We are all born atheists and have to be taught religion.


Exactly this! It's weird to me that people are confused by the mostly blank slate humans are at birth...we're not born loving Trump, God, Guns and Football (we are in fact born loving soccer, though😉). But seriously, it does not seem like a revelation to know that non-religion has also been a fact throughout history.


Upvote for original love of proper football!


I mean, I've been pregnant twice...that's definitely Fussball they're playing in there.


Aye, the beautiful game. Can’t agree more!


Agree on the soccer. Everyone just has this urge to kick any ball in an open field to their full extent


Football and religion have nothing to do with each other. I know so many atheists who love football, even though I hate it. I'm not religious, but I am agnostic.


I mean, they have more in common than you might think. Both are learned, both have people who are way too passionate about them, both have the potential to cause domestic violence, both have fierce loyalty that end in altercations, both are very lucrative businesses…


Obviously you've never been to Texas, LOL... High school football is considered a religion out here.




This is true, but it's kind of dishonest. Thanks to evolution, our brains naturally assume there are thinking entities around us, even when there are none. Religion, and things like imaginary friends, are extensions of this attentive bias toward mental agents. It's why every culture has some notion of angels, demons, or spirits.


You'd have to at least be aware of the concept of theism inorder to be agianst it , aka "ya, that's bullshit". I'm willing to argue we're born ignorant of it all for better or worse.


> You'd have to at least be aware of the concept of theism inorder to be agianst it Against what? The default is to have zero reason to even *think about*, let alone believe that there's a rollercoaster at the bottom of the ocean. That bullshit has to be introduced (indoctrinated) to babies -> kids -> adults


However religion would have to be completely banished from society for people not to be introduced to the concept of religion. Even if a child had no religious instruction they are eventually going to see a church/mosque/synagogue/temple and start asking questions.


Atheism isn't being against religion (aka anti-religion), but simply the disbelief in any gods/deities. And yes, you just proved my point. Religion has to be taught. No one is born with the knowledge of any gods existence or impact on the world. They're taught it by their parents, friends, society as a whole.


Atheism isn't being against religion (aka anti-religion), but simply the disbelief in any gods/deities. Nothing more, nothing less.


I agree were born ignorant, but that is atheism as much as hating theism is atheism. You don't have to make an assertion to be an atheist. Just don't believe in anything and by default you are atheist.


Atheism means you don’t believe in gods (which no newborn does). It doesn’t mean being against anything. Read the FAQ.


Literally 1984 😔


Opinions are religion if you build church for it, politics have taken over it, we can call woke movement religion without a church. You are born without words, all words have meaning, there is not much to life without meaning ... I like the world with the father christmas more than without, telling small kids that their mom is dead and eaten by the worms is not nicer than telling that they wait us in heaven. So you are right, we are born without the religions but lives without them are cold, maybe we just do not define the word religion the right way.


Life is not cold without religion. I love the beauty in this world and it wasn't given to me by a diety. My Mom showed me that I can appreciate things for what they are and I choose to see the good in them. The kids in my life know My Mom has passed away and I don't tell them she's in heaven. I tell them that she lives on in me, in my actions, in my memories of her, and my love for her and there is no reason to involve a religion in it.


> telling small kids that their mom is dead and eaten by the worms is not nicer than telling that they wait us in heaven That is not what we tell our children. When my father died, my daughter was four years old. We told her that he was gone, but he lived on in our memories. That was enough for her. She accepted that. She's almost 12 now and an atheist.


What is your point ?


I'm pretty sure I made my point.


Not really as my point was that you can say heaven as a metaphore for the same, as an imatge it is nice and if you are not fanatic, you understand that heaven is exactly what you wrote, in our minds ... it is lost in traduction if you think that ”heaven” is up there in a sky and not in out minds.


Have to disagree. You weren’t really born an atheist if you didn’t even have the cognitive ability to even think of gods or not.


We agree to disagree. If you don't teach a baby about gods and religion, they will not believe in any (of course this is hypothetical since there's no peer reviewed studies I'm aware of).


no religious person has ever given a cogent answer to Epicurus and "The Poblem of Evil" since he posited it in 300 BC: **“Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?** **Then he is not omnipotent.** **Is he able, but not willing?** **Then he is malevolent.** **Is he both able and willing?** **Then whence cometh evil?** **Is he neither able nor willing?** **Then why call him God?”** ― Epicurus


Honestly haven't met someone answer this with anything else other than its a test or something. But its quite simple, in condensed form its, god is either unwilling and/or unable to.


