Are People Born Atheist?

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posted on Aug, 31 2013 @ 01:40 PM
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Are people born atheist?



Many atheists claim people are born atheist, assuming that because a child is completely ignorant to gods, religions and ideologies, he is therefor an atheist. However, I don’t think this deduction is taken far enough in its inquiry.


-ist |əst, ist|
suffix [ forming personal nouns and some related adjectives: ]
1 denoting an adherent of a system of beliefs, principles, etc., expressed by nouns ending in - ism : hedonist | Buddhist. See -ism ( sense 2).
• denoting a person who subscribes to a prejudice or practices discrimination: sexist.
2 denoting a member of a profession or business activity: dentist | dramatist | florist.
• denoting a person who uses a thing: flutist | motorist.
• denoting a person who does something expressed by a verb ending in -ize : plagiarist.


-ism |ɪz(ə)m|
suffix
forming nouns:
1 denoting an action or its result: baptism | exorcism.
• denoting a state or quality: barbarism.
2 denoting a system, principle, or ideological movement: Anglicanism | feminism | hedonism.
• denoting a basis for prejudice or discrimination: racism.
3 denoting a peculiarity in language: colloquialism | Canadianism.
4 denoting a pathological condition: alcoholism.


ism |ˈizəm|
noun informal, chiefly derogatory
a distinctive practice, system, or philosophy, typically a political ideology or an artistic movement: of all the isms, fascism is the most repressive.


One difficulty with this claim is that the very words “atheism” and "atheist", with their use of the suffixes “-ism” and "-ist", imply ideologies or principles. In my mind at least, asserting that a child is born an adherent to a philosophy and is inherently subscribed to some doctrine or ideology is a mistake, if not an outright absurdity. It is just as valid to state that a child is born a theist or anarchist, when in truth it is just that the child is whatever we call it.

A newborn does not know what a deity is – the same goes for trees and horses – but ask any atheist if he knows what a deity is and he will be able to provide an opinion, while the child and tree will not. The atheist understands the semantics and use of the term; the child and tree do not. The atheist is void of the very same ignorance the child and tree have towards such ideas, while the child and tree are void of the same opinions as the atheist. How this makes them all atheist goes against any logic and reason. Ignorance is not necessarily a prerequisite to atheism, nor any ideology.

Furthermore, to state that one is born a certain way (in this case “atheist”) is also to state that when one becomes a theist, he is altering a fundamental fact about himself. This seems strange. When one is born with dark skin, or of a certain gender, one cannot necessarily change or augment that fact unless perhaps through drastic physical augmentation. To say that all people are born atheist, is to imply all people are atheists fundamentally, and it would be difficult, if not impossible, to become the contrary to atheist – a theist. But the brute fact that many, if not most people are theists, implies that they were somehow able to change how they were born. This is akin to saying that people are born fundamentally heterosexual, but that they can somehow become homosexual over time. Atheism isn't inherently in our genetic makeup.

In my opinion, the idea that everyone is born atheist, is a reductio ad absurdum, and no different than saying all people are born theist, communist, capitalist, fascist, nihilist or subscribed to any other ideology.

"It is with you as with the sea: the most varied names are given to what is in the end only salt-water"
-Goethe


What are your opinions?
edit on 31-8-2013 by TheSubversiveOne because: (no reason given)




posted on Aug, 31 2013 @ 01:50 PM
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Since a baby does not possess knowledge about any God whatsoever, logic dictates that it therefore can not believe in any god.

That's the basic question I take from this thread. The rest I see is hair-splitting about definitions, completely irrelevant to the main question.



posted on Aug, 31 2013 @ 01:57 PM
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reply to post by H1ght3chHippie
 


Are you saying atheism is in our genetic makeup? If it isn't, how is one born atheist?
edit on 31-8-2013 by TheSubversiveOne because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 31 2013 @ 02:00 PM
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Wow, you are right, people are born "atheist" as in not believing in God, but they are sure as hell not born "Atheist" as in environmentalists, liberals, recyclers, or whatever.

Even being born without the belief in God is kind of a stretch, because at least some people are born spiritual. Some people are born with a connection to another realm that they wouldn't be able to explain due to science, so they would not be born atheists, but born searching.

When people are born, they have to take on the culture they are in through experience, this is basic developmental psychology.

So at the instant of birth, is someone of this world, or spiritual? I think it can differ.
edit on 31-8-2013 by darkbake because: (no reason given)
edit on 31-8-2013 by darkbake because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 31 2013 @ 02:03 PM
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Nature herself has imprinted on the minds of all the idea of God. - Cicero

My personal opinion is that people are born with the concept of God. Much as Cicero believed I think God is a universal concept ingrained in the soul.

Your mileage with this opinion may vary.



posted on Aug, 31 2013 @ 02:04 PM
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reply to post by darkbake
 





When people are born, they have to take on the culture they are in through experience, this is basic developmental psychology.


Yes. Whether they are atheists or theists when they are born depends on who is calling them atheist or theist.

ETA: Evidence of this in the post above
edit on 31-8-2013 by TheSubversiveOne because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 31 2013 @ 02:07 PM
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reply to post by TheSubversiveOne
 


I think you got right to the core of the issue here. It reminds me of the "blank slate" argument, but is being used to show that atheism itself has developed into a culture.

