Apistevist – A Term With Potential


There is a term being utilized by some in the atheist community. Some have even dropped their previous chosen personal adjective (atheist) in favor of this new term. That term is Apistevist.

Coined by a youtuber running a channel called Bionic Dance back in 2010, the term illustrates a person’s lack (or rejection) of faith. It was coined around the same principal as atheism is based. The “a” prefix negates what follows, so an atheist negates a belief in any form of theism. In the same way that atheism has origins in the Greek word “atheos” (without gods), the word apistevist is also sourced from Greek. The Greek terms “pistis” or “pistevo” both describe faith, so as such “Apistevist” describes a lack of faith.

On the surface, it seems like a good and seemingly well-reasoned term. But one must remember to specify “religious faith”, or the term becomes illogical.
Most uses of the term (as noted in Google search results) seem to take this into consideration, but some do not. Whether this is out of error or ignorance I am unsure, but I will outline why it matters here.

One may negate a belief in god, ghosts or any number of other mythical or supernatural entities without losing logical credibility. This is obvious and is known by anyone who has embraced reason. But at the same time, no one is COMPLETELY devoid of all blind faith.

Every time you turn on the tap for a drink of water. Every time you open a can of food or eat out at a restaurant. Life in the modern era is full of scenarios where we all mindlessly roll the dice. This is not necessarily a bad thing either, its just a part of life. A person that is a TRUE apistevist (took the philosophy to heart in all areas of life) could not exist in today’s modern world. One who has absolutely NO blind faith whatsoever, would either be forced into isolation far from consumer civilization or committed.

I have no issue with the term Apistevist (I can not say the same for Bionic Dance, the youtuber that coined the term, however). But I caution how it is utilized and defined in conversation and debate. The key is religious.

One who claims to lack (or reject) religious faith, is on perfectly reasonable intellectual ground. One who claims to lack or reject ALL faith is not only irrational but also fundamentally mistaken.


I realized that I was not entirely clear in my explanation of my argument, so I wrote a supplementary piece HERE clarifying my stance. Further, I also wrote a piece using my argument in the context of Air Travel (a context that seems to encompass my criticisms of the philosophy perfectly).

Thank you for reading.

23 thoughts on “Apistevist – A Term With Potential

  1. Hi.
    I’m sorry to say, I think you’re the one being illogical, making a fallacy of equivocation. You’re confusing faith (the firm assertion of a belief without supporting evidence or despite evidence to the contrary) with tentative probabilistic expectations based on prior occurences and a sound understanding of reality. Contrarily to what you say we don’t “mindlessly roll the dice” (well I know I don’t, and I hope you don’t either), we simply build sound assumptions : when I go to a restaurant, I don’t “have faith” that the food won’t be rotten, I expect it not to be based on all the times I went to a restaurant and it wasn’t (in Bayesian probabilistic terms, given that I’ve had more than a hundred meals in restaurants and none of them were rotten, the prior probability of this one being rotten is literaly less than one percent), as well as an understanding of modern western society where a restaurant serving rotten food wouldn’t stay open for more than a few days, thus probably closing before I could eat there. Hence, NOTHING to do with faith. Same thing with your other examples.

    Faith is jumping off a cliff without checking if you’ve got a working parachute on.
    Sound expectation building is jumping off a cliff only *after* you’ve checked.
    As an apistevist myself, I do reject ALL forms of faith (not just religious faith), meaning I always check for my parachute.
    See the difference ?

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I can open a thousand cans of tuna, and not have any issues. I can drink thousands of liters of water and not have a problem.

      Probability and everything else aside, you are ALWAYS taking a chance.

      There may be a big difference between giving yourself to a fully invisible deity and drinking a glass of water, but over all, the concept is still the same.

      Just as do not know (and likely will not ever know) if there is a god/deity that exists, I can not ever know for sure if that can of tuna or that glass of water is truly “safe”.
      Mankind has probability and such other methods of showing how small the overall risk is. And most of the time, these risks are so small that they are not even worth acknowledging. But none the less, a risk is still a risk.

      Being an apistevist in terms of religious belief is perfectly rational. But no one can go any further then that.

      An apistevist can not COMPLETELY “eliminate” blind faith from their life for the same reason that an atheist can not claim with credibility that there is no god. No has the proof.
      All you have is an educated guess based on past experiences.


