We are all born Atheists

Is there a god? What is the meaning of life?
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fluffy
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Re: We are all born Atheists

Post by fluffy »

Farmmaa wrote:An atheist lacks faith in God, believes there is no god, or lacks awareness of gods.
An agnostic either believes that it is impossible to know whether there is a god or is noncommittal on the issue.

Therefore, if you know nothing about gods, you are an atheist.
An infant or toddler who has not yet been indoctrinated knows nothing about gods.


There seems to be some misconception of the atheist label actually entails here. Atheism is a reasoned position, a conscious decision not to believe in a higher power. We can no more be hard wired for atheism than we can be born with a belief in God. They are both learned. Agnosticism, while a reasoned position in itself, is more of an position taken due to lack of definitive proof for either end of the believer/atheist scale, and in that aspect closer to the way we are born that the other two, but still, as it implies a reasoned decision is probably not the best choice of words. Whatever word you choose to describe the state of openness and purity that we begin our lives with, to suggest that we are born "atheist" is misleading.

A baby can not be noncommittal about a subject they have no knowledge of.


But isn't the absence of any knowledge on a given subject the purest form of non-committment?

I think we're arguing semantics here, we're all on the same track but the right words just haven't found their way into the conversation yet.

Atheism/Believer/Agnosticism all involve reasoned, conscious decisions, something which we are simply not capable of at birth.
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Re: We are all born Atheists

Post by Farmmaa »

Fluffy, by definition, 'atheist' does not necessarily entail knowledge or a conscious decision.
It is not a simple matter of semantics if people do not truly understand the scope of the word itself.
Oxford, and other sources agree - an atheist is someone who lacks belief in gods.
That lack of belief can be the result of a conscious decision that the evidence doesn't point in that direction, or, it could be due to a complete lack of knowledge of their existence.

No, an infant is not capable of being non-committal...which is why one can not say that they are agnostic.
That is the very definition of agnostic - knowing about gods but refusing to commit to a position on their actual existence due to lack of evidence.

By definition, infants are indeed born atheist - with a complete lack of knowledge of religions and gods.
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Re: We are all born Atheists

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Farmmaa wrote:Fluffy, by definition, 'atheist' does not necessarily entail knowledge or a conscious decision.
It is not a simple matter of semantics if people do not truly understand the scope of the word itself.
Oxford, and other sources agree - an atheist is someone who lacks belief in gods.
That lack of belief can be the result of a conscious decision that the evidence doesn't point in that direction, or, it could be due to a complete lack of knowledge of their existence.

No, an infant is not capable of being non-committal...which is why one can not say that they are agnostic.
That is the very definition of agnostic - knowing about gods but refusing to commit to a position on their actual existence due to lack of evidence.

By definition, infants are indeed born atheist - with a complete lack of knowledge of religions and gods.


That's where we disagree. The "lack of belief" definition is one generally put forth by atheists who don't want to be viewed as hardliners, but the essence of atheism is "I don't believe in God". It is an active denial of the existence of a higher power. Agnosticism, while still as reasoned as atheism, is an "I don't know" stance, while that of the so-called believer is an unswerving "Yes there is". These are all positions that require some thought to arrive at.

What we are missing here is a label for the state in which we are born. "Atheist" doesn't fit the bill because atheism in itself is a belief that there is no God, and the state in which we are born is one devoid of any beliefs.
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Re: We are all born Atheists

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I pulled this off the Urban Dictionary as it speaks of the discussion wee are currently having, that there are multiple degrees of atheism:


Atheist
There are two in-use definitions of the word 'atheist':

1.) A person who lacks belief in a god or gods. People who use this definition categorize atheists as either negative (or implicit or weak) atheists or positive (or explicit or strong) atheists. Negative atheists, while they don't believe in a god, do not positively assert that no gods exist. Positive atheists, however, do.

2.) A person who believes that no god or gods exist.

Those who consider themselves atheists (who are usually positive atheists) tend to define 'atheist' using the former definition, and those who believe in a god or gods tend to define 'atheist' using the latter. In both cases, this seems to be a demagogic practice intended to classify either as many or as few people as atheists as possible. Negative atheists are usually referred to as agnostics.

While neither definition of atheism entails any personality traits of atheists or of those who do believe in a god or gods (sometimes referred to as 'theists'), both atheists and theists tend to believe that certain traits apply to all atheists/theists. Common myths about atheists include: all atheists are arrogant, immoral, rebellious, and/or intolerant; all atheists really believe in (the Christian) God and are simply in denial; all atheists are depressed and believe life is meaningless. Common myths about theists include: all theists are naive and/or intolerant; all theists don't really believe in their god(s) and just pretend to because they're afraid that if people realised that no god exists, there will be complete chaos; all theists are weak and look to their god(s) for comfort. It hardly needs to be said that while these myths apply to a select few individuals in each group, the claim that they apply to every atheist or every theist is false.

