Good Arguments Aren’t Enough in Defending the Faith

by Lenny Esposito

Facts, reason, and evidence play key roles in apologetics. Christian defenders spend many hours studying the latest arguments for or against God’s existence, the resurrection, or other issues fundamental to the faith. This is good and necessary; familiarizing oneself with the latest arguments on both sides of the divide gives you a greater advantage at presenting the most persuasive case possible.
However, there is another piece that many Christians neglect which is just as crucial: how to engage in a disarming, persuasive manner. James W. Sire makes the point in his book Why Good Arguments Often Fail. He writes:

In presentations of the case for Christ, good rational arguments often do not persuade. I mean by “a good argument” one that starts from true premises and/or facts, makes no logical mistakes (fallacies), marshals a great body of evidence, answers objections, clarifies the issues and draws valid (therefore true) conclusions. 1

Sire then recounts the experience of one young Christian who recounted C.S. Lewis’s moral argument to an atheist friend. It didn’t stir his friend at all. Sire notes such experiences are typical. He then concludes:

When such rational arguments are made in the field of Christianity, they are often not just ignored but rejected. Why is this? Aristotle overstated the case, but still we should heed the warning it contains…

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Good Arguments Aren’t Enough in Defending the Faith | Come Reason’s Apologetics Notes