Do you ever find yourself being pulled into heated discussions or debates about abortion because people know you are pro-life? Arguing and forcefulness will get you nowhere when it comes to changing someone's mind on any topic, so why would it work on such a controversial topic of abortion? When using apologetics your goals are to LISTEN, INSPIRE, and LOVE. Here are three key points that will help you achieve these goals in apologetics that work in any debate, not just abortion.
The first key point is to LISTEN and RESPECT so that the person you are having the discussion with will feel the dignity as a person we know they were born with–the same dignity we are fighting to obtain for the unborn–and with it they will be less likely to become as defensive. Remember: truth without love is ineffective and love without truth is a lie.
The second key point is to ASK QUESTIONS. It is okay to make some comments, but asking questions helps us to understand the other person's point of view, it can teach us about their background, their experiences, and the source of their ideas. Questions are more effective in discussions because it will help them come to a new conclusion from their own train of thought. Make sure you don't listen with the intent of asking another question, listen to listen because it will also lead to the third key point, which is to FIND COMMON GROUND.
Common ground is crucial in apologetics because it will help you relate to the person and help you have more strength in your questions. Here is an example: in the case of abortion, both sides want to help people in possibly desperate situations, we just have different ways of handling it, and different definitions of who a person is. The more commonality you establish, the less you will have to try to change their mind. In that example, you agree that people need help and hold common ground that those people include those who have been born. As soon as you change their mind about personhood to include the unborn, their ethics will change in how they are helping the previously established person.
Now it important to remember that you might not change every person's mind right away, but planting a seed in their mind is still having a profound effect, and can lead to later conversion. Apologetics is not a debate, there are no winners and losers, just two people trying to come to and understanding about one another.
**These ideas were taught to me by Devorah Gilman of Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethic Reform.**