Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Women in Apologetics (Part 3): Argument and the Woman Apologist

The following is Part 3 of the series on women in apologetics from Apologetics 315. This one is particularly good. If you missed parts 1 and 2, see them here and here.

Argument and the Woman Apologist - Dr. Holly Ordway

Why are there so few Christian women apologists and intellectuals?

They do exist; I should know, I’m one of them. But it’s a small sisterhood. I see women’s ministry leaders, yes; writers of Christian fiction and devotionals, yes; but active apologists and scholars, not many.

Furthermore, in my own experience, I find that my most interesting and stimulating conversations about books and ideas are usually with men rather than women. Yet my female friends are just as intelligent and thoughtful as my male friends. What’s going on?

Of all the possible ways to approach this question, I am going to develop just one particular line of thought here.

I believe that there are different modes of intellectual engagement, and that we often fail to appreciate the way that these modes function. What we often take as a tension between the intellectual life and femininity may really be the product of a mismatch between an individual woman and the mode of argument in which she’s attempting to work.

If we can better understand the different modes of argument, we can better equip both men and women to be effective apologists – serving Our Lord with their unique gifts in the fullest capacity.

I will present these three modes in terms of images: argument as Fight, as Exploration, and as Dance.

Our first image is that of the Fight. In this mode, argument is structured as conflict. In the Fight mode, an argument has a clear winner and a clear loser. Debates are a classic form of Fight argument: the debate opponents have distinct, contrasting or conflicting views, and they take turns striking as hard and effectively as possible, and parrying the rhetorical blows of the opponent. Debates are scored and a winner or loser is declared; the success of a debater lies in his ability to take apart the opponent’s logic or rhetoric and make points that cannot be defended against...

Read the rest here.

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