Arguments and “narratives” aren't the same thing

"Arguments tend to be focused on facts and logic.... A person presents arguments in the hope that someone else will have their understanding or thinking altered as they consider the arguments.... Narratives, on the other hand, tend to be focused on personal stories and experiences. ... Increasingly, the discourse in our culture is bereft of arguments but filled with competing narratives." - Ben Edwards

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Bert Perry's picture

The person who is delivering a narrative is actually indulging facts and logic, but just implicitly instead of explicitly.  Really, the use of narrative--stories, or "points of reference", or "anecdotes"--falls clearly in the category of inductive logic, whereby a collection of stories (evidence) is collected to allow the user to create a more general principle.  

The person using narrative may be doing it well, or poorly, but that is indeed what they're doing. Moreover, it's important to understand what it is for two big reasons.  First of all, if you want to counter a narrative, it helps to understand what the narrator is trying to do.  Second, a great portion of the Scriptures is narrative, so if you want to understand it, you've got to understand what the Narrator is trying to do.

One beautiful thing about narrative in the Scriptures is that it very often shows us where our own logic is deficient, really.  There are innumerable cases where I've done to the Gospels or other parts of Scripture to check a notion that its author considers "airtight" in light of the life of Christ, the Prophets, or others.  It doesn't show you where the logic is wrong, but it does give you the reference point "well, if Jesus is doing this, it cannot be sin in itself."

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.