      1. Martin Matin is correct, and you’re not understanding him. I think your problem is that you are mistaken as to the definition of “faith”: you seem to think it’s “the lack of complete certainty,” when in fact it is “belief not justified by evidence” (side note: this also means that all faith is, by definition, blind). It is true that it requires faith to be CERTAIN that water will come out of the tap when you turn it on, but nobody thinks that way. We merely believe that water is very very LIKELY to come out, and this belief is supported by the evidence that is our knowledge of the excellent track record of our municipal water system, and therefore not faith-based.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Certainty is pretty much, as far as I can tell, a fiction. None of us ever have that. But, going based on the evidence, is not, therefore an act of faith. It might be, if the evidence tells us our assumptions are likely wrong, but if evidence tells us we are likely correct, then it’s not faith, its just doing the best we can. Faith isn’t lack of certainty (in fact, it seems to be certainty in spite of evidence). Faith is belief in spite of justification. If we have evidence to support our beliefs, then it isn’t blind faith. Even if we end up wrong.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. There also seems to be a fallacy here of what confirmation would be necessary to be completely faithless in, say, drinking the proverbial glass of water. What kinds of tests would you need to run, etc? The allegation that you are acting on faith because you don’t always test the water for, for example, everything from lead to space cancer is a silly one.


      1. Any and all tests that I could do are irrelevant really. I may come to the conclusion that nothing is amiss. But that still puts a whole lot of emphasis on something that I could have screwed up. Or simply something that more than likely could not be foreseen.

        Many secularists seem unwilling to accept the prospect of faith in any way being apart of life. In the religious sense, yes, it is rightfully discarded and critiqued. But beyond that, such behavior is just assinine. Particularly the game of using any word BUT that terrible F word that we rationalists never want to hear (most commonly Trust).

        Not all faith is bad. Really, one could say it affords a mind sanity (try walking through life questioning every possible unknown of every situation).


  2. “Every time you turn on the tap for a drink of water […] A person that is a TRUE apistevist (took the philosophy to heart in all areas of life) could not exist in today’s modern world. One who has absolutely NO blind faith whatsoever, would either be forced into isolation far from consumer civilization, or committed.”

    You seem to think the only two options are:
    1) Belief (in safety of water, food etc.) based on evidence with 100% certainty
    2) Belief based on blind faith (with no evidence).

    That’s silly. I would have thought it would be obvious that an apistevist would for the most part go by:
    3) Provisional belief based on evidence with a non-perfect degree of certainty.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I agree on a lot of things in the article, but I also disagree for a big part.

    I definitely share your dislike of Bionic Dance. Her clips are often cool and well thought, but she’s an extremist. You cannot debate with her because she rages like a rabid lion on steroids.

    But the tap and food idea you are bringing up has nothing to do with faith.
    Everybody nowadays is most likely aware that there can be dangerous germs or chemicals in whatever you eat, drink, breath or touch.
    Nobody I know is completely oblivious on all kinds of dangers.

    Does it involve faith if you eat or drink something in order to eat, drink or use it in whatever way it’s meant to be used? No. Not at all.
    We just always wager the amount of necessity and the probability of the dangers. We *HOPE* it will be okay, we *TRUST* it will be okay… but we do not “believe” it will be okay. We do not have “faith” it will be okay.

    We have no other choice and the statistics are very much in our favours. That’s all.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. On “Every time you turn on the tap for a drink of water…,” to the end of your post:

    You indeed made a fallacy of equivocation. As it was already pointed out, faith is belief not supported by evidence, in other words – blind belief. However, when you do the above-mentioned, it is not blind: your decision is rational, justified by inductive logic on the account of collected evidence.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi, I read your three blog posts before answering but not the comments, so sorry if I’m repeating something someone else already wrote.

    Here I will use:
    -trust = confidence based on evidence
    -faith = confidence in spite of lack of evidence
    I know these are not the dictionary definitions, I just think it will be easier to explain myself if I have words with these meanings (plus I’m not a native english speaker and in my language that’s how the literal translations of these words work).

    I think I can define myself a 100% faith-less person (?Apistevist?).
    I’ve not always been so.
    There was a time when I just believed what my parents told me. Or the priest. Or tv.
    Then I grew up, I made experiences and built trust towards a multiplicity of propositions.
    For instance I had lots of experience with acqueduct management being a good provider of safe water. I learned about their methods for detection of poisonings and read statistics about their effectiveness. I also learned not to have faith in the water company. Now when I open the water tap and see a liquid flowing out I evaluate it’s color, smell and taste (lack of) before swallowing it. By this experience plus my trust towards water company I evaluate if water is safe every time.

    I also had experience with airlines being able to fly planes without crashing them more than how cars crash. I read the statistics about flight, and about the systems of checks around air travel. Now when I go through airport security and see pilots boarding the plane, I have a reasonable expectation, based on experience, that the person in uniform is not an impersonator, has been vetted by airline company and had to certify its ability to fly a plane.

