Affirmatio (af’-fir-ma’-ti-o): A general figure of emphasis that describes when one states something as though it had been in dispute or in answer to a question, though it has not been.
A: How dare you challenge my right to believe? Space aliens. Blue bumblebees. Two-headed dogs. Talking frogs. Deep state. Walking on water. Chuck Norris. Barney. You fiend! You assault my freedom, my conscience, my faith!
B: Calm down. Nobody’s attacking your right to believe. We can’t function without beliefs. It’s your beliefs that may be questioned, and you should see that as an opportunity to keep your beliefs, change your beliefs for the better, or likewise, change your critic’s beliefs. Beliefs are mutable—that’s what makes them beliefs. They can change. And as they change, it can be for better and for worse. And ironically, what’s “better and worse” are beliefs too.
A: Stop trying to poison my mind with all of your belief talk. My beliefs are based in faith, which is based in other beliefs. Deprive me of believing and you deprive me of being.
B: Nobody’s trying to deprive you of believing. You can believe whatever you want to believe no matter how it may affect you and the people you believe are your friends. Look, I think we’ve taken this conversation far enough. Let’s put the vodka back in the liquor cabinet and watch TV like we used to do.
A: I believe that may be fun.
B: Me too!
Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu).
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