Each month we will offer a list of action ideas so you can defend, honor, and celebrate Life in your churches and communities on our Take Action page. This month, we are looking at pro-life apologetics.
“Don’t talk about religion or politics.” And why shouldn’t we? Because religion and politics generate arguments, and arguments aren’t fun for anyone. Contrarily, the internet has provided us all with new opportunities to argue, harass, and insult one another’s opinions. How many times have we heard jokes about “internet trolls”? And when has a comment section ever provided meaningful, thought-provoking dialog?
Human beings in general do not handle conflict well—because, let’s face it, we love to be right. We love to be the best and brightest in every conversation. Add to that our increasingly polarized society, where dissention or uncertainties on a particular point of view can end friendships, and we have a world that cannot discuss difficult issues.
So how do you have conversations about something like abortion in this climate? Is it possible to talk about such a difficult issue with civility? Yes, and it’s important that we as Christians do so. Because, while abortion seems like an obvious evil to us, many people aren’t so sure. In fact, a 2015 Vox study found that 39% of people in America say that they are neither pro-life nor pro-choice. That’s 39% who aren’t sure whether ending the life of an unborn child in the womb is right or wrong. And if we can’t have reasonable discussions with people about something as important as that, we need to rethink how we communicate.
Stephanie Gray, an international presenter on life issues and former executive director of the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform, specializes in helping people employ pro-life apologetics. She suggests a couple of tips for starting meaningful discussions. Begin a dialog with a person. Listen to that person—really listen, not just prepare rebuttals in your head—explain why he or she thinks a certain why. Once you have listened and understood their defense, you can respond with truth. But it requires us to think beyond ourselves and perceive what is at the heart of another’s view of the world. And we can only reach that heart by starting with civility and graciousness.
We won’t be able to convince everyone. Some will respond to civility with rudeness and insults. But we are called to be better and to speak the truth—not just because we’re life-affirming people but because that is what Scripture calls us to do. “Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.” (Eph 4:15)
• Organize a pro-life apologetics class at your church. Practice engaging in conversations with people who support abortion or are undecided on the issue.
• Use your social media outlets to discuss abortion and end of life issues. Ask open ended questions and clearly require those who respond to be respectful and civil.