Monday, December 23, 2013

Apologetics Pen Pals

Apologetics - the discipline of defending a position (often religious) through the systematic use of information. (thank you Wikipedia)

So my teenage duaghters are now looking for a fight.

By that I mean that they have been learning stuff about their Catholic faith and are ready to see how it plays in the ring.  The arguments for the Faith have seemed really convincing to us as we read them in our Catholic books.  But, hey, we were an easy crowd since we already started out in agreement.

They are looking to test their debate skills in a "safe" environment and this is mostly self-defense.

At the public high school, my girls seem to be enveloped in a circle of evangelically-minded, non-denominational Christians.   These are friends, classmates and neighbors.  And they are quick to ask a challenging question on the band bus.  They are quick to invite people from other churches to their youth group and super-fun parties.  Really? Indoor bounce houses and giant slip n slides?!?  (I am not making this up.)

Starting a religious debate with a neighbor or a friend seems unwise, especially if you don't have much practice.  And verbal debates usually are won by the person who can think quickest on their feet and who has the best memory for quoting Bible verses.  Does this really reflect what is True and what is not?

I propose the idea of Apologetics Pen Pals.  There must be lots of Protestants wanting to fine-tune their debating skills against Catholics.  It is win-win for both sides.

Here are the rules:

1)  All communication is done by snail mail.

2)  Either person can start the questioning/dialogue with any religious subject they like.

3)  Get information for your debate from anywhere or anyone you like.  If you don't know immediately how to respond, go find out.  Google it.  Ask your parents.  Ask your pastor.  Go read a book about the subject.

4)  You have to state your response yourself.  Quotes are fine, but you can't just refer someone to a book or video and expect them to get your reponse from that.

5)  The person who writes last and gets no response can consider themselves "unrefuted" in the debate.

This is a great opportunity to practice debating respectfully.  The forced, slow pace of the debate lends itself to calm, thoughtful response. Truth does not need yelling or insults to make it true.  Facts are facts.  It either is true or isn't.

This will give kids practice in writing, researching, and expressing their ideas.  In the end, perhaps, both participants will know more about Faith and Truth. (And it is fun to get mail too, right?)

Now, where am I going to find some Protestants ready for a debate?  Can't be THAT hard.  :)

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