Debate Club

An Introduction to an Extracurricular Activity

By: Renessa Visser, junior reporter

Have you ever been interested in discussing active issues with other Redeemer students? Initiated by first year students Ryan Flokstra and Nathan Visser, Redeemer’s Debate Club offers you the exact opportunity to do so. When asked about the club’s goal, Ryan explained, “We started this club because we love to learn through debate, and we know that there are other students who share this desire.” So far, the club has met twice and discussed whether Redeemer’s core courses are worthwhile or not.

“We come to universities because thinking does not happen alone in library cubicles, but in the push and pull of conversations and disagreement. Thinking is social,” explained Professor Doug Sikkema, faculty head of the debate club. “One thing we need today (especially in the university setting) is to relearn this craft of thinking and speaking persuasively, winsomely, and charitably.”

When asked how they brainstorm ideas to debate upon, Ryan explained, “We decide upon our subjects through 3 steps. First, we brainstorm issues that will be applicable to us and the rest of the school. Second, we think about how the issue may apply to a Christian lifestyle. We then decide upon a “thesis” that we will be arguing. The participants can choose to either agree with that statement and prove that it is true, or disagree with that statement and prove that it is false.”

The club meets once a week for two weeks in a row, with a two to three-week interval in between debate sessions. On the first meeting, a speaker is invited to introduce arguments for and against the thesis. Ryan explained that this “ensures that the participants have an active understanding of the subject before they enter the debate.” At the second meeting a week later, the participants will debate while the discussion is “moderated so that it does not become a simple argument,” said Ryan.

The club tackles unconventional issues, encouraging students to allow their faith to influence every area of their lives. “My hope is that students at Redeemer would start to see that they need to not only know how to argue about marriage and abortion, but also about environmental policies, design, aesthetics, and more,” Professor Sikkema said.

Interested in participating in some mind-stretching and intellectually stimulating conversations? Email to join!