Negative atheists justify their lack of belief in god(s) by pointing out that no evidence exists for the existence of god(s), and justify their lack of disbelief by pointing out that no evidence exists for the nonexistence thereof. Positive atheists often assert that while no evidence for god(s) exists, it should be by default assumed that they do not, until evidence is found. Some also try to use logic to prove that God does not exist, but this is often attached by theists and weak atheists as being mere wordplay. Some theists and weak atheists also assert that logic is superficial and meaningless (which is an easily refutable claim), and that only one's inner feelings can lead them to truth. Some positive atheists (and deists), however, are led to their stance through their feelings. Some feel that because the world is filled with evil and malice, and all-loving, benevolent god cannot exist. Those who are led to their stance through this feeling, however, cannot justify their disbelief in a malevolent god in the same way. Some reject the idea of the Christian God because the Bible states that non-Christians are condemned to Hell, and reject the idea as being too disturbing. While the same argument can also be made against the gods of various other religions, including Islam and Zoroastrianism, it cannot be made against every god (in Judaism, for example, Hell does not exist).
"Do you believe in God?"
"No, I don't."
"Then you're an atheist?"
"I suppose. I don't believe God doesn't exist, so I could probably be called an agnostic instead. Some atheists may consider me a 'negative atheist', though."
"Don't you think atheists.. er, would I call them 'positive atheists'? Don't you think they're intolerant?"
"Yes, you'd call them 'positive atheists', and no, I wouldn't say they're all intolerant. While some may come off as arrogant, they're just unable to understand how you can believe in God; you probably come off as arrogant to them, also, because you're unable to understand how they can disbelieve in God. People on both sides really need to make an effort to be more tolerant, and to discuss their stance on religion without using childish, immature insults."


While it doesn't say so in so many words, it seems to me that the Negative Atheist is closer to agnosticism than it is to true atheism or the Postive Atheist described above. To me, simply being open to the possibility of the existence of a higher power takes one out of the atheist spectrum and into the realm of agnosticism.

But again, it takes some thought to arrive at any of these positions, and that makes it pretty much impossible to subscribe to the thought that we are all born atheist.
"The cleverest ruse of the Devil is to persuade you he does not exist."
- Charles Baudelaire, 1864
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Re: We are all born Atheists

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*removed*
Last edited by oneh2obabe on Aug 8th, 2016, 9:02 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: We are all born Atheists

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I think that some (most?) atheists like to apply that label to themselves in order to set them apart from fundamentalist believers, and that they see the "atheist light" position as a little less aggressive in its stance which sets them apart again from the fanatical fundie types. I tend to see unswerving believers and staunch non-believers as two sides of the same coin, as it involves an argument where there can be no clear "winner" due mainly to a lack of definitive proof either way. As soon as there is any measure of dilution to the traditional atheist position of "No, there isn't" then you are straying into agnostic territory and the "atheist" label no longer applies.
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Re: We are all born Atheists

Post by OREZ »

Farmmaa wrote:
You most certainly do not have to have knowledge of god and then deny their existence in order to be an atheist.
Atheism is very simply the lack of belief in gods.

This is such a tiresome argument. If atheism were a simple lack of belief in gods, they wouldn't spend so much time and effort trying to dispel a belief in gods. They would be indifferent.
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Re: We are all born Atheists

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OREZ wrote:This is such a tiresome argument. If atheism were a simple lack of belief in gods, they wouldn't spend so much time and effort trying to dispel a belief in gods. They would be indifferent.


Please keep in mind this is a discussion forum. I don't go about in my daily life debating religious beliefs with people. The internet is generally the only place this happens.

Atheism is a lack of belief in a god or gods. That's it, it is not any deeper than that.
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Re: We are all born Atheists

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Nomaster wrote:
The "truth" is not based on location. That's just silly.



The truth is most certainly quite often "based on location."

If you were a child, living in the jungle, in a primitive tribe you may well believe that thunder and lightening were caused by the gods whereas if you were that same child living in a developed nation your science teacher would explain to you exactly what causes thunder and lightening.
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Re: We are all born Atheists

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JLives wrote:Atheism is a lack of belief in a god or gods. That's it, it is not any deeper than that.


So you don't believe in God? There's no room for doubt?
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Re: We are all born Atheists

Post by Nomaster »

Where's your belief in Zeus, Thor, Apollo,Neptune,Amaterasu, Vishnu, etc?
Why do you disbelieve them?

I don't believe in thousands of gods or their versions of the afterlife.
I have no reason to believe my ancient ancestors belief in Valhalla was true so I don't believe in it.
More recently, I have no reason to believe my family's belief in a Christian heaven is any truer, so I don't believe in it.
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Re: We are all born Atheists

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So what though.

I don't believe in a lot of things too but I don't go and seek out people to disagree with on those subjects. Why do you care if all you have is a lack of belief?
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Re: We are all born Atheists

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Because religions abuse people.

Wars, confiscation of lands and the use of slavery, the subjection of women, children, minorities, gays, etc, etc, etc.
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Re: We are all born Atheists

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Nomaster wrote:Because religions abuse people.

Wars, confiscation of lands and the use of slavery, the subjection of women, children, minorities, gays, etc, etc, etc.

You do realize that slavery had nothing to do with religion, right? Nor do most wars for that matter. etc, etc, etc.
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Re: We are all born Atheists

Post by OREZ »

Nomaster wrote:Because religions abuse people.

Wars, confiscation of lands and the use of slavery, the subjection of women, children, minorities, gays, etc, etc, etc.


Just because some religions did some bad things does not disprove the existence of God and it doesn't necessarily have anything to do with people who believe in general.

Blaming all religions (and I assume you would like to implicate all believers in general, even if they subscribe to no religion) for "wars, confiscation of lands and the use of slavery, the subjection of women, children, minorities, gays, etc, etc, etc.", even if that were correct, would not prove your assertion that we are all born atheists.
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