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|Born Atheist, what does that mean?
Born atheist. On one level, it is a literal statement. Atheism means a lack of belief in
deities. All children are born without a belief in deities, therefore they are born atheist.
But religionists can point to alternative dictionary definitions that say atheism means a
belief there are no gods. That definition requires cognition, beyond the scope of most
newborns. But back and forth arguments about the definition of "atheist" ignore the
broader implications of the term "born atheist."
Just as Nietzsche did not mean "god is dead," to be taken literally–that a deity existed,
he was mortal and he died; so too, the term "born atheist" has meaning beyond its
First, "born atheist" is a statement of atheist pride. People who use it are out, loud and
Further, "born atheist" implies that atheism is a natural state. If everyone is born
atheist, then religion is learned and can be unlearned. People who use the term "born
atheist" will likely be amused to hear religion described as a social virus.
Additionally, the phrase "born atheist" tends to be used by people who have never
adopted a religion. They were born atheist and never changed.
Finally, people who use the term "born atheist" are willing to stand up to the religious
majority. Believing that atheism is a natural state and religion is a social virus, born
atheists actively challenge the assumptions of the religious majority.