What I want to talk about here is apathy and why we’ve vilified it and made it into something undesirable, when it kind of isn’t.
I don’t understand Christianity’s beef with apathy. I think all things can be dangerous without moderation, but people constantly make claims like “apathy is the opposite of love.” I’ve tried on that pair of shoes and found that it doesn’t quite fit right.
The bible doesn’t ever talk about apathy explicitly, bible gateway search it and you won’t find anything. I think if apathy were a big deal, or a bad thing, the bible would talk about it, don’t you? Yeah, weird, huh? Here’s the best list I’ve found, and it doesn’t even come close to talking about apathy.
I do think, like everything in the world, apathy can be made into something bad, but I also believe that the only thing that is inherently evil is evil. This talk about apathy being the antithesis of love is just illogical to me. The opposite of love is hate, because, despite both being passionate, they’re both on the opposite ends of the spectrum.
If apathy were to be the antithesis of something, I would argue that it is care. However, as the bible states, there is a time for everything, and there is a time to not care. Caring can be emotionally draining and I’ve found that people who care the most (me) end up the most emotionally drained (me). So caring can be a bad thing, a really bad thing.
Apathy has its place, just like everything else in the world. Christians have a hard time understanding this, because many Christians want to think that only the “good” things are good. What I mean by “good” is pleasant and enjoyable. Christians love to talk about things like love, peace, joy, happiness, birth, life, etc. but they refuse to interact with many other Christian concepts like wrath, trials, turmoil, and death.
The problem with this is we make certain qualities of life seem “good” when the bible doesn’t actually denote them as “good.” In reality, they lead to complacency, which the bible doesn’t seem to like much.
I think a good way to look at this is through the lens of Ecclesiastes 3:
“There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
2 a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
3 a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
6 a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
7 a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
8 a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.”
There is a time to be apathetic and there is a time to care, let’s not forget that. The trick is finding out when. I like to say that being a good Christian is learning moderation, and I think Ecc 7:18 makes this pretty clear, a man who fears God will avoid all extremes. Other translations say take from both of them. So it’s important that we take from both caring and apathy, because there are some things that you shouldn’t concern yourself with and others that deserve your attention.
Learn when to care and when not to care, that’s the key to peace.
I mean, I don’t care if you follow me on Twitter…