Why Good Arguments Often Fail: Making a More Persuasive Case for Christ, By James W. Sire

Why Good Arguments Often Fail

Making a More Persuasive Case for Christ

by James W. Sire

Why Good Arguments Often Fail
  • Length: 206 pages
  • Published: February 22, 2006
  • Imprint: IVP
  • Item Code: 3381
  • ISBN: 9780830833818

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You gave it your best shot. You made the best case you knew how, and your friend still wasn't persuaded to follow Christ. Why is it that solid, rational arguments for the Christian faith often fail?

For over fifty years James Sire, noted author and public defender of the Christian faith, has asked himself that question. Sometimes, of course, the arguments themselves just aren't that good. How can we make them better? Sometimes the problem has to do with us and not the arguments. Our arrogance, aggressiveness or cleverness gets in the way, or we misread our audience. Sometimes the problem lies with the hearers. Their worldview or moral blindness keeps them from hearing and understanding the truth.

With wisdom borne of both formal and informal experience, Sire grapples with these issues and offers practical insight into making a more persuasive case for Christ.

Includes an annotated bibliography of resources for framing effective arguments.

"One of the key features of the book is the inclusion of a discussion on factors that persuade or dissuade people of different points of view. Sire is extremely practical in addressing issues such as the danger of the use of defective arguments, which often do more harm than good and the importance of sensitivity to the questioner. In three well-arranged sections, Sire discusses defective argumentation, how one's worldview influences one's beliefs and how to best present the gospel. He also, in the end, includes an extensive bibliographywith comments and suggestions that is invaluable."

Varughese John, Dharma Deepika, January-June 2010


I Believe--Help My Unbelief: Credible Witness

Part 1: Common Logical Fallacies
1. Love is a Fallacy
2. You're All Hypocrites! Unqualified and Hasty Generalizations
3. It's Dangerous to Believe You're Right: Causes and Contradictions
4. You Have Insulted Us All: Sentiment, False Analogy and Poisoning the Well

Part 2: Good Arguments That Often Fail
5. People Can't Communicate. What? Arrogance, Aggression and Cleverness
6. I Don't Get It: Misreading the Audience
7. What a Harebrained Idea! Worldviews and Evolution
8. Who Am I to Judge? Worldviews and Relativism
9. The Heart Wants What It Wants: Moral Blindness

Part 3: Good Arguments That Work
10. I See You Are Very Religious: Paul in Athens
11. So Why Should I Believe Anything? Christian Witness in a Postmodern World
12. Framing Effective Arguments: A Guide to Literature

Author Index
Subject Index


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James W. Sire

James W. Sire (1933–2018) was a widely respected apologist, author, and lecturer who served for more than thirty years as senior editor at InterVarsity Press. He is the author of over twenty books, including the seminal apologetics title The Universe Next DoorApologetics Beyond Reason, and Discipleship of the Mind.