I spend an inordinate amount of time reading and commenting on stories gathered on the website Patheos. I bounce from the Evangelical Channel to the Atheist Channel. Both of these attract strident authors and comments, not unlike the far-right and far-left political adherents. The Progressive Christian Channel and Spiritual Channel invite the middle-of-the-road reader who need not fear a hammer coming through their IPad screen.
What if, as John Lennon lyrically penned, we could imagine there is no religion. No, not atheistically but simply no need to bother.
Apatheism is a new vocabulary word I learned just today. According to Wikipedia, apatheism is acting with apathy, disregard, or lack of interest towards belief or disbelief in a deity.An apatheist is someone who is not interested in accepting or denying any claims that gods exist or do not exist. An apatheist lives as if there are no gods and explains natural phenomena without reference to any deities. The existence of gods is not rejected, but may be designated unnecessary or useless; gods neither provide purpose to life, nor influence everyday life, according to this view.
In other words, an apatheist is someone who considers the question of the existence of gods as neither meaningful nor relevant to their life. Some apatheists hold that if it were possible to prove that God does or does not exist, their behavior would not change.
There’s more. 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 theological interest.
The term, cosmic indifference, is often connected with apatheism. Human beings, it is asserted, are often subject to powerful beings and other cosmic forces, but these forces are not so much malevolent as they are indifferent toward humanity. “Powerful beings” are not defined.
Fiction writer H.P.Lovecraft believed in a meaningless, mechanical, and uncaring universe that human beings, with their naturally limited faculties, could never fully understand. His viewpoint made no allowance for religious beliefs which could not be supported scientifically. The incomprehensible, cosmic forces of his tales have as little regard for humanity as humans have for insects.
Lovecraft may have formed this indifference theory because of his childhood experiences. At the age of 3 his father was whisked away to the insane asylum leaving his mother and him penniless. Adults are often directed by events in childhood, but this topic needs its own discussion elsewhere.
What I foresee in my crystal ball is many fewer theists in Generation X and the Millennials (and beyond) due mainly to their fascination with both science and technology. The Creator of the Universe is not to be found in the pages of the Bible nor is that Creator gentrified or even humanistic. In fact, they really don’t give such stuff much thought.
The simple technology of the Internet cast a bright light onto that dusty, hidden box of sacred religious truths. It was opened and displayed great emptiness. These younger generation Americans are frankly tired of the bs which fed the older generations- my generation. They love the new, the innovative and are barely tolerant of yesterday.
These new generations are forward-focused because Technology is their god. Dusty manuscripts written milennia ago by men who thought the sun, moon and stars were painted on a transparent dome above the clouds are, well, so yesterday.
Technology and the co-god Science rule. Religion and politics are in the same dustbin as the Commodore 64 and the Iphone 5. The term, Apatheists, might be appropriate in naming the newest generation of American youth.