Something triggered my soul in Kyle Beshears’ outstanding book Apatheism: How We Share When They Don’t Care. Beshears writes, “Rarely, if ever, in the history of our faith have Christians faced the kind of indifference toward God that we experience today.” So I asked myself: Is it because we as Christians are apathetic to the apatheist? It has become abundantly clear to me recently that many Christians have a Christ-less heart towards those in our workplace who are apathetic towards God. We want more Christ in the world, but we are making it much harder for Christ to be seen.
Why is this the case? For starters, our workplace attitudes towards our co-workers must improve. Take, for example, a recent encounter someone close to me had at work: A confessing Christian at her work has been mistreating another employee because the other employee’s lifestyle does not correspond to the Christians beliefs. The Christian went out of her way to make the working environment unpleasant for this other employee. She was snarky, rude, and outright mean. The Christian is showing her Christian Apatheism.
Christian Apatheism, as I define it, is claiming to hold true to the gospel message and being a Christian while being apathetic towards others who don’t meet the standard we think they should. Some, like Beshears, would place Christian Apatheism in the category of Practical Atheism. Beshears defines Practical Atheism as those in our church who are Christians by what they believe but behave as if God is not important. So we could say that this Christian in the example above is a Practical Atheist, but she is also a Christian Apatheist. She doesn’t care, so why should she share? One could argue that the Christian is behaving this way because they care about God and His word and wants her co-worker to live appropriately. But being a jerk for Jesus has never convinced anyone to change. It took a real loving relationship, with someone who I knew did not approve of my life before becoming a Christian, to share their faith but also live it out for the world to see for me to even consider Christianity as true.