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Apatheism (// a portmanteau of apathy and theism) is the philosophical view that one should be apathetic towards the existence or non-existence of god(s). It is more of an attitude rather than a belief, claim or belief system.
An apatheist is someone who is not interested in accepting or rejecting any claims that gods exist or do not exist. An apatheist may thus decide to live as if there are no gods. The existence of god(s) is not rejected, but may be designated irrelevant.
One version considers the question of the existence or nonexistence of deities to be fundamentally irrelevant in every way that matters. This position should not be understood as a skeptical position in a manner similar to that of, for example, atheists or agnostics who question the existence of the gods or whether we can know about the gods.
The existence of gods is not put aside for moral or epistemic reasons – for democratic or existential reasons, it is deemed unnecessary. This is a universalization of the fundamental democratic principle that there are no first- and second-class humans and that among other species or beings (including hypothetical gods or aliens elsewhere in the universe), human beings also are not second class. In this version the existence of the gods is thus not one of the so-called grand questions in life.
The term apatheist is believed to have come into use in the early 2000s. Journalist Jonathan Rauch has claimed to be an apatheist.
Reasons for apatheism
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Lack of interest
An apatheist may not have any interest in the god debate just purely because of their lack of interest on the topic.
This apatheistic argument states that morals do not come from god and that if a god exists there would be no changes with regards to morality, therefore a god's existence or non-existence is irrelevant.
Lack of clarity
An apatheist would argue that if a deity or deities truly wanted people to believe in them, then said deity or deities could demonstrate their existence with miracles, and explain their plan(s) for humanity or the lack thereof. Being all-powerful, if they truly wanted humans to believe, they could send a divine sign not left up to interpretation. This is also a popular argument with antitheists; Matt Dillahunty makes it with great frequency.
Since they do not seem to care if humans believe or not, apatheists will not care until they show them a reason to, and perhaps not even if such an event occurred. Richard Dawkins has gone so far as to claim this position in interviews (this is in essence the argument from nonbelief).
A view related to apatheism, apathetic agnosticism claims that no amount of debate can prove or disprove the existence of one or more deities, and if one or more deities exist, they do not appear to be concerned about the fate of humans. Therefore, their existence has little to no impact on personal human affairs and should be of little interest. It can be summarized by the statement "I don't know and I don't care."
The view that one should live their life with disregard towards a god or gods. Practical atheism doesn't see the god question as irrelevant, in contrast to apatheism.
- Practical atheism
- Cosmic indifferentism
- Creator in Buddhism
- "Apatheism: Should we care whether God exists?".
- Austin Cline. "Definition of Apatheist".
- Von Hegner, Ian. "Gods and Dictatorships: A Defence of Heroical Apatheism". Science, Religion and Culture, Vol. 3, Issue 1, 2016.
- Von Hegner, Ian: Gods and Dictatorships: a Defence of Heroical Apatheism, Science, Religion and Culture, Vol. 3, Issue 1, 2016.
- "Ibo et Non Redibo: Thinking Through the Evidence with Richard Dawkins", Adam Hincks, S.J., Feb 1, 2013
- John Tyrrell (1996). "Commentary on the Articles of Faith". Archived from the original on 2007-08-07.
To believe in the existence of a god is an act of faith. To believe in the nonexistence of a god is likewise an act of faith. There is no verifiable evidence that there is a Supreme Being nor is there verifiable evidence there is not a Supreme Being. Faith is not knowledge. We can only state with assurance that we do not know.
- Austin Cline. "What is Apathetic Agnosticism?".
- Von Hegner, Ian. Gods and Dictatorships: A Defence of Heroical Apatheism, Science, Religion and Culture, Vol. 3, Issue 1, 2016.