They teach you that when in a job interview if asked whether you have a particular skill or experience and you must honestly say no, it is best to say “no but…” followed by sharing some other skill or experience you do or have had that is arguably comparable or at least applicable. For example, “No, I don’t have experience as a manager, but I do have a great deal of experience chairing committees in my congregation and leading volunteers.”
I think that rule of thumb is applicable for any advocacy, even beyond advocating for one’s own employment. So when asked, “Do you believe in God?”, nowadays I am inclined to say “No, but…I appreciate the idea that there is a deeper level of connection between all of us and have my own metaphor for that connection.”
If the person asking believed in God they might not buy my answer. There take may be that either you believe there is a deity or you don’t (or maybe you’re not sure). Isn’t this an unbridgeable chasm between the worldviews of the atheist and the “believer” (theist)? How can there be any common ground here?