Thank you Justin Stacy for a Guest Post on the Ethos Blog.
I went into Regionals planning to break. I thought I was a skilled orator. I thought everyone else won by getting lucky. I thought bad judges were to blame for my previous losses.
I thought wrong.
We had our worst record of the year and our lowest speaker points. The last time I had a losing record was at my very first qualifier when I had zero prep and a partner I had never met.
Debate is a learning experience. I believe I have learned something.
In the post-fall world, the lines between a logical conclusion and a groundless assertion are sketchy. For a few rare people, the differences are clearer, but those people are the exception, rather than the rule. This means that logic does not always win. People rarely make decisions based upon a strictly logical, deductive framework. People sway with their emotions, their experiences, and their entertainment.
I have learned to interpret, analyze, and critique ideas. However, the ability to understand does not translate into the ability to communicate. That is my weakness. To successfully, efficiently, and persuasively debate, one must first learn understanding. But then, one must also be able to transmit and project his own understanding into someone else.
The NCFCA is a communications focused debate league. That means we should be learning how to successfully communicate. Other leagues, like the public school’s NFL, can focus more on argumentation when debate coaches are the majority of judges. However, the NCFCA has recognized that for Christians to spread Christ’s kingdom, they must be able to communicate the logic and reason of the Bible clearly and persuasively. It is not enough to understand the Bible. We must be able to make others understand it.
In our debating, we must not only point out the fallacies of the other team, the detriments of their plan. We must make the facts and the arguments connect with the judges. Be it through stories, quotations, anecdotes, jokes, analogies, or figures of speech, something must be added to pure logic to actually influence our audiences.