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The Collaborative International Dictionary

Indifferentism \In*dif"fer*ent*ism\, n. [Cf. F. indiff['e]rentisme.]

  1. State of indifference; lack of interest or earnestness; especially, a systematic apathy regarding what is true or false in religion or philosophy; agnosticism.

    The indifferentism which equalizes all religions and gives equal rights to truth and error.
    --Cardinal Manning.

  2. (Metaph.) Same as Identism.

  3. (R. C. Ch.) A heresy consisting in an unconcern for any particular creed, provided the morals be right and good.
    --Gregory XVI.


n. The doctrine that all religions are equally valid


Indifferentism, in the Roman Catholic faith, is the belief held by some that no one religion or philosophy is superior to another. The Catholic Church ascribes indifferentism to many atheistic, materialistic, pantheistic, and agnostic philosophies. There are three basic types of indifferentism described by Catholic apologetics: absolute, restricted, and liberal or latitudinarian indifferentism. Indifferentism was first explicitly identified and opposed by Pope Gregory XVI, in his encyclical Mirari vos.

Religious Indifferentism is to be distinguished from political indifferentism, which is applied to the policy of a state that treats all the religions within its borders as being on an equal footing before the law of the country. Indifferentism is not to be confounded with religious indifference. The former is primarily a theory disparaging the value of religion; the latter term designates the conduct of those who, whether they do or do not believe in the necessity and utility of religion, do in fact neglect to fulfill its duties.

Usage examples of "indifferentism".

At present, after everything has been tried, so they say, and tried in vain, there reign in philosophy weariness and complete indifferentism, the mother of chaos and night in all sciences but, at the same time, the spring or, at least, the prelude of their near reform and of a new light, after an ill-applied study has rendered them dark, confused, and useless.

Nevertheless this indifferentism, showing itself in the very midst of the most flourishing state of all sciences, and affecting those very sciences the teachings of which, if they could be had, would be the last to be surrendered, is a phenomenon well worthy of our attention and consideration.

Till that is done, indifferentism and doubt, and ultimately severe criticism, are rather signs of honest thought.