"It is very important not to mistake hemlock for parsley; but not at all so to believe or not in God." Denis Diderot [i]

One of my sons asked me if I was a nonbeliever and of course I asked, "a nonbeliever in what?" I was not trying to be flippant, but there are so many things not to believe in that it is difficult to pick a place to start. Then I said, "I suppose you’re asking me if I believe in god?"

He was trying to find a way of categorizing me to a few of his friends that read my books. I had not given it much thought, but I have shunned traditional labels since college. What am I? Although born and baptized into the faith, I am not a Catholic.

If I must be labeled as something when it comes to theological questions, dogma and beliefs, I am an apatheist. I have no interest in belief or disbelief in any supernatural entity because the existence of gods is neither meaningful nor relevant to my life. When it comes to the realities of the world, I am more of a humanist because I believe morals and ethics are present within human beings without a supernatural genesis.

I don't care for the word "atheist," not because it is a bad term, rather, because it says little but has connotations attached to it that extend beyond the word's true meaning. Of course, atheist is the reverse of a theist, which describes a belief in one or more supern

atural deities. Both words spring from the Greek word "Theos." So what?

That's a good question. So what? Physician is a term that has significant expansiveness in that it encompasses a wide range of knowledge, activities and expertise. Scholar is another word that speaks volumes. Scientist, teacher or hobo hold more meaningful description than atheist because they represent life directions; whereas, atheism, as strongly as some may assert their position is little more than that—a position.

Everyone has a position. In fact, they are very much like colon exits—everybody has one, which signifies nothing except membership in the human race. That brings me back to where I started. I am a writer. I am a photographer. I am a teacher. I am a salesman. I am a father and I am a brother, but I am not a true atheist.

Theism, theists and theocracy play such a limited role in my existence as to be almost nonexistent, except for when they intrude into my life. Otherwise, they are not important to me in any way. That does not mean I will not speak out when they become irritants or become ridiculous, which is often.

Again, what am I? I'm not so presumptuous to think I'm Bright nor am I significantly motivated to turn it in to a career. For years, I have tried to find a word or invent one that indicates no interest in any theism of any kind and that word was apatheist.

Religion may provide a "comfort" for many people around the world, but I do not need it to guide, comfort or help me in any way. At most, I consider arguments as to the existence of gods, “. . . argumentative, incompetent, irrelevant and immaterial” to me. Thank you Perry Mason.

[i] Herrick, Jim,.Against the Faith. London: Glover & Blair. p. 75, 1985

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Tags: Apatheism, Atheist, Belief, God, Humanism, Religion


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Comment by Donald R Barbera on January 29, 2014 at 1:26pm
I hadn't heard the "blessed and highly favored" until a few years back. I was incredulous when I first heard it. One of my replies has been, "I'm handsome and very rich." That ones gets the eye rolls. I don't know where it came from, but it needs to go back. By the way, I am anti-religion. Over the past decade,I Find it increasingly difficult to hold my tongue when talking or corresponding with family and friends. It's like Saturday Night Live news. I want so badly to say, "Jane! You ignorant slut!
Comment by Dustin Roy on January 29, 2014 at 12:23pm

I don't usually refer to myself as an atheist because it seems too narrow of a term to describe my position against religion. Atheism is just the rejection of belief in the existence of God(s). Thus I usually consider myself an antireligionist or irreligionist.

Comment by booklover on January 29, 2014 at 8:48am

It does sound like that Loren!  I am stunned that anyone would say they are highly favored!!!!!!!!!!!  That just blows me away! 

Comment by Loren Miller on January 29, 2014 at 8:27am

Original Text: "I am blessed and highly favored."
Translation: "I am so full of myself that I sound like a caricature!"

Comment by booklover on January 29, 2014 at 8:19am

Wow Donald, I have never heard someone say they are blessed and HIGHLY FAVORED?!!!  Seriously?  I think I'd have a field-day with that one!

Comment by Luara on January 29, 2014 at 7:03am

Put it this way:  for me, my apatheism is composed of an interest in science, my belief in finding things out by investigation, a dislike of untruth and illusions, and trying to avoid assuming I know more than I do. 

Comment by Luara on January 29, 2014 at 6:53am

"Apatheist" is a term that needs redemption.  I think of it as a negative, scornful thing, because "apathy" is pejorative. 

But we are not obligated to take up an anti-religion cause.  Different people have different priorities, and we are entitled to spend our energy as we will.  My attitude towards religion is similar to yours.  I engage in discussions about religion here, but mostly because most of the discussions here are about religion and anti-religion.  I've gotten lots of new insight on religion from discussing it with atheists, but the subject is still peripheral to my life. 

Most of the atheists who are passionate about anti-religion, were brought up with religion and had to rebel against their upbringing.  So their anti-religion passion is personal.  If you don't have that personal passion, that's your own business and it doesn't make you any less an atheist.  Neil Degrasse Tyson expressed a similar attitude.  He has other things to think about. 

It sounds like you don't think of "apatheism" negatively, and that's good :)

Comment by Donald R Barbera on January 29, 2014 at 6:28am

Booklover--I certainly do not mean to give up the fight. Just the other day I said, "How are you doing?" to a person that is not even a casual acquaintance and she replied, I'm blessed and highly favored."I hate that reply and for reasons that you understand. It especially pissed off because of where I stood. I was at a local titty-bar (yes, I like to see flesh now and then). It burned enough for me to ask her, "Do you know where you are?" I HAD to point out to her where she was. "Since you're 'blessed and highly favored' what the hell are you doing here. Why is one of God's children working in the closest thing to a whore house? Are just happy that you woke up this morning or that you get to come to this place, show all of your private parts, have men pawing on you and facing indecent proposals all day long?" She got angry and walked away. I didn't care. I hate that response. In effect it says, "You are just a piece of shit and I am special." Anyway, I'm still in the fight, aggressively and actively.

Comment by booklover on January 28, 2014 at 7:52pm
I agree with you Loren that as long as there are people pushing their religious agenda, we will be called Atheists, and that's fine by me. I just always correct them when they ask if I believe in God- I tell them there is no such a thing to believe in.
Comment by Donald R Barbera on January 28, 2014 at 6:07pm

Cory--I stole it anyway! I pray the Mighty Odin doesn't strike me down. Wait a minute! Who is that has the thunderbolts? Mars? Neptune. No. No. Ah, I got it, Zeus! Live long and prosper--Don

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