Do you think people are born atheist or theist?

25 Answers

Ancient Hippy Profile
Ancient Hippy answered

People are born with absolutely no knowledge of religion. Religion is taught, therefore, people are born non-believers.

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Ancient Hippy
Ancient Hippy commented
That's awesome.
My mother-in-law (Anne) was what we all called a frustrated nun. She was very active in her church and went to mass EVERY day. She was a paramount figure in the adoption process that my wife and I went through when applying for adoption through Catholic Family Services. She had a very close and personal relationship with God and truly believed that every baby spends time with God in heaven before birth. She was an amazing person that never thumped her Bible but don't dare blaspheme in front of her, the wrath of Anne was a comin'.
Cookie Roma
Cookie Roma commented
She sounds like someone I'd enjoy.
Ancient Hippy
Ancient Hippy commented
She was a cool little lady. She lost two kids and her husband many years before she passed but never had a negative thing to say.
CalTex - Doug Morgan Profile

The definition of "theist" is one who believes in the existence of god or gods.  The definition of "a-thiest" is one who does NOT (the "a" prefix) believe in god or gods. It is that simple.  

There are flavors of atheists beyond that, but lack of belief is at the core of them all.  Therefore, since a baby only "knows" what it is taught, it is, by default, an atheist -- a blank slate.

Don Barzini Profile
Don Barzini answered

People tend to adapt to the faith of their parents, based on the region they live in. If you are born in the US, you are more likely than not, a Christian; In Iraq, a Muslim; in India, a Hindu. Religious faith is learned, NOT inborn. Believers are taught belief by other believers.

Bikergirl Anonymous Profile

I think newborns are completely devoid of any sense of self or any other entity other than their immediate personal needs. They run on instinct .. To suckle and feed, because that is a survival instinct ... Beyond basic instinct is learned skills, and knowledge.

Walt O'Reagun Profile
Walt O'Reagun answered

If people were born theists ... Or believing in a god ... Then EVERYBODY would be born with the same belief.  The belief in the true god(s).  Obviously, that is not the case, or there would not be hundreds of religions.  (sects, yes - but not completely differing religions)

Nov Noveltman Profile
Nov Noveltman answered

It would be an interesting experiment. Raise a child to 25 or so without any religious paraphernalia at all. No indoctrination.

I totally doubt she'd have faith of any supernatural kind.

Kind of impossible though. Believers in the supernatural salivate at the sight of young children. Not in any Subway sense, just at the thought that with the right method of persuasion, the child would enter their ranks and keep their faction one person further from obsolescence.

Darik Majoren Profile
Darik Majoren answered

Since the base meaning of the word "Atheism" is "Without God - No God", we are born Atheist lack both the knowledge of the concept regarding God/Gods and along with any other knowledge other then our base instincts (the need to eat to stay alive).

Since this is not a conscious decision to choose NOT to believe in the concepts of religion, it is implicit. It is usually by cultural traditions that we indoctrinate our children. Hence, why some believe in one type of God, while others, another or none.

K. B.  Baldwin Profile
K. B. Baldwin answered

Do recall reading, some years ago, that someone has posited that people were born with a genetic disposition for or against  belief. They called it the "God gene".  Don't recall much beyond that, but do recall that there was quite a huhu about it at the time. 

Sophia Tortilla Profile
Sophia Tortilla answered

Religion is environmental. It depends on what family they are born into. I do have to say that it is human nature to want to believe in an external force for hope

John McCann Profile
John McCann answered

Contrary to what a lot of the people here think we are not born blank slates and we are born with the mechanisms to at least be shunted toward the religious state, though not anything so specific as a god.

Take our pattern recognition ability and out attribution of agency ability. We see patterns and we attribute these patterns to agency, thus some forms of primitive religion is born.

Now babies would have no concept of gods though they have abilities such as folk physics, folk biology and the like. Gods are a very specific entity needing much in the way of human complication for their existence

So babies would be born atheist, having no belief in gods. . 

Charles Davis Profile
Charles Davis answered

People are born with a clean slate, it's their parents and associates that place beliefs in their heads. My children had no influence to or away from religion from my wife or myself. They were allowed to go to church with their friends, and received answers to their religious questions in a nonpartisan way. All but one out of five is atheist.

mary adam Profile
mary adam answered

Neither. They are born believers because they are magical thinkers. Children engage in imaginative play.  They ask a lot of questions, what happens when you die? What is death? Children engage in play in order to learn acceptance or make up their own minds. No person is completely logical we all dream and we all buy into superstitions. Would you buy and wear a dead mans coat? What if he'd been a murderer? No, because somehow you think his essence is attached, hence why we hold on to loved ones items. 

