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Why We Debate (By: Konrad Hack)

Updated: Mar 23, 2019

Are you wondering whether or not you (or your child) should participate in speech and debate competition (called forensics competition)? Be forewarned -- can be exhausting, expensive, exasperating, and all-encompassing. Yet, that very same competition is educational, edifying, equipping, and exhilarating.

Without a doubt, the time you (or your child) will spend competing -- and preparing to compete -- will be life-changing (for the better). Consider just two of the many studies on this topic.

First, Dr. Jack Rogers, writing in the 2002 issue of Contemporary Argumentation and Advocacy, noted that “participation in intercollegiate, competitive debate teaches critical thinking, research identification, collection, organization and assimilation, evidence evaluation, practical and theoretical argument and counter-argument development, persuasive writing, and intelligent, articulate oral advocacy. In addition to these contextual skills, debate participation boasts an impressive array of non-linear benefits. Debaters are more confident and self-assured. They are poised under pressure and think quickly on their feet.”

Second, 91 percent of employers surveyed by the Association of American Colleges and Universities said that for career success, "a candidate's demonstrated capacity to think critically, communicate clearly and solve complex problems is more important than his or her undergraduate major." These are precisely the skills that speech and debate competition will instill in you.

The life skills imparted by forensics competition also enhance your (or your child’s) spiritual growth. Consider the Apostle Paul’s admonition to the Colossians to “let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person” (Colossians4:6). The Apostle Peter implores Christians to “honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15).

So why debate? Quite simply, it is to make you an effective citizen of this world, and to equip you to be part of God’s Kindgom to change this world.

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