Tools of Persuasion for Creationist Students
Strengthening Your Faith in College, Part 6
by Karin Viet, AiG–U.S.
November 22, 2011
As a creationist student, you may have opportunities to share about biblical creation. After discerning the appropriate time to speak, how can you persuade someone who has bought into the lie of evolution? Whether writing a creationist paper, giving a speech, or sharing in conversations with other students, employ the following three essential tools of persuasion:
Reveal the worldviews
- First, you must clearly define in your own mind and then for your audience where you stand. Everyone has a worldview. Your worldview is simply how you view the world, interpreting life through a particular belief system. This view is shown by how you act because your behavior reflects your beliefs. Your starting beliefs, or presuppositions, will either be based on God’s unchanging, infallible Word or on the changing, fallible opinions of man.
- As you write or speak, you must be prepared to defend the biblical worldview as the only true and rational worldview. You can unashamedly make known the Bible as the source of your worldview because only a biblical worldview makes sense of the world, providing the basis for logic, morality, and science. Explore these links to learn how to explain to people that all other beliefs borrow from a biblical worldview.
- As you share evidence for your view, realize you cannot make the evidence the main issue. The issue is how one interprets the evidence based on worldviews. Highlight this for your audience. For example, if you’re writing about a particular fossil find, explain how someone with a naturalistic worldview would interpret the age of the fossil using uniformitarian dating methods and assumptions of an old earth. However, a biblical creationist would interpret the age of that same fossil using dating methods and assumptions based on biblical truth of a young earth and global Flood. Emphasize how neither the evolutionist nor the creationist was there to observe the formation of the fossil; they both must rely on their worldviews to help them interpret the evidence. Which worldview is true? That is the central question. Are you ready to give an answer—to give the reason for your confident hope (1 Peter 3:15)? Start preparing now!
Research the evidence
- Although worldview is the main issue, the evidence, when viewed correctly, will line up with a biblical worldview and can lend credibility to the biblical worldview for those considering it.
- When choosing a topic for a creationist paper or speech, find one with a clear difference between the evolutionist and creationist interpretations.
- Take time and care to research the evidence. Beware of hurting people’s perception of a biblical worldview by not researching thoroughly or by promoting a faulty creationist argument. Research creation issues using AiG’s Get Answers. Keep current on scientific findings through News to Note.
- Avoid logical fallacies. You may find our series on logical fallacies helpful.
Relate to your audience
- Strategize how best to organize your report or speech or discussion in order to persuade. Consider the prevailing view of your audience. If mainly evolutionists, you might start by summarizing the evidence. Then, respectfully examine the evidence from the evolutionist viewpoint, making sure to reveal that worldview. Then, show how the evidence can be interpreted from the biblical creationist worldview. In short, contrast the views and show how the biblical worldview is the only rational worldview and makes the best sense of the evidence.
- If your audience consists of fellow believers who have compromised positions on Genesis, focus all the more on biblical authority. Compromised positions—like the day-age view, gap theory, or theistic evolution—have inherent weaknesses you can reveal, but concentrate most of your effort on showing how these flawed positions slight biblical authority. If we must reinterpret the clear historical narrative of Genesis 1–11 to fit with the opinion of society, how can we trust the rest of Scripture? Also, if the creation account is actually the story of long ages of evolution, then death is just a means of progression to higher life forms, not a result of sin (Romans 5:12–19). So, explain how reinterpreting Genesis attacks biblical authority and the gospel.
- If your audience is your professor, consider the assignment and verify that your paper or speech is on target. Not every assignment will be appropriate for a creation topic.
- Begin to learn your audience’s common objections and arguments. By preparing yourself with ultimate apologetics, you will be ready always with a fool-proof response.
- Consider the attitude of your audience in order to discern how to respond. Maybe they are bitter at hypocritical Christians in the church. Demonstrate Christ-like character to them, but also explain that poor testimonies do not negate the truth of the biblical worldview. Maybe they are open but skeptical, having a skewed understanding of creationism. In that case, give logical answers for the biblical worldview and biblical creation. If they are antagonistic, seek to diffuse the anger with a soft answer (Proverbs 15:1). If mocking or quarrelsome, it may not be the proper time to share (Matthew 7:6). Guard against getting into a heated argument. Your goal is not to win a debate but for God to reach a heart. If you are sharing with unbelievers, your goal is to show them the supremacy of the biblical worldview so that they will consider Christ. If sharing with a believer who has a compromised position on Genesis, your goal is to help him see God’s Word as the authority, not man’s opinion (2 Timothy 3:16).
- Remember that persuasion takes patience and gentleness. “
By long forbearance a ruler is persuaded, and a gentle tongue breaks a bone” (Proverbs 25:15). Don’t expect someone to change the first time you present the truth. Share humbly and persistently, praying for God to work in hearts as only He can (1 Corinthians 3:6–8).
So prepare and share the truth passionately with the object to persuade. “
Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men” (2 Corinthians 5:11). What a privilege to serve as God’s ambassadors (2 Corinthians 5:20). As you faithfully tell the truth, trust the Lord with the outcome and pray for Him to shine into dark hearts. “
For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:6).
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