The purpose of a debate is to find out the truth. However, in most cases, debaters use this opportunity to try to impose their viewpoint as true. Therefore they try to suppress the Apologist. What the Apologist needs to do is cross examine his opponent. This cross examination is done with a view of getting the opponent to accept his argument as being false or weak. To do this the Apologist has to ask questions that would lead in a particular direction. These are leading questions.
Asking leading questions is the best way to bring out all the false ideas a person has in his mind about a particular topic. Constant badgering or affirmations is not enough. Asking leading questions will help establish the truth.
Not all questions lead in a particular direction. Some may be difficult or just sound intelligent, but would not lead anywhere. These are non leading questions.
The Apologist must learn this valuable technique of asking leading questions by studying experienced Apologists and communicators. He must also study the way others use this technique to lead people away from deriving at truth.
There is a definite purpose to asking leading questions. The following points explain this:
- To conserve time. Sometimes in a discussion or debate, a lot of time may have passed without arriving at a conclusion. The best way to save time and not dwell on insignificant issues is to use leading questions.
- To lead in definite direction. The Apologist must know in what direction he wants the debate to go. It helps only when the right questions are asked, otherwise, the debate will go around in circles without reaching anywhere.
- To get to the root of a problem. Sometimes a discussion might be so complex it is difficult arriving at a conclusion. The only way to solve it will be getting at the root of the problem and this is done by asking leading questions.
- To convince the Opponent. Sometimes the opponent refuses to accept the truth of a topic. The Apologist must help him along through a step by step process. Leading questions can help in this case.
There are two types of questions – intelligence-based and intelligence-devoid. These are further broken down into different categories.
The only way to find out something is to ask questions. It is how a person learns. But in some cases, only intelligent based questions can give a specific answer to a specific inquiry. Intelligence based questions can be broken down into:
- Inquiring questions. This type of question is used to find out a specific answer. This is generally how we gain the knowledge we have.
- Misguiding questions. These questions are asked deliberately to throw the opponent off course. Once this is done the real issue is avoided. Clever debaters use this technique to win their argument.
- Loaded questions. Loaded questions are questions where either a yes or no answer can hurt the opponent. These are the types of questions that the Scribes and Pharisees used to try and trap Jesus. However, Jesus knew exactly how to deal with them. The same way the Apologist has to learn to detect and counter this method.
- Leading questions. Leading questions help the discussion to go in a specific direction. This avoids unnecessary delays or irrelevant issues from getting in the way.
Intelligence-devoid questions can be asked by anyone whether they are intelligent or not. No matter how brilliant a person is, once he does not understand the fundamentals of a subject, the questions he may ask might not be intelligent ones. Intelligent-devoid questions can be:
- Irrelevant questions. Questions that have no bearing on the topic at hand can be labeled irrelevant. This happens in many a debate and discussion, even by intelligent people.
- Confusing questions. Some opponents deliberately ask questions that confuse the issue. They do this to lead the discussion away from the truth. However, there are those who also ask confusing questions quite innocently because they do not understand the topic being discussed. The Apologist must learn to distinguish the different types of questions in order for him to lead a successful debate.