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Definition of Apatheism



An apatheist is defined as a person who is apathetic towards belief and disbelief in gods. This definition of apatheist is derived from the fact that apatheist is a portmanteau of apathy and theist / atheist. An apatheist can be described as one for whom neither the existence nor the nonexistence of gods is important, thus neither belief in nor denial of gods is important. The label apatheist overlaps with pragmatic atheist and practical atheist.

On a practical level, an apatheist eschews positively asserting the existence or nonexistence of gods. Apatheists must therefore be regarded as holding a particular attitude towards a type of belief, not holding a particular a belief or disbelief itself.

Apatheists sometimes go a bit further and assert that even if it were proven conclusively and without a doubt that some sort of god existed, then their general behavior and life would not change — thus the existence of gods is not only irrelevant now but would be irrelevant in the future no matter what sort of evidence or proof is present.

In some cases, apatheists apply their position more broadly to all religions and even to all belief systems and ideologies, not just to belief and disbelief in the existence of gods. This broader sort of apathy and apatheism would be more correctly labeled Indifferentism, though because that label comes from Catholic theology it's not one familiar to most people.

Pronunciation: ap-uh-thee-iz-uhm
Also Known As: pragmatic atheism, practical atheism
Common Misspellings: apathiesm
Apatheism is to be celebrated as nothing less than a major civilizational advance. Religion, as countless acts of violence in the name of God have underscored, remains the most divisive and volatile of social forces.
- Jonathan Rauch, The Atlantic Monthly, May, 2003

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