Purely by coincidence, I recently came across videos of two speakers addressing similar topics, but with drastically contrasting styles (“drastically” isn’t anywhere near an adequate enough word, as you’ll soon see).
The first clip is taken from Julia Sweeney’s longer monologue called “Letting Go of God” in which she discusses why she’s an atheist. I later found and watched the rest of the monologue and was impressed by her ability to connect with the audience about a sensitive topic. She’s a remarkably good storyteller and compulsively watchable. The clip will give you a flavor for her style.
The second clip is from writer and speaker, Pat Condell, on a topic he calls “aggressive atheism.” He’s not explaining why he’s an atheist so much as he’s making emphatically clear why he thinks vociferous atheism is justified. While not entirely an apples to apples comparison with Sweeney, they are both giving a defense of sorts for atheism, albeit from different perspectives. Very much unlike Sweeney, Condell isn’t interested in telling a story about his position — he’s all about DIRECT communication (and I’ll warn you now, he’s unabashedly direct).
I’m interested to know, which style do you think is more effective? Whether or not you agree with either speaker isn’t really the point. In fact, even if you do agree with one or both of them, it might be useful to imagine that you don’t, or that you’re undecided, and judge which one speaks to you most persuasively. Here we go…
[youtubevid id=”geRUTfgTQlo”] [youtubevid id=”yjO4duhMRZk”]