Definition of Apatheist


In the Atlantic magazine, Jonathan Rauch described apatheism as "a disinclination to care all that much about one's own religion and even a stronger disinclination to care about other people's" (Rauch, Jonathan, Atlantic May, 2000).

Lucky for non-Muslims, many Muslims are apatheists. They may be afraid to leave their religion for fear of the death penalty for apostates. But they don't care about its teachings, particularly the Qur'an's instructions to fight in jihad. Or any of its other terrifying ideas.


randian 8:07 PM  

That would be all well and good, if jihadists couldn't convince the apatheists to become jihadists by appealing to the Quran, Hadith, and Sira. We know that all too often they can, because Muslim apatheists have no theological foundation on which to defend themselves from the call to jihad, or to convince others to resist it.

Always On Watch 8:48 AM  

I believe that many Moslems are nominal only. Of course, the danger is that they could be "revived" by Wahhabists, who are well funded.

Citizen Warrior 8:58 AM  

You're absolutely right, Randian. The better choice, the braver choice, is to renounce Islam. You have probably already read the book, Leaving Islam, but I recommend it for those who haven't.

Citizen Warrior 9:05 AM  

That is a danger, Always On Watch. That's true. If we had a choice between an Islamic apatheist or an apostate, the safer choice for us non-Muslims would be the apostate.

But if you had the choice between a dedicated Muslim following all the instructions in the Qur'an and an Islamic apatheist, you know which I would choose.

Tallulah 4:15 AM  

Of course, the problem for us is that we can't read minds. A person's character is what it is. An apatheist may have strong ethics of his own that he would not cross and could never be turned to a real Muslim.

He may have well and truly left Islam in his mind, but never said so to anyone.

I've read a lot of former Muslims' testimonies, and it took a long time for many of them to face the fact that they weren't really Muslims anymore and then even longer to "come out" to others about it. The most common fear I've run across doesn't seem to be fear of violence or murder, but the expectation that their family will shun them. Sometimes the fear isn't even that, but a disinclination to cause pain to a parent. One young woman said that her brother and sister had left Islam, and their mother - for whom raising her children to be Muslim was her most important purpose in her life - was really in pain over it. The girl had finally realized that she didn't believe anymore, herself, but she had always been the faithful Muslim of the three kids, the observant one, the "good girl". And she couldn't bear to be the final straw that completely destroyed her mothers'purpose in life. The young woman was still wearing hijab and doing her prayers and agonizing over living a lie versus breaking her mother.

From our perspective it isn't easy to know who's an apatheist or, in fact, an apostate. Neither can we know who might be weak of rational moral conviction as "apatheists" and, under the pressures of life, become more fervent of Islamic belief.

It's not that every apathetic Muslim is capable of becoming strongly Muslim. Some are, some aren't. It's that *we* don't know who is who.

Oh, the problems of not being omniscient!


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