Advice for a College Speech

(Joseph Stephen Verdi) #1

Hello everyone,

I am seeking council on an assignment for my Oral Communication course at the Community College of Rhode Island. I have two speeches lasting 8 minutes each. The first is a informative speech and the second is a persuasive speech. The topic I’d like to speak on is Biblical Judeo-Christian Faith.

I am thinking about using 3 talking points for each speech and I’m contemplating using the same 3 points for each speech. For example I could do the validity of the Bible, the life of Jesus, and His resurrection.

I have about a month to prepare before the first speech. The group of students that I am speaking to are mostly non-believers and my teacher is outwardly against the gospel. I am hoping for thoughts, ideas, and suggestions on how I should go about this. I also have enough time to read a book or some literature if recommended.

1 Timothy 1:5
For the aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.


(Matthew Mingus) #2

So great to hear from you and to hear that you have such a passion for sharing your faith with those around you. Some great resources for information on this kind of a subject can be found online. I will include a couple of links in this message for you that will take you to debates between John Lennox, Christopher Hitchens, and Richard Dawkins. These kinds of resources helped me a lot when I was learning apologetics because they show the opposition’s ideas, and then provide answers from the Christian perspective as well. It also takes a little less time to get through then an an entire book since you only have a month to prepare. I hope that these will help you out and if you are looking for some reading material as well check out the book “The Case for Christ” by Lee Strobel which also has a video series available.
Above all, remember that when your present to your classmates and professor, present what you have with gentleness and respect. Our instructions given in 1 Peter 3:15 are very important, especially when presenting to people who are not believers themselves. I hope these resources help you out, and good luck as you work on your first speech. Make sure you let us all know how it goes brother. God bless you.

Matthew Mingus - Link for Has Science Buried God Debate between John Lennox and Richard Dawkins. - Link for Is God Great? Debate between John Lennox and Christopher Hitchens

(SeanO) #3

@Joeverdi It is great to hear that you want to be a witness in this situation. 8 minutes is a very short period of time when you are speaking, so my advice would be to pick just one main point - it is amazing how fast time goes by when you are giving a talk. Below I have included a wonderful book recommendation on how to practice the art of ‘Christian persuasion’ and a talk from Tim Keller at Google where I believe he provides a concrete example of Christian persuasion. Below that I provide an outline of a 15-20 minute talk that I prepared.

With only 8 minutes and a professor hostile to Christianity, my personal approach would be to try to get the class one big idea that would cause them to leave your talk saying, “I never thought about it that way.” I would not try to give them the answers. Instead, I would try to present one significant truth about Jesus or the Scriptures in a way they may not have thought about before.

The Lord Jesus grant you wisdom and open the hearts of those in your class :slight_smile:

Book Recommendations

Outline for a 15-20 Minute Talk I Gave

Why do you need God? We all need love, permanence and assurance.

To support this idea, I began with the Greek philosopher Epicurus - who said that to achieve happiness we must all deal with 3 things - fear of divine judgment, fear of death and anxiety about tomorrow (Love, Permanence, Assurance). Epicurus’ solution was to set your expectations low - be satisfied with just necessities (no one really does this). Buddha once said - “When pleasure or pain come, the wise are above them”. So their solution to happiness was to have low expectations and ignore both pleasure/pain.

I then quoted an Atheist placard - “There’s probably no god, so stop worrying and enjoy your life.” However, there is a problem with this statement in relation to Epicurus’ 3 questions.

  1. Fear of divine judgment - ignoring God may deal with divine judgment, but someone becomes your lover and judge. It may be your work, your spouse, your looks - but in the end you rely on something outside yourself to validate your existence.
  2. Fear of death - the atheist solution is to ignore it, perhaps via chocolate, alcohol and entertainment. Or by trying to live the good life and hope to leave a great legacy.
  3. Dealing with anxiety - there is no means of dealing with anxiety without God - there is no ultimate plan. Anything could happen at any moment, including death. My friend at work said he liked to jog because when he was running he could forget his anxieties because of the exertion it required of his body. Without God there really is no good way to deal with anxiety.

Now, here are a few quotes, two from unbelievers, that demonstrate the vanity of trying to find meaning in a universe devoid of permanence and God. They show that there is absolutely no logical reason why not having an afterlife produces meaning - in fact, it obliterates it.

Thomas Nagel - Even if you produce a great work of literature that is read for thousands of years - eventually the solar system will cool or the universe wind down and all traces of your effort will vanish. It wouldn’t matter if you had never existed. And after you die, it won’t matter that you did exist.

Mark Twain, became morose and weary of life. Shortly before his death, he wrote, “A myriad of men are born; they labor and sweat and struggle;…they squabble and scold and fight; they scramble for little mean advantages over each other; age creeps upon them; infirmities follow; …those they love are taken from them, and the joy of life is turned to aching grief. In the end they vanish from a world where they were of no consequence,…a world which will lament them a day and forget them forever.”

C. S. Lewis - You can’t really love a woman while remembering that all the beauties of her person and her character are a momentary and accidental pattern produced by a collision of atoms and that your response to her is a psychic phosphorescence arising from the behavior of your genes. In order to move from cold, animal like sensuality to love while remembering this fact you must recognize the hopeless disharmony between your emotions and the universe in which you think you live.

Now, here is a very brief outline of how Christianity provides love, permanence and assurance

The Cross Proves God’s Love

  • the King who died for rebels

God’s Care Gives Assurance

  • the Prodigal Son - the Father’s Open Arms

Christ’s Resurrection Guarantees Permanence

  • Lazarus (Martha - my brother would not have died)

(christopher van zyl) #4

It would be so cool if you could post your speech on here before you do it, and we can be the “skeptics” and ask you questions about certain points, so that it will be more polished.

@mmingus36 and @SeanO have great points and advice! So excited that you get to do this, and I pray that the Lord guides you and blesses you in this.

(Andrew Bulin) #5

I would do my best not to be too technical with Judeo-Christian lingo and go right out and make a persuasive argument for the Cross (if that’s your aim). Be bold and speak from the heart of Christ. Also, will you have time for any follow up questions? You could have some notes in your “back pocket,” but always remember to be prepared to admit if you don’t have a good answer and then commit to finding it later so you don’t have to make up something or feel out on the spot and can move on to the next.

I really like this idea! :smiley:

(Joseph Stephen Verdi) #7

Hey Sean,

Thank you for this information. I like the idea of speaking on a topic that students have probably never thought about like “Why do you need God” rather than me trying to persuade them that He’s real. I enjoy the set up of your short talk. I’m starting to consider an informational speech along the lines of a world without God and a persuasive speech on why a world without God would be terrible.

Thank you also for the book suggestions and video from Tim Keller.

(Joseph Stephen Verdi) #8

Hi Matthew,

Thank you for your suggestions. I do love all of the debates from the Fixed Point Foundation and “The Case for Christ” is great. We have been having Debate Nights at school once a month where we will screen one of their debates and try to have an open discussion about it afterwards.


(SeanO) #9

@Joeverdi Sound like interesting topics! Will be curious to hear how it goes. You might consider removing the word terrible from the talk title - it might put some people on the defense. Maybe something like - “Why God is Essential” or “Everything good comes from God” (book of James). You could discuss how everything we enjoy - music, camp fires late at night, friends - has its roots in the love and goodness of our Creator. Will be interested to hear what approach you decide to take.