What Is Apatheism?

Apatheism (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.

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.

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. Philosopher Trevor Hedberg has called apatheism “uncharted territory in the philosophy of religion.”



Apatheism 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 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.




The term apatheist was coined by Stuart D. Johnson to describe the attitudinal lack of interest in theism that “accompanies the shift from sacred to secular orientations in the contemporary world.”



Apatheists may feel that even if there were a god/deity and the existence and legitimacy of them were proven, it would not make a difference to him/her for one reason or another, therefore, which one(s), if any, are real does not matter and any discussion about it is meaningless. This approach is similar to that of practical atheism.

Lack of interest

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

Apathetic agnosticism

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.

Practical atheism

Practical atheism is the view that one should live their life with disregard towards a god. Practical atheism does not reject or accept claims about God. Practical atheism has been mistaken with apatheism and pragmatic atheism. Apatheism sees the god question as irrelevant while practical atheism does not. Since practical atheism doesn’t address the god claim one can be both a theist and a practical atheist.

Adapted from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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