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CalTex - Doug Morgan
@Mary: I do not know how the article regarding discoveries in dreams is relevant. These people were already working diligently to work out a problem and their minds continued to work on it as they slept. Not evidence of the supernatural, but it is a testament to our amazing brains.

And as a matter of policy I refuse to respond to anything on Youtube presented as credible evidence due to Youtube being such a wasteland of conspiracies, wack-os, propaganda, pranks, and other useless, unscientific, and otherwise misinformed opinions.
mary adam
mary adam commented
Oh well the red book of Carl Jung isn't a secret. He did believe in demons.
As did Descartes who said that a spirit tell him about analytical geometry. He also had an evil demon.
In fact many inventions have been brought about through dreams. Something that science today belittles as meaning nothing. To the freethinkers they did believe that dreaming was another means of gaining information.
Again the things that we create are not necessary to our survival, we do not adapt to our environment, we adapt our environment to us. We also are the only species that has developed a wide vocabulary of many languages, and a self awareness that allows us to have thoughts about our thoughts, how often do you seek quiet from your bombardment of thoughts. We are very different from any other species. Why? We are also unnecessarily destructive, no other species seeks to destroy like humans, or over eats unless living with humans. The list goes on..
CalTex - Doug Morgan
None of that information substantiates the claim that there are no atheists, or that we are born believing in the supernatural. Yes, we are born believers in that evolution has caused us to born with an innate "propensity" to be followers who believe what they are told by parents and elders. Our survival depended on all of us being a cohesive group. Those that were loners were more likely to die without the group's protection. Those that adopted the beliefs and customs of the group, fit in and garnered the protection of the group.

What differentiates us from other animals is our brain. Pure and simple. We reached a tipping point in our evolution around 500,000 years ago when our cerebral neocortex (as I have mentioned) suddenly (in geologic time) grew to three times its previous size. That is when we were on the path to mastering our environment. We were no longer at the mercy of nature. We gained the ability to determine whatever path we wished to take.

We had an innate drive to understand our environment, and it would not be surprising that humans used this new ability for abstract thought to conceive of gods and a spirit world to help make sense out of an otherwise chaotic existence.
Cookie Hill Profile
Cookie Hill answered

No we all have to be taught that there is no Creator. As we grow and look at the awesom universe and all we have on earth to sustain life  the question come up who made all this? Genesis 1:1

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CalTex - Doug Morgan
@Cookie: As we grow up we are either "front-loaded" with belief (by parents and/or a believing culture) that a god (depending on to which religion we are exposed) is the cause, or lacking that instruction, we acknowledge that there is a cause, and embark on a journey to find out what that cause is. While many of us have been exposed to various religious views regarding this cause, we have found scientific explanations to be more reliable.
Darik Majoren
Darik Majoren commented
There are many that have been brought up outside ANY indoctrination, and choose to believe in what can be observed and seen . . . "God" is an primitive concept by those who needed to know "Why" prior to any organized method of observation . . . a shortcut to the "Why" made of myth.
We absolutely do have to be taught there isn't a creator . . . my children are perfect examples of this.
Darik Majoren
Darik Majoren commented
Sorry, I meant "We absolutely DO NOT have to be taught there isn't a creator . . ." Didn't check my wording before I submitted.
Anon ymous Profile
Anon ymous answered

No one's atheist or theist when they're born. You are what your social environment creates you. The surrounding leads you to be theist/atheist.

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CalTex - Doug Morgan
@Charme: But until we have been in the world long enough to have absorbed enough knowledge from our surroundings to consider the issue of atheism versus theism, we are atheists by default since we are born without belief in god or gods, which is the definition of atheism.
SuperFly Original
This is not completely true
Darik Majoren
Darik Majoren commented
Superfly, Unless you are a person who supports presupposition, it is very true. Belief in Anything from birth still needs to convince or indoctrinate a person with no previous knowledge . . . you cannot believe anything if you have no knowledge of the concept . . . .
Example: you cannot ask a person if they believe in Santa Clause if they have never heard of the concept of Santa Clause . . . and then at what stage or point in their life are you introducing this concept and to what degree of trust does the person who is first learning of this concept, have in the person delivering the information?
KB Baldwin Profile
KB Baldwin answered

