At least for the first few years of life. It's the natural state of the human being to not believe in any religion.

However, for most children, their parents soon indoctrinate them with their belief system, resulting in the children learning it as a fact before they are old enough to actually think about it and question it.

I must be clear here that being atheist simply means not believing in any gods. Surely a newborn baby doesn't believe in any.

Dem Bones: I'll bite

People naturally make stuff up to explain the unknown. The fact that no two groups of people, primitive or "advanced", have discreetly founded the exact same religion is proof that the explanations are indeed "made up", and not an epiphany from above.

Then you must take into account science. Scientific research finds explanations based on logic to replace "made up" beliefs.

Scientific research isn't always right either. We may have no perfectly accurate scientific explanations, but they are closer to the truth than the ideas they replaced. It provides enough foundation to continue further research, which will eventually replace its own foundation with even more accurate observations.

The problem is that few humans are willing to reform their beliefs. They're indoctrinated with "made up" religion from youth, and spend their lives executing Galileo and Copernicus because their supportable discoveries disagree with dogma.

That, my friend, is why everyone is mortal. With every generation the latest scientific observations take root, further displacing the last generation's "made up" crap.

While we have yet to stand on a firmly "logical" base, I think this trend will continue forever, with each new generation treating the last generation's "made up" crap as being based more on beliefs than logic, whether that last generation was profusing what we now refer to as religion or to science that has since been disproved.

This is a good thing. I know I will become stagnant in my old age. My death will be necessary to allow new ideas to flourish.
I am yet young and able to smile about my own mortality.
It seems to me that the essential element in all life is belief and that the threshold is not which beliefs, but that there is or isnt't.

We speak of this quite commsenseically when we speak of theism, of whatever variety, agnosticism, literally no gnosis, no knowledge, and atheism, a strong disbelief as a belief.

I believe it is Madalyn O'Hare who made a church out of an atheist organization, to take advantage of all the tax breaks, and other priviledges that are avaiable to churchs. Why not? She believes fervently in her disbelief.

If in our very being we truly hold no belief, I wonder how we could carry on in the world, simply executing the very mechanics of moving, talking, making writeups on Everything?

My mother called herself an atheist, and was firm in that opinion, even as she faced death from lung cancer. (And it was only her strength that carried me through her death.) But she was raised a Scotish Presbyterian, a fate she spared me. (I am grateful.) And I am convinced that her belief in what she wasn't is what carried us both through.

I have to disagree with the conclusion that "It's the natural state of the human being to not believe in any religion." Of course we are born without any religion.

We are also born without a language. Does that mean it's the natural state of the human being to not speak in any language?

We are born without the ability to read and write. Indeed, for millennia it was "natural" for most humans to remain analphabet. Does that mean we should not "indoctrinate" our children with our own writing and reading system? Perhaps we should leave it up to them to decide whether to use the Roman alphabet, the Cyrillic alphabet, Devanagari, Sinhalese, Arabic, or Kanji.

The truth is that we teach our children what we believe is best for them. Parents who believe a specific religion is good for their children teach them that religion. Others teach their children a different religion (and, by the way, not all religions are theistic--Buddhism is nontheist, which is what we are born with, neither believing nor disbelieving). There is no difference here from some parents teaching their children to cut their food with a knife held in their right hand, then sit the knife down and eat with the fork in their right hand, while other parents teach their children to hold the knife in the right hand and the fork in the left hand at all times. Not to mention chop sticks.

We humans are born totally powerless. We cannot speak, we cannot walk, we cannot change our own diapers. We rely on our parents to help us survive. To imply that it is somehow unnatural for our parents to teach us all they can is ridiculous.

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