Why Good Arguments Often Fail

Making a More Persuasive Case for Christ

by James W. Sire

Why Good Arguments Often Fail
paperback
  • Length: 206 pages
  • Published: February 2006
  •  In stock
  • ISBN: 978-0-8308-3381-8
  • Item Code: 3381
  • Case Quantity: 48

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
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CONTENTS

Acknowledgments
Preface
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

Notes
Author Index
Subject Index

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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 more than twenty books, including the seminal apologetics title The Universe Next Door, which was first published in 1976 and has sold over 350,000 copies in five editions and has been translated into eighteen foreign languages.

Born on a ranch on the rim of the Nebraska Sandhills, Sire served as an officer in the Army, a professor of English literature, philosophy, and theology, and a lecturer at over two hundred universities in the U.S., Canada, Eastern and Western Europe, and Asia. He received a PhD in English from the University of Missouri, an MA in English from Washington State University, and a BA in chemistry and English from the University of Nebraska.

Sire's teaching and books often covered the concepts of worldview and Christian apologetics. He focused on the application of worldview thinking to the integration of Christian faith and the academic disciplines, as well as the nature of "signals of transcendence" and their relation to Christian life. His many books include The Universe Next Door, Apologetics Beyond Reason, Beginning with God, Scripture Twisting, Discipleship of the Mind, Chris Chrisman Goes to College, Why Should Anyone Believe Anything at All?, Habits of the Mind, Naming the Elephant, Learning to Pray Through the Psalms, Why Good Arguments Often Fail, and A Little Primer on Humble Apologetics.

For further information and a complete biography, see the IVP press release: James W. Sire, “A Keystone in the Intellectual Renewal of Evangelicalism,” Dies

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