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Definition of Apatheist



Apatheism is defined as apathy towards belief and disbelief in gods. This definition of apatheism is derived from the fact that apatheism is a portmanteau of apathy and theism / atheism. Apatheism can be described as the position that neither the existence nor the nonexistence of gods is important, thus neither belief in nor denial of gods is important. For this reason apatheism overlaps with pragmatic atheism and practical atheism.

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

Apatheism sometimes goes a bit further and asserts that even if it were proven conclusively and without a doubt that some sort of god existed, then the person's 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, apatheism is applied 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-ist
Also Known As: pragmatic atheist, practical atheist
Common Misspellings: apathiest
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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