Thank you to all the young adults who joined us for the Council for Life Young Leaders for Life event at El Fenix Rooftop Downtown! We enjoyed an evening of fun fellowship, delicious Mexican food and margaritas before settling in to hear pro-life apologist Scott Klusendorf, President of Life Training Institute.
Scott had spoken earlier in the day at CFL’s Life Lessons event. His second presentation to the young adults audience was again filled with clarity, wisdom and humor as he equipped us to engage in the post-Roe abortion debate. He empowered us to communicate and defend our pro-life convictions in a reasoned, compelling way in the challenging culture young adults face— a culture that assumes the unborn are not human and reduces moral issues to mere preferences.
He began the conversation noting that everything has shifted since the Dobbs decision:
“We are all pro-life apologists now…An apologist is someone who lays out a case for what he or she believes and all of us are going to need to be able to do that in a post-Roe world.”
He asserted that the critical concept needed to persuasively argue the pro-life side is Syllogism. He explained that a “Syllogism” is two premises followed by a conclusion that logically follows.
To be able to effectively counter the arguments from the pro-abortion side, we must stay “tethered” to the following sound and valid pro-life syllogism:
PREMISE 1: It is wrong to intentionally kill innocent human beings.
PREMISE 2: Abortion intentionally kills innocent human beings.
CONCLUSION: Therefore, abortion is wrong.
But, he pointed out the importance of being prepared for poor arguments and a change of subject from the person on the other side of the conversation.
Scott calls the objections we will get to our pro-life views “The Five Bad Ways People Tend to Argue”:
- This assumption is ubiquitous (i.e., newspapers, newscasts, blog posts, social media, etc.). We must be prepared to recognize it and “call it out.”
- Make the other person argue and support his or her argument.
- “Trot out the Toddler” technique. Scott reminds us to tell the other person, “You would not kill a two year old for economic hardship so why would you kill an unborn baby for that reason?”
- People often do not argue on the merits.
- People will attack us personally rather than soundly refute our pro-life argument.
- Scott urges us to remember to have people explain why we ought to believe what they are saying.
- Ask the other person questions that make them defend/ prove their claim.
- Ask the other person three questions: (1) What do you mean by that? (2) How did you come to that conclusion? (3) Have you considered the implications of your view?
- Preference claims are spoken with authority in a post-Roe world that has become so flexible in its morals.
- The worldview of relativism says right and wrong are up to the individual and the culture, not determined by an objective standard.
- Abortion has been reduced to a mere preference, not a moral issue.
- People often cite rape and incest to defend all abortion.
- Even in the case of rape or incest, people assume the unborn child is not human.
- We must show empathy first for a woman who has been sexually assaulted; empathy is a powerful counter that transcends all of these bad arguments.
Scott showed a short graphic video of the remains of aborted babies. He asserted the need for visual evidence of the truth of abortion by relaying the gripping story of the movie Till that portrays the 1955 brutal killing of a young African-American boy named Emmett Till. Till’s mother’s decision to have his savagely beaten body exposed in an open casket at his funeral is credited with launching the civil rights movement. Scott emotionally stated:
“I am absolutely persuaded that if pro-life Christians don’t lovingly but truthfully ‘open the casket’ on abortion, our nation will continue to tolerate injustice it never has to confront and see…As Christians we can also open the truth of the Gospel… offering truth and hope.”
Scott proceeded with a Q&A and reminded us not to be discouraged and think we have failed if we do not win arguments with a pro-abortion person. He encouraged us that progress is made when our conversations provide people with something to think about.
Scott’s classic book The Case for Life is coming out in a revised edition this spring. It is a valuable apologetics resource, and includes clear explanations of the science and embryology that evidence how life begins at conception.
We are grateful to Scott for his One-Minute Pro-Life Defense HERE that incorporates the handy SLED acronym — Differences of Size, Level of development, Environment and degree of Dependency — as flawed, senseless reasons to justify the killing of unborn life in the womb.
SPECIAL THANKS to:
- Young Leaders Co-Chairs Julie Geyer and Patrice Peoples for their outstanding leadership and planning of all the event details.
- Father Wade Bass, SMU Catholic Campus Ministry Director & Chaplain and CFL Advisory Board member, for his beautiful prayer thanking and asking the Lord “that your Holy Spirit continue to unite all of us as brothers and sisters in Christ to see the dignity of every human person including those who disagree with us so that through your love shining through us they may see and know you who made us all beginning in the womb.”
We are also grateful to all young adult attendees. Thank you for your willingness to make yourself vulnerable among your peers as a bold, brave voice for the voiceless— the innocent unborn, each made in the image of and cherished by our Creator.
Council for Life