Definition of Pragmatic Atheist

A pragmatic atheist is defined as one who rejects belief in gods because believing in gods is unnecessary for any pragmatic, important part of one's life. This definition of pragmatic atheist is derived from the application of the philosophy of Pragmatism to the question of whether any gods exist.

A pragmatic atheist is thus both a Pragmatist and an atheist. Pragmatic atheists need not positively assert that any gods do or do not exist; instead, pragmatic atheists merely assert that the existence of gods simply does not matter.

For this reason, there is a lot of overlap with apatheists and practical atheists.

Example Quotations

On this occasion the authors made reference to John Paul II's vision of a 'Christian cultural project', the objective of which is to open the 'vast fields of culture' to Christ, the 'Redeemer of Man, and Centre and Purpose of Human History'.

However, in contradistinction to the values of this project, they summarised the values of what they called the 'cultural situation which prevails in different parts of the world today' as a subjectivist account of truth, the questioning of the positivist presuppositions about the progress of science and technology, an anthropocentric pragmatic atheism and blatant religious indifference.

Those who live within this cultural situation not only contend with values that are hostile to theism, but, in addition, if they live in the outer suburbs of densely populated and sprawling cities, have a tendency to be 'socially rootless, politically powerless, economically marginalised, culturally isolated, and easy prey for dehumanising business practices'.
- Tracey Rowland, Culture and the Thomist Tradition After Vatican II


Our pragmatic atheism seems to me to offer the most viable explanation of the impotence and public irrelevance of the language of sin. Other ways of accounting for the public meaninglessness of Christian talk of sin fail, in the end, to take the secularity of our culture as a form of pragmatic atheism at all seriously as a source of resistance to it. ...

The twin suppositions that the world in itself is adequately comprehensible without God and that the transcendence of God implies separation from the world are essentially non-Christian and have permit- ted secularity to become a form of pragmatic atheism.
- Alistair McFadyen, Bound to Sin Abuse, Holocaust and the Christian Doctrine of Sin