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Apatheist and ignorestic are terms that describe a person who is generally uninterested in their own religious beliefs, the religious beliefs of others, or both. As the term apatheist is a conjunction of apathetic and theist (or atheist), the term can apply to believers and non-believers. Those who believe in a god but do not actively practice their adopted religion could be considered apatheists. Among non-believers, those who have little or no interest in religious issues could be considered apatheists.

The philosophical basis for apatheism was summarized, and the term may have been coined, by Jonathan Rauch in an article published in The Atlantic:

"To be in the grip of religious zeal is the natural state of human beings, or at least of a great many human beings; that is how much of the species seems to be wired. Apatheism, therefore, should not be assumed to represent a lazy recumbency, like my collapse into a soft chair after a long day. Just the opposite, it is the product of a determined effort to discipline the religious mind set, and often of an equally determined personal effort to master the spiritual passions. It is not a lapse. It is an achievement."

— Jonathan Rauch, The Atlantic

Arguments for[edit]

Those in favor of apatheism argue that religious zealotry is responsible for much evil while an apathetic stance toward religion is the antithesis of zealotry and encourages a more peaceful existence. They believe that apatheism eliminates proselytizing and promotes true religious tolerance and that maintaining an "I simply don't care" attitude toward religion is an effective rebuttal against religious claims.

Arguments against[edit]

Those opposed to apatheism argue that it is based on flawed and naïve premises. Apatheism would certainly prohibit zealotry and proselytizing - but only among apatheists; and there doesn't seem to be any good reason to presume that apatheism could gain sufficient support to effectively eliminate problems between religions or between the religious and irreligious. This is especially true as those who are apatheistic should be unmotivated to spread their own views on apatheism.

Apatheism, appears to simply concede the fight to the zealots in the hopes that, eventually, people will see reason. For those who feel that religion encourages a dangerous mindset (by promoting uncritical acceptance of claims and a dogmatic resistance to change that defies reason and evidence), it is unclear how apatheism can be an effective response. Some would go so far as to say that an apathetic stance regarding religion or an unwillingness to challenge religion is directly responsible for the current power that many religions wield.

Those opposed to apatheism would argue that pointing out that the emperor has no clothes is far more likely to invoke change than turning away in disinterest.