Volume 45, 2008
Philosophy of Religion
The New Face of Religion?
In an essay published in the May 2003 issue of Atlantic Monthly, Jonathan Rauch describes a phenomenon he refers to as ‘apatheism’ which he defines as “… a disinclination to care all that much about one’s own religion, and an even stronger disinclination to care about other people’s [religion]…” The phenomenon that
Rauch describes seems to refer not to an epistemological state but rather to a normative way of being in the world. It also appears to be linked in some important ways to the rise of secularization. In fact, many cultural observers and philosophers have noted the increasing secularization of society, particularly Western society, and the corresponding decline in religious belief. In this paper I will attempt to place apatheism in the larger context of philosophy of religion. In
addition, I will outline the connections between apatheism as described by Rauch and the work of Slavoj Zizek as well as the analysis of truth and bullshit offered by the Princeton philosopher Harry Frankfurt.