    Whenever I encounter a new person I am both distrustful and open. Which means that I act hoping for the best but prepared for the worst. I do not tell my bank data to strangers without vetting them by at least seeing some form of ID or uniform identifying them as people representing companies with which I want to have financial transactions, which is a process of gathering experience and using it to build trust. A skill that I trust since it worked wonderfully for years.

    You may say that by doing so I’m actually having faith in my judgement over single issues: I’ve never traveled on THAT airplane with THAT pilot after all, nor I ever judged the combination of the two. And as predictable as a sunset here’s my reply to that: I know it and I know that this implies a risk of being wrong. I just think that said risk is low enough to gamble my life over it. This means that I have no faith in the pilot’s ability nor the plane’s condition, I just have trust in the safety of my trip because thanks to past experience I extimate the likelyhood of a crash low enough to be ignored when deciding course of action.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi there,

      I appreciate your feedback on these pieces. And I understand your criticism.

      In the past, I obviously dedicated a fair bit of time and mental resources to the word apistevist. Work that has been picked apart by many. Work that I have been, in the past, happy to defend. But not so much lately.

      Not out of admission of inaccuracy. Not really out of contempt (“why be outside the box when no one else can even fathom such a position?!”). Partly out of boredom. But mostly because in the grand scheme of things, the concept of being “Apistevist” has become (at least for me) redundant.

      The last year or 2 has had me going though much thought in terms of many of my stances, and what they mean. And ive “transitioned” mentally to view most as, redundant at best, unnecessary barriers at worst. Basically, it all boils down to me not buying into any dogmas (at least that I know of). I know what my views are of various things. The whole concept of faith, religions, deity’s and such is uninvolved with the human existence, so its not worth worrying about. By this standard, all 3 of these posts and many of my earlier ones, were a waste of time. At least for me.

      Why am I telling you this?

      With recent ones, I would normally just not respond (not having anything new to add). But since you took the time to read all 3 pieces in responding, it seemed only fair to answer.
      Even if its in a sense, a cop out reply.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. //Every time you turn on the tap for a drink of water.//

    You confuse “faith” with reasonable expectation. It is not a matter of faith to expect (yet not know for sure) that when I turn on the water it will come on. In fact, it has happened many times to me.
    I can reasonably expect to have water, but I would never say I have faith (or certain trust) it will happen.

    So that’s why I am an apistevist, a non-believer, a post-theistic thinker—in a process, not a conclusion.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. “But at the same time, no one is COMPLETELY devoid of all blind faith.

    Every time you turn on the tap for a drink of water. ….”

    Blind faith would be to have faith a tap that is not connected to any water pipes can be turned to provide you with water.

    Knowing what a chair is, and having sat in chairs before, you could enter a room, see a chair, and assume the chair would support your weight when you sat on it. If the chair collapsed when you sat on it, and you fell to the floor you would not claim ( unless you are an idiot) that the chair collapsed because your faith was weak.

    Blind faith would be to believe a chair that isn’t there will support you when you sit down on it.


  8. I am stunned, finding this stupid equivocation being the second hit in a google search for “Apistevist”.


  9. I have watched content on the Bionic Dance YouTube channel on and off over the last few years and I don’t recall ever seeing her use this term … OK, maybe once perhaps. She may have coined it, but fellow YouTuber, and atheist activist, Aron Ra has truly embraced and promoted the term. Here is a statement of his about it: “Faith is an assertion of unreasonable conviction which is assumed without reason and defended against all reason. I am apistevist because faith is the most dishonest position that is possible to have. Consequently any belief that requires faith should be rejected for that reason.”

    Liked by 1 person

  10. When I read such new terms , formed with utter ignorance , or even better violation of the grammar rules of the Greek language, I just want to plug my eyes out.

    You can’t form a noun from the simple present of a Greek verb .

    The verb is πιστεύω [ pistevo ] = I believe
    there is not such a thing as a (= alpha privative) + pistevo.

    Someone could use the as a term the ” apist” > άπιστος [apistos ] = non believer
    or the participle of any tense of the verb πείθω [ peitho] (= i believe, i comply ) + the alpha privative.

    ‘’Apistevist’’ hah ! Doesn’t anyone bother to consult a philologist of Greek ?

    apisteytable !


    1. I’ve heard a similar critique from a philosopher. While I can’t help but agree. . . we all know how seriously the so-called rational crowd tends to take philosophy.

      Hence . . . I didn’t go that route. Not that it much matters. It seems that people are determined to make Apistevist stick, no matter how idiotic I try to showcase the concept.


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