Are you technically an atheist when you are born.

I came across a photo on FB yesterday of a baby being Baptized with a caption, “NOOOO, I’M ATHEIST”. The premise was that you are atheist upon birth, until you are Baptized. I disagreed, but would like your thoughts on this.

Baptism doesn’t make you believe in God.

Babies are pagan.

It should be obvious that children are naturally theists just as they are naturally dualists. Movies with body swapping are so common and every child understands them. The concept of being yourself in the body of another person would be difficult to understand if we weren’t naturally dualists. No one ever needs the concept explained to them. It is obvious.

So with theism. If theism had to be taught it would be a difficult thing to teach and every child would remember when they learned this strange thing. Instead children wonder “what if there isn’t a God?”

In seriousness?

Hmm…that’s like asking Feral Children what they believe in, isn’t it?

I suppose the ability to comprehend the question never came up.

An atheist is someone who believes that there is no God, babies are not born with a disbelief of God.

I think this is correct. A newborn cannot believe or disbelieve in God the same way that a tree or a dog can/can’t.

I don’t believe so,when learning and understanding of the word atheist is when one becomes so.

An atheist first must possess a rebellious heart. Babies do not have that, being totally dependent.

Actually, there was a preliminary study at Oxford that shows that babies and children, without interference from society, naturally form a belief in a deity. This isn’t set in stone, but it certainly speaks against what you saw.

The way I’ve seen the results of these types of studies interpreted is that young children are prone to assign *****agency *****(e.g. thinking that an invisible hand is moving a windup toy), but not that that invisible hand is necessarily a deity/god.

Some have speculated that believing in non-existent agents may have provided a survival advantage to our ancestors. That is, the caveman who falsely believes that the shadow outside his cave is a short-nosed bear, rather than just a shadow, pays no price for his false belief by staying inside the cave and surviving to make more cavebabies. The caveman who does not to falsely assign such agency to the shadow, however, might pay the ultimate price by venturing outside and being eaten.

This has been offered as an explanation for why belief in god/gods/spirits/invisible agents is so ubiquitous: believers in agency – even in false agency – survived more frequently to produce more similarly believing off-spring.

No, because such a claim is based upon a false etymology of the term: “atheist” is not “a-theist” (one not believing in deities) but is and has always been “athe-ist” (one believing in the nonexistence of deities). Very recently, evangelical atheists have tried to propagate the false etymology, irrespective of two thousand six hundred years of actual usage, so as to enrol more people in their ranks, and have only managed to annoy linguists, agnostics, and many Buddhists.

I dooont think so :shrug:.

Could you please provide a source for the true etymology? All the references I found with online dictionaries were for the so-called false one, i.e. a- “without” + theos “a god”. TIA

An atheist first must possess a rebellious heart and intellectual mind. Babies do not have that, being totally dependent.

Everyone is born without beliefs.

When I was a baby, I ate, screamed, and pooped.

I really couldn’t have cared less about philosophical issues one way or another.

Atheism is not the absence of religion, I would say its closer to Agnostic in that they don’t have the mental capacity to fathom divinity yet, so they dont beleave or dis beleave in god.


For Greek, the LSJ:
αθεος (, dating from Pindar (C6th/5th BCE).

For English, the OED:
A. n.

  1. One who denies or disbelieves the existence of a God.
  2. One who practically denies the existence of a God by disregard of moral obligation to Him; a godless man.
    B. adj.
    Atheistic, impious.
    Examples are listing from the C16th onwards, e.g. “1571 A. Golding tr. J. Calvin Psalmes of Dauid with Comm. Ep. Ded. 3 The Atheistes which say…there is no God.”

Even Webster’s gets it right (, as does ( It might be useful to note that “disbelieve” is not merely “fail to believe”, in case that is the cause of the confusion.

Of course not. Babies lack a belief in government, but they’re not anarchists. They lack a belief in Obama, but they’re not Republican. They lack a belief in Romney, but nor are they Democrats. They lack a belief in anything, really, but they’re not nihilists.

This is just atheist wishful thinking. Ever since Dawkins published The God Delusion, many have been adamantly claiming that atheism is a “lack of belief in God”. It’s nothing more than an attempt to inflate their numbers.

Atheism is the belief that there is no God. It requires conscious thought.

Are these the Nazis, Walter?

I don’t see how a baby can be an atheist, unless you define the word in such a way that cats, squirrels, and rocks are also atheists. They just don’t have a concept of God or philosophy at all.

Well, maybe my cats have a concept of a god… but, in that case its nothing more than The Great Feeder, and they think its me… :wink:

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