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← What do you say to your faith-based neighbors?

Functional Atheist's Avatar Jump to comment 8 by Functional Atheist

I prefer affirmative phrasing, saying things like "my views are based on evidence and reason," or "I find scientific approaches and methods more convincing," or "I believe there are natural explanations for the universe and everything in it."

Your "I am not a person of faith" immediately puts you on the defensive, in that you are defining yourself by what you are not, using the assumptions and language of your opponents as the starting point. It is similar to the problem with the term "atheist"--as Julia Sweeney put it in her monologue about losing her faith, she prefers to think of herself as a "naturalist". Those who embrace faith are, in Ms. Sweeney's phrasing, "anaturalists" in that they reject natural explanations for what we observe in favor of supernatural explanations.

If the conversation starts with the assumption that you are the one with the "natural" point of view, in contrast to the faithful's supernatural point of view, I find it puts the faithful in the position of having to defend their assumptions rather than you having to defend your assumptions.

Fri, 09 Mar 2012 18:58:07 UTC | #925677