Part 7: Greg addresses a situation where you may be tempted to take on the burden of proof in conversation about Christianity.
View other videos in this series here.
So when you consider using the tactical game
plan, which I've outlined very thoroughly in the book,"Tactics: A Game Plan for
Discussing Your Christian Convictions," there are three basic steps. One is to
gather information by asking the question, "What do you mean by that?"
The other one is to reverse the burden of proof by asking the question, "How did you
come to that conclusion?" And the third step is to make your own point using
questions. Now I want to tell you about one liability in, say, the burden of
proof. It's a burden of proof trick where someone is trying to reverse the burden
of proof on you. I call it the Professor's Ploy because professors like
to use this. You go to class, and you have a professor that is bent on destroying
your own convictions, and so they're going to go after Christianity as often
as they can in the class. Now, some Christians may not be comfortable with
that. They're in the class, and they want to go after the professor
who's saying the Bible is just a bunch of fables or something like that. I think
this is right-hearted but wrong-headed, okay? I know their heart's in the right
place, but I think it's a big mistake because it violates a basic rule of
engagement which is this: You never make a frontal assault on a superior force in
an entrenched position. The man with the microphone is going to win. You're
outgunned at that point. However, I'm not saying break off the engagement. I think
you can still be effective if you use your tactics, okay? So what would that
look like? I don't know, if the professor was saying that the Bible is a bunch of
fables, based on what you know now about the tactical game plan, what
question might come to mind that you could raise your hand and ask? How about,
"What do you mean by that?" Is that the kind of question a student should ask?
Sure. Is that a confrontation? No. You're just getting information. So he's going to
explain in more detail what he means by "the Bible's full of fables," okay? Now he's
done explaining that, I don't know, what other question might come to mind in
light of the tactical game plan that you can ask at this
point? "Now how did you come to that conclusion?" Okay? Again, it's the kind of
question that a student should be asking. There's no power play here.
However, the professor may figure out what's going on, and he's going to say to
you, "Well you must be one of those Christians who believes the Bible's the
Word of God. Okay," he'll say, "I got a couple of minutes. Why don't you stand up
and explain to the rest of the class why you think the Bible is not a bunch of
fables but it is actually the Word of God?" Okay, now what has the professor
just done? You probably figured it out. He's reversed the burden of proof. It's
on the student now. Now why is that an illicit move here? It's because the
student, the Christian, has not made any claim. He's just asked questions, right?
Therefore, the student, the Christian, bears no burden of proof, but the
professor is pushing it on him saying, "You disprove me." That's the
Professor's Ploy, and here's my advice. Don't take the bait. In other words, don't
take the burden of responsibility on yourself to disprove the other person's
point of view. If you haven't made any claims, and at this stage in the game plan
we haven't. We're just probing, asking questions, gathering information. Then you
bear no burden of proof. Just that simple. And so what you can say to the professor
or whoever you say, "Professor, you actually don't even know my view because
I never said it. I'm just trying to figure out what it is that you believe
and what your reasons are for it." So you don't want to take the bait when
somebody tries to push the burden of proof on you when you have not made any
claims. That is the professor's ploy, and do not fall for it.