How to Let Your Opponent Make Your Case

by Greg Koukl

Pay attention. Listen carefully. Think about the ramifications of statements others make in unguarded moments when they’re not defending turf.

Sometimes when a person disagrees with you on a critical concern—abortion, for instance—he will give your view a leg up without realizing it when talking about something else. If you stay alert, you might be able to leverage his point in support of our own.

A perfect example came from a pro-choice radio talk-show host when he took a call from a blind man who felt that people had sometimes treated him as less of a person because of his disability. The host was appalled. 

“Just because you’ve lost your sight, are you any less who you are?” he asked.

“No,” the caller answered.

“If I lost my sight or my ability to speak or do a radio show,” the host continued, “wouldn’t I still be who I am?  Wouldn’t I still be me?”

“It’s ridiculous for anyone to think,” he concluded, “that a blind person is any less  of a person just because he can’t see.”

It was a great, common-sense observation: Losing any physical ability can’t make any human being substandard since he still remains himself. Yet isn’t this very point implicitly denied in pro-abortion circles by the claim that the unborn is not a real person because he lacks certain abilities?

As I drove along, I bantered with the host in a one-way conversation in my car. “Listen to yourself: ‘Wouldn’t I still be me?’ Keep whittling away body parts and abilities and keep asking the same question,” I pleaded. 

What if the caller were smaller in stature, or weighed only a pound, like many preemies, or even less than an ounce, like a zygote? Would that make a difference in who he was? What if he had no legs, or his body was terribly misshapen by some horrible defect? Would he be any less himself? Would he be any less a valuable human being?

How many body parts or capabilities can I lose or alter and still be myself? The answer: No matter how many pieces I’m missing, no matter how many capabilities I lose, as long as I’m still alive, I’m still me…

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