Well in this case he is able but not willing, so I guess we're back to square one


>Is he able, but not willing? > >Then he is malevolent. that is not square one.


I was guessing that square one was the whole demonstration, not just the first part


i think square one means back to the beginning when no conclusions had been made yet.


you are definitely not a coder because that's square zero


actually i have a BS in computer science and speak pascal, cobol, fortran, lisp, c, c++, apl, java, perl and linux. and you are wrong.


The usual response I get is "you can't have joy without suffering" or "people need suffering to grow" or something along those lines. Problem is... if their god can't create a universe where people can grow without suffering... then they're not all powerful. If they choose not to, they're immoral.


On your worldview you can’t talk about evil. Your worldview is matter in motion, nothing more. So if you bring up evil you’re stealing from the Christian worldview. What’s evil about accidental collections of molecules (humans) bumping into other accidental collections of molecules?


i see. you don't understand atheism, science or the scientific method. thank you for clarifying that fact for everybody.


Evil is not a purely Christian thing, christians used words like “Evil” to describe acts in the bible the only difference is that non religious people’s definition of evil is built on what is considerer morally wrong by the majority of society, and changes with time. The christian definition of evil is whatever god says he doesn’t like and whatever the devil does. Gays? Evil! Divorce for any other reason than sexual betrayal? Evil! Disrespecting your owner as a slave? You guessed it Evil! Why should we base our definition of evil and morality on a book that is so dated that it tolerates homophobia, beating your wife (but not the other way around?!), and slavery


and since epicurus was dead long before heyzoos was a glimmer in gawds eye, he was talking about natural evil like volcanoes and floods and the like.


a long time ago, small primates saw a bush shaking. those primates had a choice. they could go check and see what was causing the shaking or they could believe that any shaking bush was caused by something dangerous like a tiger. the ones that scampered up a tree without investigating the shaking bush lived to have lots of fearful offspring that thought every natural occurrence was caused by an active intelligence. that is where the religious come from. some of the the ones that went to see what reality was got eaten by tigers. but enough of them survived that we now have science.




Sums up one of Dawkins’ argument from *The God Delusion* pretty nicely.


yup. i just didn't want to bother looking up the exact quote.


I've said it before - atheism is the default state for humans. Atheism only exists as a concept because religion has taken over. It's like if puppy kicking became as popular as organized religion. The world would have the puppy kickers and the non-puppy kickers, but there would be no non-puppy kickers if there were no puppy kickers.


Atheists kick puppies; confirmed! Edit for people who don't understand sarcasm: I'm kidding


Dammit, wish I would have come across this post pre-edit. Wondering what my emotional maturity around that would have been as a stand-alone. I probably would have giggled...or "yelled" over Reddit...it could've gone anywhere.


I would've though agnosticism is closer to the default for many. A lot of kids are told there is a God and they easily believe it. If their default was atheism, I think more convincing would be required to make them religious or to remained convinced into adulthood. However, there are many people who also have the tendency towards atheism. And despite years of religious propaganda remain atheists or agnostic atheists. I think it makes more sense then that a majority of people move back and forth within an agnostic mindset, than being committed to theism or atheism from birth.


Atheism is our default state, in a way, but religion would arise naturally no matter what because of our tendency to imagine there are conscious beings behind things that attract our attention but have no other explanation for. We aren't doomed to a world full of the religious because it was allowed to take root and take over before it was stamped out, it's an inevitable result of an adaptation of the social human brain that we will likely always have to actively refute and push against.




Then where does our capacity for reason come in? Does it just not exist normally?


Thank you so much for sharing this!


You're welcome! I find it fascinating how ancient atheism actually is so I had to share this. The fact that atheism has been written out of most histories lends against the argument that is often claimed by religious people that atheism is an unnatural and relatively more recent phenomenon - which we are discovering is completely false. I have to admit the more I find out about ancient atheists the more justified I feel in my beliefs, or lack thereof for that matter. Just knowing that in ancient times, which are deceptively portrayed as religious in nature, people were fighting the same battles that atheists are still facing to this day is comforting. We have a history that is slowly coming to light.


