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Tactics for Engagement

Tactics for Engagement: A Practical Study in Logic, Rhetoric, and Debate

Session 1: The Need for Tactics

In Session 1, the instructor was introduced to the class as an atheist who was a guest speaker, brought in to challenge the students on their Christian worldview.

The latter half of  the session covered some of the reasons that so many Christian youth leave the church, the types of reasons that people give for their beliefs, and the reason we ought to believe anything (“Because it’s true!”).

Session 2: Talking Truth

Session 2 covers the basics of truth: What is ‘truth’? Does the truth matter? Is there truth at all? Can we know it? One of the most practical tactics for everyday conversation is the “Road Runner” tactic, which is used to respond to beliefs that contradict themselves. This session also covers three ways to determine truth.


Just for Laughs, “Pink Elephant”


• Tests for Truth: See “Any Old God Won’t Do,” Greg Koukl

• Bart Ehrman, “Did Jesus Exist?”, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bart-d-ehrman/did-jesus-exist_b_1349544.html

The “Road Runner Tactic”: Frank Turek, “The Most Important Thinking Skill You Can Learn,” Cross Examined podcast, by American Family Radio, iTunes, 06/13/2016 [Search for the 06/13/2016 podcast)

• Speaking truth will cost you something: Reporter David Walsh and the Lance Armstrong case (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IWU9CAVrFAs)



SESSION 2 OUTLINE: Talking Truth – Full Outline

Session 3: Arguments Are Good


After we have learned the basic ways to test for truth, arguments become one of the best way to get at the truth. This session covers what an “argument” is in the philosophical sense (“a claim supported by reasons”), and how everyone, if they would seek to prove anything, must rely on arguments. The key principle is: “Whoever makes a claim bears the burden of proof.” We also evaluate an argument for God’s existence, the Kalam Cosmological argument.



Monty Python’s The Flying Circus, “Argument Clinic”

Reasonable Faith, “The Kalam Cosmological Argument”



More arguments for God’s existence:

Peter Kreeft & Ronald Tacelli, “20 Arguments for the Existence of God'”

Reasonable Faith, “The Moral Argument” (for God’s existence)

Reasonable Faith, “Leibniz’s Contingency Argument”

Reasonable Faith, “The Ontological Argument”

Session 4: Fallacies


Arguments are good, but some arguments are better than others. An important skill in the search for truth is being able to identify fallacious arguments, that is, arguments in which the reasons (premises) don’t really support the claim (conclusion). Fallacies are, most simply, errors in reasoning. We review some of the most common reasoning tricks, or sly moves, that make bad arguments seem convincing. The fallacies covered in this session are i) contradiction, ii) genetic fallacy, iii) straw man, iv) complex (loaded) question, v) begging the question, vi) ad hominem, vii) appeal to pity (ad misericordiam), viii) appeal to authority, and ix) false alternative (either-or fallacy).

Session 5: Questioning Conversation




Session 6: More Questions




Session 7: Worldview and Design


In this session, we finish off the Columbo question tactic by looking at the third form of Columbo, the leading question. We will look at the questions that every worldview must answer. Lastly, we’ll look at the question of design in nature. Was this world designed?



Session 8: Abortion


Session 9: Taking the Roof Off of Marriage




Session 10: Steamrolling Sexuality



Sam Allberry, “You Are Not Your Sexuality”: https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/you-are-not-your-sexuality



Session 11: The Story of Reality, Part I




Session 12: The Story of Reality, Part II




Question and Answer Session

Questions and answers on hell, the Bible, Evangelism, and animals going to heaven.

Ask Anything