'll be pretty well prepared in the Laws of Rational Thought. After that, the sky's the limit.

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