Most likely the truth of the past is distorted both by the fact that atheists, unlike theists, don't feel obligated to try and force their beliefs onto others, and that theists gain support from those who wish to use it to control others.


Great point. Atheism stands as a system that has nothing to gain through conversion, lending to the idea that atheism is brought about by intellectual integrity and not by submission.


>Atheism stands as a system that has nothing to gain through conversion, Nothing to gain, but everything to lose if we don't start... If we stay quiet and let DeSantis become president, it's not going to be good for anyone...


Worth noting that what we know as atheism is pretty recent. It didn't always mean specifically "no belief in God". In ancient times, you were just as likely to be considered an "atheist" if you believed in the wrong God, or even if you believed in the same god but a different doctrine.


Atheism is actually derived from the Greek word Atheos, meaning godless. Atheism has been proven to have been well established as a belief/idea since atleast the 5th-century BCE with the Greek philosopher Diagoras, who has been coined "The first atheist". Ancient Chinese, Indian, and Roman cultures have a modest atheist history as well.


Literally from the first paragraph on Diagorus' wiki: "Throughout antiquity, he was regarded as an atheist, but very little is known for certain about what he actually believed". His stature as an atheist figure is overstated. Atheism used to *also* describe those who believed in a god, just not a specific one. How a word is used and how it is defined are not always the same.


Straw man argument. It's clear to me that you have an anti-athiest agenda by the claims you are making.


Nice find. Too many atheists in this forum buy into the idea that religion and god belief are an inherent part of human nature.


Thank you! I just found the audiobook called "Battling the Gods" on Scribd that is mentioned in the article. I can't wait to listen to it.


While religion isn’t natural, the behavior of assigning something supernatural to things one doesn’t understand seems pretty natural, for certain types of people.


magical thinking is a lot less work than critical thinking.


Religion and God belief aren't inherent in us, but it's an inevitable side effect of our evolved cognition.


Honestly I find this a little depressing. I viewed religion as something our species needed to evolve past, a hold over from more primitive times. Which would mean that we'd be less and less religious over time. But it sounds like we're actually worse off now that we have monotheism.


>Civilization will thrive only when the last stone, from the last church has fallen on the last priest. -Emile Zola


If it weren't for religion, we wouldn't need to be atheists.


Humans aren't rational, we are lazy and gullible and ignorant and illogical, especially as kids we will believe anything we're told and care more about what feels good that what is right. That doesn't make religion natural, it just makes us naturally susceptible to frauds. But let's say, for argument, that religion is natural, that still wouldn't make it right. Murder is natural, rape is nature, jealousy is natural, hate is natural, greed is natural and no sane, moral person claims these are good things. Other examples of natural things would include stillbirths, parasites, plagues, famine, etc.; nature is the thing humanity has spent its entire existence fighting against.


>That doesn't make religion natural, it just makes us naturally susceptible to frauds. Exactly. As children we naturally look up to our parents because to our ignorant minds they appear to know what they are doing and talking about so we see them as an authority. But as we become adults ourselves we realize that our parents weren't as omniscient as we believed and that they very much are as gullible and illogical as children are. Religions seem to be purely produced to prey on the very natural ignorances of man. The less educated we are and the more dull our critical faculties are seems to determine how gullible one is given to be.


Very nice article. Have ordered the book. :D


The audiobook version is free on Scribd! 😁


I like the act of holding a solid book, the smell of the paper and turning the pages. I am a tactile person. :D


Well damn, since you put it that way now I'm jealous. Lol.




Thanks for this, a very fascinating article. Very informative. Hopefully this catches on and it gets covered more.


I hope so too. I just discovered an ancient Indian school of thought called Charvaka School which was one of a few atheistic vedic schools of thought. I'm dumbfounded by how much atheist history has been suppressed!


That's interesting learn. I wonder how much we can uncover. This is definitely a rabbit hole I'm willing to go down.


Same here, haha. Have a great day friend!


Thank you, you too.


thank you for sharing this info, it was a very interesting and good read! :•) ☆


You're most welcome!


I imagine that throughout the ages you've always had those people who didn't consider religion a good answer to the mysteries of the world, but before the scientific revolution gave these people something solid to gather around the religious people had an easier time controlling the narrative.


Another great point! Lately I have been contemplating the history of religion and how it has undeniably been used to control people. Just as a hammer is known through its effectiveness at securing nails, religion is known through its effectiveness at securing submission.


