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Gods and Dictatorships: A Defence of Heroical Apatheism

Gods and Dictatorships: A Defence of Heroical Apatheism

 Ian von Hegner

 University of Copenhagen, Karen Blixens Vej 4, DK-2300 København S.


 Democracy is usually contrasted with the concept of dictatorship, and is defined as a type of government in which power flows from the citizens to the leaders of government, who are selected through free elections. This article argues, that if the concept of democracy is generalized to be universally applicable, then the concept of hypothetical gods’ right to rule results in dictatorship. Whereas the concepts of dictator and tyrant originally had a more positive meaning, those meanings have changed. However, the concept of the gods in the philosophical debate has avoided a similar redefinition in light of democracy, despite the fact, that it involves the same negation of modern fundamental rights. The basic democratic idea posits that all of its members have a full and equal status. If this status is generalized to be universally applicable, then it follows that humankind likewise are not second and first class among hypothetical gods. The existence or nonexistence of the gods is here defined as the secondary question, whereas the principal acceptance of hypothetical gods’ right to rule in a democratic context with respect to concepts of freedom is defined as the primary question. The position of heroical apatheism is argued as an alternative to positions such as theism, atheism, and agnosticism. These positions only concern themselves with the ontological or epistemological question of whether the gods exist, whereas heroical apatheism concerns itself with the primary component missing so far, namely democratic rights and dignity. This is a discussion that I consider as having been overlooked in modern philosophical discussions.


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Science, Religion and Culture


Vol. 5, Sp. Iss. 1 Pages 1-82


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