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JLeslie's avatar

Is the word "affirm" one of those Christian words?

Asked by JLeslie (48217 points ) February 12th, 2012

I saw Santorum in an interview, and he used the word affirm a lot when he supported or agreed with an idea. It was a little odd to me how the word was utilized, but I understood what he meant. Is affirm said often in churches? Is that religious lingo?

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15 Answers

KatawaGrey's avatar

It seems to me that “affirm” is one of those words used by people trying to convince the masses to buy whatever they’re selling, and no, I don’t mean Christians in general.

I’ve seen a lot of con artists and Santorum is really just a con artist who believes his own crap, regardless of his religious affiliations use that word. It is con artist lingo.

filmfann's avatar

@KatawaGrey is right. Affirm is non-offensive. It has a positive feel, like you are agreeing with something that is right and good. It is used by Christians, but certainly not only by them.
and ya, Santorum is a douche

JLeslie's avatar

I was not thinking it was offensive in any way, just language used often in churches and speaks to people who attend. It was used in a way I would never use the word, but it could be a regional thing, not a religious thing, which is why I ask the question.

thorninmud's avatar

I do think it gets used quite a bit in a Christian context because it fits with a faith-based worldview. Faith is about belief, of course, but to say “I believe such-and-such” sounds a little tepid, as if one is passively accepting a proposition. To “affirm” has a more assertive feel to it, as if one is lending full support to this proposition, while stopping short of claiming that the proposition is provable fact. This idea of lending wholehearted support to an unprovable assertion describes the Christian worldview pretty aptly.

digitalimpression's avatar

As a Christian I have used the word (mostly when referring to every religious “debate” on fluther further “affirming” my belief in God)

However, I don’t think that I use it differently than any other word in the English language. It’s just a word.

JLeslie's avatar

I went back to the clip and he said, “were not affirming her choice,” talking about a woman’s right to choose whether to work, stay home, “we should affirm both choices.” He threw the word around a lot in his interview, I did not listen to the entire thing a second time to give more quotes.

@digitalimpression Thing is I never use the word affirm to say I support someone else’s or my own decision. I would say I support women, or agree with women, in the example above, affirm would not occur to me. Only time I use or hear affirm is usually said as, “affirmative,” in a very formal setting when asked a question.

digitalimpression's avatar

@JLeslie That’s true, and I probably wouldn’t think to use it in any other conversation either. So now what? What are you getting at?

rebbel's avatar

To me, affirm(ation) has a militairy sound to it.
Could that be where Santorum got it from (has he had a career in the army)?

zenvelo's avatar

Affirm always sounds new-agey to me, very 1990’s psycho-babble, expressing a positive but not definite stance. It doesn’t carry any Christian connotation for me.

marinelife's avatar

No, it is not a religious word.

zensky's avatar

I prefer affirmative.

thorninmud's avatar

I often see it used in formal statements by various Christian organizations expressing support for this or that doctrinal point. Take a look at this document, for example.

JLeslie's avatar

@digitalimpression Not getting at anything. I find it interesting. Recently I have become aware of how some Christians use words differently, define them differently, than the rest of the American population, even differently than Websters dictionary.. Cult and submissive are two we have discussed here on fluther. I don’t think there is any secret agenda or anything, just interested in how the words are used, who uses them. It’s more of a language, usage, lingo thing. Not a left right political tear the other side to pieces thing. The question about the definition and usage of the word cult was actually asked by one of our very Christian jellies, I found it very informative.

CaptainHarley's avatar

This comes from the Biblical injunction: “But above all, my brothers, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or by any other oath, but let your ‘yes’ be yes and your ‘no’ be no, so that you may not fall under condemnation.” To avoid this, yet to abide by the requirement to “swear” in court and other places, to “affirm” was made acceptable to those who wanted to avoid “swearing.” To my way of thinking, this was a focus on verbage rather than on meaning, since the word “affirm” carries a meaning so close to “swear” as to be virtually a meaningless quibble.

Judi's avatar

I don’t think it’s one of those Christian code words like, ” born again,” or “spirit filled.”. (I know there are more but I’m drawing a blank.)
Then again, I used to know all that stuff but they all wonder if I’m a traitor these days.

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