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