Debate

From the Archives – Toward Arguing Better

Conservative Christianity needs more people who argue well. It does not need more people who quarrel well!

Scripture opposes quarreling, along with the behaviors the KJV renders as “strifes, backbitings, whisperings, swellings” and “tumults” (2 Cor. 12:20). But arguing is something else. Scripture calls us to argue and to do it well. Every Christian is obligated to develop and exercise the skill of thinking and communicating clearly with the goal of persuasion.

With that as a working definition of argue, let’s consider a few basics for arguing better.

Argue for the right reasons.

Why do people argue? Unflattering reasons come quickly to mind. As sinners, we often argue to gain the esteem of others, to defeat someone we don’t like, or to try to win an imagined (or real) competition for loyal supporters. Sometimes people argue because they have a contrarian disposition and enjoy the challenge and repartee. (For these, the question is not “Why argue?” but “Why not argue?”)

But for Christians, the proper goal of argument is to establish the truth or rightness of ideas or actions.

And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth (NKJV, 2 Tim. 2:24–25).

861 reads

“We live in a strange time when fighting for fundamental liberties while treating other human beings respectfully is seen as a sign of weakness.”

"If a person despises me for defending life, filing lawsuits to protect the First Amendment, or deploying abroad to play my own very small part in battling vicious terrorists, then so be it. That’s what some on the Left have done. Some on the new right, however, seem to despise me for not mocking my opponents, not insulting them, and not treating them as less-than-human." - David French

396 reads

Why Bad Arguments Are So Persuasive

"Sixteenth-century scholar Richard Hooker saw this problem unfold in his time over a question of governance for the Church of England. In his work, Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity, Hooker explains the kinds of arguments made by his contemporaries in this debate, while shedding light on why bad arguments manage to persuade large numbers of people." - Intellectual Takeout

423 reads

Pages