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Apatheism (/ˌæpəˈθɪzəm/ a portmanteau of apathy and theism) is the attitude of apathy towards the existence or non-existence of god(s). It is more of an attitude rather than a belief, claim or belief system.[1][2]

An apatheist is someone who is not interested in accepting or rejecting any claims that gods exist or do not exist. The existence of god(s) is not rejected, but may be designated irrelevant.[3]

Scientist and philosopher Ian von Hegner has argued that apatheism is an alternative to positions such as theism, atheism, and agnosticism, with implications that have been overlooked in modern philosophical discussions.[4] Philosopher Trevor Hedberg has called apatheism uncharted territory in the philosophy of religion.[1]


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 deities or whether we can know about anything about them.

The existence of deities 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 deities or aliens elsewhere in the universe), human beings also are not second class. In this version, the existence of deities is thus not one of the so-called grand questions in life.[5]


The term apatheist is believed to have come into use in 2001 by author Robert J. Nash. Journalist Jonathan Rauch has claimed to be an apatheist.[6]

Reasons for apatheism[edit]

Lack of interest[edit]

An apatheist may not have any interest in the god debate simply for lack of interest in 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.

Related views[edit]

Apathetic agnosticism[edit]

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.[7][8]

Practical atheism[edit]

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.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Apatheism: Should we care whether God exists?". 
  2. ^ Austin Cline. "Definition of Apatheist". 
  3. ^ Von Hegner, Ian. "Gods and Dictatorships: A Defence of Heroical Apatheism". Science, Religion and Culture, Vol. 3, Issue 1, 2016. 
  4. ^ Franklin, Smith and. "Gods and Dictatorships: A Defence of Heroical Apatheism". 
  5. ^ Von Hegner, Ian: Gods and Dictatorships: a Defence of Heroical Apatheism, Science, Religion and Culture, Vol. 3, Issue 1, 2016.
  6. ^ Rauch, Jonathan. "How to Be an Apatheist". Beliefnet.com. Retrieved November 28, 2017. 
  7. ^ 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. 
  8. ^ 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.

External links[edit]