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Ask the Patriarch 26
"Apathetic" is just a joke, right?

from Mike Sechler

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I think the apathetic in your church name must be a joke right? I mean why would someone who is apathetic about knowing whether God exists take the time to form a church or even have this website. May I suggest "antagonistic agnostic" (in keeping with the alliteration), or perhaps evangelistic agnostic (which seems like an oxymoron, but also appears to be what you are doing.)

As an evangelistic believer in God, I have a friend who is truly an apathetic agnostic, and he really does not want to talk about God at all.

Just a suggestion.

The Patriarch replies:


I really don't understand why people have a problem with this - apathetic about the existence of god, but downright militant about promoting apathetic agnosticism.

Of course, everyone who bring this issue up has been apathetic about reading far enough into the web site where this is discussed at least half a dozen times. (I could give you an exact number if I wasn't apathetic about taking the time to do the count.)

John Tyrrell

Mike Sechler responds:


Your right, I was fairly apathetic about your reading further, although I did spend over 10 minutes on the site and did not find the answer readily available. I still don't understand though how you can be militantly apathetic about anything. If you are promoting a belief system or even a non-belief system, it would seem that you are no longer apathetic in your non-belief. If fact you seem to be trying hard to promote not just apathetic agnosticism, but active agnosticism. If you are actively trying to convince others to become agnostic (apathetic or otherwise) then you are no longer apathetic, because you must at some point interact with others about your beliefs (people like me or other true non-believers like yourself).

If you ever decide to become non-apathetic, I wondering if you would answer a question? On what premises do you base your understanding of knowledge, or are you a skeptic that does not believe that you can know anything? (At which point all arguments fail, because how can you know that you cannot know?)

Thanks for the interaction. I hope you take what I say tongue-in-cheek as it is intended.

May God grace be with you (even if your not sure he exists),

Mike Sechler

The Patriarch replies again, perhaps a trifle annoyed:


Why do you insist I should be apathetic about anything except for the single thing I proclaim I am apathetic about? I am apathetic about the same thing I am agnostic about.

The reason I am militant about promoting apathetic agnosticism is to counter the efforts of evangelicals to promote their version of religion.

I make a very clear distinction between knowledge and belief - as do most skeptics (as the word is used by those who call themselves skeptics today - as opposed to Skeptics, followers of an ancient Greek philosophy.)

To be an agnostic or a skeptic does not require one deny the possibility of knowledge.

And for those who understand the distinction between knowledge and belief, even amongst believers, it is impossible to know god exists. It is something one accepts on faith. (And that's official doctrine for Anglicans/ Episcopalians, Catholics, Orthodox, Lutherans and most long standing Protestant denominations. The exceptions being predominantly the newer Protestant varieties which misidentify themselves as Old Time Religion.)

I do not have that faith.

The above all depends on definitions - of skeptic, of agnostic, of faith, of knowledge, of belief. If you are working with different definitions, we are not even having a discussion - we are talking past each other. (An issue I mention because it is very much on my mind - I am in the midst of writing an article addressing this very point)