I think of atheism as un believing. We are all agnostics, but let’s just admit the question of an all powerful god is silly to begin with. It’s not testable and doesn’t deserve serious consideration.


Religion is a learned behavior


Of course, but when all you hear is how bad it is not to believe in a deity, you know no better.


interesting. Does the book mention ancient Indian, Chinese, etc?


I haven't read it yet but from what I've gathered it does touch on them. It's predominantly Greco-Roman focused though.


The author is an expert on the ancient Classical world, which is essentially Greece and Rome, so if he does discuss those societies, he is going out of his area of expertise and thus needs extra scrutiny.


>Disbelieve it or not lol


It doesn't matter anyways, since gangrene and malaria are also natural to humans.


Interesting article. "the study challenges two assumptions that prop up current debates between atheists and believers: Firstly, the idea that atheism is a modern point of view, and second, the idea of "religious universalism" – that humans are naturally predisposed, or "wired", to believe in gods." Both of these are very weak arguments against atheism. Even if the idea was modern/young/fresh/new, that says nothing about its validity. Even if humans are wired to predispose us to believing in gods, that does not mean or prove there is even one of them. I think there is a wall in the theist mind that partitions a bit of the logic/open mindedness needed to see just how wrong a belief in god(s) is. I know I had it and could believe anything I came across was congruent with my belief (e.g. god used evolution as his means of creation). But now, I am still often struck with how pervasive religion is and also its impact on all of society (and often in a decidedly bad way). Even common sentences like "Oh, thank god!" when something "good" happens but also totally ignoring that god could & should have prevented the circumstances that made that good thing seem so good and unexpected. (like a survivor found in the rubble when many are known to have died.) I want to spit out, "Get behind me, Religion!".


Obviously. If everyone were chumps, why would we have a word for chumps?


I like how they drew balls on the horses.




if religion is natural to mankind it means we are insane in our DNA


That might actually explain a few things...


All of the dead are atheists. Or would be.


I do disagree with the part of his thesis where he says that because atheism is ancient, we can't just call religion something ancient that should be discarded. You can find abolitionist texts in the ancient world. That doesn't mean we can't call slavery an ancient idea that should be discarded. Interesting article though, thank you.


Read the book, Doubt by Jennifer Michael Hecht.


Love how the artist took the time and effort for the horses balls


Really tired of academic studies that claim universal truths while considering only western history. Atheism was so clearly mentioned in early Buddhist texts 2500 years ago.




Be careful with your language here- "this article completely refutes the claim" is a lot stronger than "one new study casts doubt on the claim", which is what the article actually says.


It doesn't just cast doubt, it factually proves that atheism rivals Judaism with historical evidence. Read the article then read the book citied in the article then see why I'm using such language.


Yeah because one article definitely means it’s true


Just like that ONE book makes God real, huh?


Its a research paper, not a “article”. Grow up


The article directly references ancient Greek writings which you can look up yourself. Unless you think there's some massive global conspiracy to fake ancient Greek documents that purport atheism...


As a matter of fact, it does. 😎


“Because atheism's ancient history has largely gone unwritten”


No, because historical evidence shows that atheism has been around longer than most modern religions, and rivals Judaism. So historically speaking atheism has been around as long as religion. The argument that man is naturally religious is shown to not be so. The argument that religion is a structure of proto-civilization is also shown not to be so. Man has been denying the existence of gods for as long as man has been affirming their existence.


i do believe that humans tend to be religios evolutionarily. that's why we made them up.


I think atheism is a belief, not a religious belief.


Religion is or were to give answers to what we need to know, religion has bad name because there is ideology against it and also for it’s abuse by the ones that claims to be it’s preachers. Science says when we die, we become earth, religion would give more complex answers to explain that we continue to live in part inside the memories ( we can call it heaven ), religion and science are not foes as is not religion and politics, problem is always humans behind how they use or abuse the religions and the science.


Well that's easily proved... we just gotta kill all the atheists again. That'll show 'em who's natural. /s


Majority of population fail to grasp how absurd and faith we put on humans from old civilization. Especially knowing that we learn new everything. Most of things that were claimed as magic or supernatural were just natural. Were extremely normal, its; our own ignorance and insistence of powerful in society to hold on to those ideas as facts still. So they have power over population. Copernicus, one man who started going around teaching that we are not center of world was punished by powerful with the help of catholics.