Well, there was a fluff-up about a genetic "god gene tenor twelve years ago or so (maybe longer - time flies when you are an oldz), which posited that some of us were born with a genetic predisposition to believe in the supernatural.  I don't know, but it does seem to me that some of us need to believe, and some of us just can't see the logic in that.  What scares me about the believers is that deep in a large chunk of humanity is a need to dictate behavior to the rest of us.  Combine those two and things can be ugly.  My personal feeling is that you can believe whatever silly stuff you want as long as you don't expect me to conform to your dogma, or acknowledge that your belief system is superior to mine. 

Didge Doo Profile
Didge Doo answered

When we are born our minds are undeveloped and without knowledge. As we grow, we learn.

The children of religious parents are taught there is a God. They trust their parents and, for a time, believe.

Some set it aside and move on to other things; others hold their parents' belief all their lives.

But at the point of birth? Their minds are a clean slate. Well, more of a palimpsest, I suppose.

no name Profile
no name , atheist, answered

every one is born a atheist. It is when people introduce religion to some one they are no longer a atheist oof

Shabouchy Aqua Profile
Shabouchy Aqua answered

No. I completely agree with Cookie Hill. Children naturally are born inquisitive about how we got here and who created the wonderful earth on which we live as well as this amazing awe inspiring universe and it's various cycles. We find the answer at Genesis 1:1 and Isaiah 45:18. When I meet and speak with atheists, one of the questions I always ask is "Have you always been an atheist?" Thus far, the answer that I've always received is no. We have all the reasons to believe that there is a Creator than not to believe that there is one. Interestingly, even when one chooses not to believe in a Creator, they still feel inclined to attribute it to something. I think it speaks to our innate desire to acknowledge that this amazing earth on which we live didn't just happen. For every cause there is an effect.

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Walt O'Reagun
Walt O'Reagun commented
No, Dark … my point was that the presence of curiosity does not indicate the belief in a deity. To counter the OP's argument regarding the "natural curiosity" of children, as evidence they are born believing in a deity.
Darik Majoren
Darik Majoren commented
Sorry, I totally misunderstood Walt. Apologies my friend. Let that be a lesson to those who would "Drink and Post" . . . ;)
Charles Davis
Charles Davis commented
LMAO, Dark, been there done that
Tom  Jackson Profile
Tom Jackson answered

An old question by date, but it is always current in relevance.

I like to think that since the soul (as well as the physical being) was just recently created, it (the soul) somehow retains its "awareness" (however we might define that word in that context) of the existence of God and its relationship to him.  (Sort of a divine, non-Jungian "collective unconscious.")

The soul shares its act of existence with the body; and since the body is rooted in time (and therefore change), it must wait until the body attains the capacity for the brain to formulate the appropriate ability to make abstractions.

And at that moment, God starts His approach toward each of us personally, growing us to the extent that we cooperate.

(Hey---it's my canvas, my paint, and therefore my picture.  Take or leave a copy---your choice.)

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Darik Majoren
Darik Majoren commented
Debbie you definition of "THE Truth" . . . is synonymous with another believer's definition of "The Truth" . . the difference is you could worship different Gods and have different old texts to live by . . . both would be doing so on "FAITH" , both would consider the other truly Unknowing of real TRUTH as it pertains to each other's belief system . . . . Thus, your Faith cannot lead you to a reliable Path to truth and neither can theirs.
Darik Majoren
Darik Majoren commented
Tom Hebrew (Ancient Hebrew) we have actual meaning for -
Likeness =
Original Word: תְּמוּנָה
Part of Speech: Noun Feminine
Transliteration: temunah
Phonetic Spelling: (tem-oo-naw')
Short Definition: form

tmunah {tem-oo-naw'}; from miyn; something portioned (i.e. Fashioned) out, as a shape, i.e. (indefinitely) phantom, or (specifically) embodiment, or (figuratively) manifestation (of favor) -- image, likeness, similitude.

No "Special Translation" from the Ghost of Christmas past needed . . .
You are thusly painted into a corner like always.
Tom  Jackson
Tom Jackson commented
This is the first of 6 replies you have made in response to my last posts.

One of the many tips I have learned from my lawyer is that when someone responds to a proposal with a silly or simply unacceptable answer...it's best to just ignore it.

Great advice.

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