“All kids are born as atheists.”

This rhetoric is thrown around a lot in debates between theists and atheists. While it does seem logical from the outset, it is not. The main reason being a new born child is ignorant of ideas which we as adults take for granted.

Atheism is the absence of theism. It is a state of disbelief in gods and deities (and everything in between). Without understanding what theism is, one cannot be an atheist.

The same holds true for the opposite claim too: kids born to parents of so and so religion belong to the same religion. They’re not. They’ll most probably grow up to hold the same belief their parents uphold, but the moment they’re born, they’re neither theists nor atheists.

A new born child has no sense of religion. He/she has no sense of even the culture they’re born in. Everything is learned gradually as they grow up. Family, friends, teachers, surroundings, experiences, and a host of other factors are responsible for shaping who we are.

According to  Islam, it’s naturally assumed that every child is born as a Muslim, whoever the parents are. Take this quote from Sahih Muslim, Book 033, Number 6426 for instance.

Abu Huraira reported Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: No babe is born but upon Fitra (the primordial nature of all creatures to be born into Islam). It is his parents who make him a Jew or a Christian or a Polytheist. A person said: Allah’s Messenger, what is your opinion if they were to die before that (before reaching the age of adolescence when they can distinguish between right and wrong)? He said: It is Allah alone Who knows what they would be doing.

You can imagine how bigoted it is to assume such a position. Islam is cunning in that way. It recognizes how parents can make their child a proponent of a certain religion, yet it fails to apply the same logic to itself.

Likewise, it’s wrong to assume that every kid is born an atheist. Let the kids decide for themselves what they want to be when they grow up. It’s only when you know theism can you become an atheist.

In a world where theism doesn’t exist, there is no necessity of a concept such as atheism. I’d like to live in such a world, but sadly, not all fantasies are true.