Blog 134: Short Dialogue: We Are Born Atheists

Pierre Marchand


Atheist: Did you know that all children are atheists at birth?
Believer: Hum. No, I’ve never thought about it. But no, certainly not mine.
A: Oh really? So they were born already baptised and knew their prayers?
B: Ha ha, that’s true, and to be serious, I think you’re right. But we hurried to have them baptised.
A: Yes, churches have known for a long time that the situation must be fixed as soon as possible.
B: Sure, otherwise if they die before being baptised, they can’t enter paradise.
A: And after that, good Catholic parents will fill their children’s heads with unverifiable beliefs. At the same time, they instill in them, from early childhood, fairy tales and belief in Santa Claus. At a certain age, they’ll tell them that there is no Santa, no witches, no tooth fairy.
B: That’s right. Everybody does it.
A: Yes, but the rest—baby Jesus in the manger with the ox and donkey, the three wise men, the angels and shepherds—they tell them that these are all true. They make them say their prayers before going to bed. They teach them the cult of Mary and the saints. Later on, they make them feel guilty with confessions and sin, heaven and hell and god who sees everything, even their thoughts, and they introduce them to holy communion. All of this before the age of 7.
B: Sure, that is how to raise children in order to foster good Catholics. They have to be taught faith and they have to practice the sacraments as soon as possible. Since religion isn’t an essential characteristic of an individual’s identity, it must be instilled from the youngest age so that it sort of becomes so, and also to correctly shape their conscience.
A: Speaking of conscience, isn’t the indoctrination of children what is called violation of conscience, or brainwashing? Why aren’t they allowed to grow up to adolescence and then choose their belief or non-belief? If their parents live by the convictions they profess and preach by example, won’t the children be inclined to adopt their faith without indoctrination? Look at what is happening with Muslims. Some parents organise ceremonies in which their 9 or 10 year old daughters promise solemnly to wear the hijab all their life. And these parents claim that it’s their daughters’ choice. Isn’t it a little early at the age of 10 to commit oneself for life? Isn’t this a clear case of indoctrination?
B: Hum, possibly, but I think we would have many fewer believers if we waited until adolescence for them to choose a religion.
A: Exactly. Religions know that children are malleable, that they aren’t yet capable of critical thinking, that they’ll swallow any nonsense and that it will be very difficult to get rid of it later on. Each indoctrinated child is therefore a guarantee of future revenue for the clergy.
B: Now, you’re just being mean. Don’t you think you’re exaggerating a little?
A: A little, but rest assured, it’s even worse with Muslims.
B: Is that so?
A: Yes. Muslims, from the earliest age, are told about Mohammed and the angel Gabriel, of the gentle deeds and sayings of the “prophet” and also of the precepts of the koran. Some even have to learn it by heart in Arabic. They are introduced to praying five times a day when the muezzin howls, to ablutions, to Ramadan and to all sorts of rites like entering the toilet with the left foot and exiting with the right, and wiping their ass using the left hand, etc. The cruel and bloodthirsty actions of Mohamed are never mentioned. Instead they are told about paradise and hell and about Allah who knows everything, sees all, even their thoughts. Later on they’ll be taught that science has no other aim but to prove the veracity of koranic verses and other fallacies like: the earth is flat, the sun sets in a muddy spring (18:86), that the stars are projectiles for lapidating demons (67:5), etc.
B: I find it difficult to accept that they believe all of that in 2022.
A: I don’t know if they believe it, but some of them consider the koran to be eternal, uncreated and the unerring word of god.
B: But this must result in good believers. After all, it’s the same god, isn’t it?
A: Not at all, since Muslims deny the divinity of Jesus. What is certain, however, is that these children are even more convinced than Catholic children that if they believe this, they’ll go to paradise, and that if they don’t believe or if they doubt, they’ll go to hell for eternity. Their parents are just as convinced as they are.
B: Are you insinuating that these parents are the ones responsible for these practices?
A: Yes, but without any ill will. They don’t intend to do wrong. On the contrary, they act for what they believe is the good of their children because they themselves have been indoctrinated as children.
B: Like us, then.
A: Unfortunately, yes. But in the name of the children’s freedom of conscience, shouldn’t religion courses in school be abolished? The children have already been contaminated by their parents. We must limit the damage by not exposing them to religious propaganda.
B: Yeah, but you atheists do the same on your side.
A: Absolutely not. Atheists don’t have to indoctrinate their children since they are atheists at birth. Without religious indoctrination, they generally remain sane. If they are lucky enough not to be born in a Muslim country, they won’t be persecuted, imprisoned and tortured because of their unbelief.
B: Yes but they’ll have no morals, they’ll turn out bad and become criminals or will not become such good citizens as those who practice a religion. They’ll have a lesser moral conscience.
A: Not at all. Statistics tend to prove the contrary. One only has to compare the crime rate in very religious countries like the U.S.A to that in less religious countries such as Canada, most European countries, Australia, New Zealand, etc., or alternately, to consider the low percentage of atheists in prisons.
B: Aren’t there nonetheless children among you who convert to a religion or a sect?
A: Yes, unfortunately, but they are few. And in such a case, atheist parents don’t threaten them with an eternity of suffering because they don’t believe as their parents do.
B: Okay, but I think these parents will be going to hell along with them.
One comment on “Blog 134: Short Dialogue: We Are Born Atheists
  1. Gina Bisaillon says:

    I was raised a Catholic so I was really surprised when I met my husband, who was Mexican, to find that he had been brought up without any religion whatsoever. His parents were not atheists they just did not believe in religious education for their kids. If I had any doubts about whether you need religion to be a good person, they would’ve been dispelled as my husband had exactly the same values as I did.

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