If we are talking about whether people are born a certain denomination, they are not, just like they are not born of an atheist denomination, nationality or certain psychological faction (behaviorist, Freudian, etc.).

So that argument kind of nullifies itself. But what about being born believing in a higher power? I think that is something that can happen either way.
edit on 31-8-2013 by darkbake because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 31 2013 @ 02:07 PM
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Intresting
I see it this way. If child as i hope many and most of them are born to believe in " Good " they are surrounded by good things and secure environment. Feel of "Good " around us is also pre birth experience. Mother´s care of unborn child caressing the belly and talking to unborn child and not only mother usually the father too.

I don´t believe they are born atheist.. they are born to be and believe in Good.



posted on Aug, 31 2013 @ 02:08 PM
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reply to post by darkbake
 





I think you got right to the core of the issue here. It reminds me of the "blank slate" argument, but used to show that atheism itself has developed into a culture.



I completely agree. Atheism and theism are the same by the fact that they are both ideologies, hence the "ism". Positing the idea that children are born with an ideology is dishonest.



posted on Aug, 31 2013 @ 02:10 PM
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Originally posted by TheSubversiveOne

Positing the idea that children are born with an ideology is dishonest.


It is actually dishonest, I think that Atheists could use this argument to promote agendas that a baby would in no way, shape or form understand.
edit on 31-8-2013 by darkbake because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 31 2013 @ 02:12 PM
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Hmm, interesting question. But I don't think atheism is a natural-born state. It's learned every bit as much as spirituality is learned.

I think a person is essentially born as a blank slate, ready to be impressed upon. What we learn to believe or disbelieve is a result of enculturation and nurturance; it's a product of our environment. It's a process. It's not in-born.

My 0.02.

Also, I think children tend to gravitate towards more mystical, imaginative beliefs. It's a fact that children do not have the full capacity for rational thought until about the age of 7-8 years. If anything, I'd say with what we know about childhood growth & development, it points to a more "spiritual" (for lack of a better word,) rather than logical, understanding of the world around them. Children learn imagination and myth first, then logic and rationale later. Why is that, atheists?

Atheism is supposed to be the voice of reason and logic, but children don't even develop rational thinking until about age 8. In other words, they learn it!



edit on 31-8-2013 by NarcolepticBuddha because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 31 2013 @ 02:13 PM
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reply to post by darkbake
 





It is actually dishonest, I think that Atheists could use this argument to promote agendas that a baby would in no way, shape or form understand.


They cannot, by nature, understand until they are able to understand. Every single person I've met that calls himself an atheist at least understands the concept of deities. I haven't met one that is completely ignorant of what the idea entails.



posted on Aug, 31 2013 @ 02:14 PM
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Originally posted by dollukka
I don´t believe they are born atheist.. they are born to be and believe in Good.


yeah. And good can be present anywhere, atheism, feminism, Catholicism, whatever.

We learn the negative behaviors through experience, and negative / destructive cultures can unfortunately be just as prevalent in Atheist societies as anywhere else.



posted on Aug, 31 2013 @ 02:15 PM
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reply to post by NarcolepticBuddha
 



Hmm, interesting question. But I don't think atheism is a natural-born state. It's learned every bit as much as spirituality is learned.

I think a person is essentially born as a blank slate, ready to be impressed upon. What we learn to believe or disbelieve is a result of enculturation and nurturance; it's a product of our environment. It's a process. It's not in-born.

My 0.02.


Agreed. To have an opinion on the veracity of deities, one must first learn what a deity is.



posted on Aug, 31 2013 @ 02:17 PM
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reply to post by darkbake
 





We learn the negative behaviors through experience, and negative / destructive cultures can unfortunately be just as prevalent in Atheist societies as anywhere else.


Societies that promote atheism as a doctrine do not turn out so well. That's why it's important to dispel these myths.

State Atheism



posted on Aug, 31 2013 @ 02:26 PM
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Originally posted by H1ght3chHippie
Since a baby does not possess knowledge about any God whatsoever, logic dictates that it therefore can not believe in any god.




They would not be born with a disbelief in God, either, thus making your argument invalid, good Sir. Well, valid but I don't think it comes to the conclusion you were hoping for.

I am guessing they would be born agnostic.
edit on 31-8-2013 by darkbake because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 31 2013 @ 02:27 PM
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reply to post by TheSubversiveOne
 


Yes, we are getting to the core of the issue here, Atheism could be used as a precursor to Nationalism.



posted on Aug, 31 2013 @ 02:28 PM
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When your are born the existence of God is not a belief,
It is an truth understood with the soul.



posted on Aug, 31 2013 @ 02:29 PM
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Originally posted by Metallicus
Nature herself has imprinted on the minds of all the idea of God. - Cicero

My personal opinion is that people are born with the concept of God. Much as Cicero believed I think God is a universal concept ingrained in the soul.

Your mileage with this opinion may vary.


Cicero couldn't be more wrong. Humans do not have racial memories nothing that the parent knew is passed on to the child through birth. So technically everyone is born an atheist because they lack the ability to understand the concept of God.



posted on Aug, 31 2013 @ 02:35 PM
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reply to post by buster2010
 





So technically everyone is born an atheist because they lack the ability to understand the concept of God.


Name one thing they do understand, and in doing so, you may discover the irrelevancy of this technicality.





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