“All babies are born atheists,” claims Berlin’s Atheist Shoe Company. The company plans to market a new line of shoes for baby atheists, who only believe in “Mummy, Daddy and boobies.” First, I’ve got to admit that the shoes are amazing (except for that political sloganeering on the soles), and the Kickstarter video is simply hilarious. (Watch the video below; just don’t get caught up in believing their faulty premise.) But then, I’ve got to take exception with their initial premise: Babies may, in fact, be predisposed to faith. Babies, experiencing everything for the first time, approach the universe with a sense of wonder and anticipation. That may, in fact, make the experience of God’s existence more plausible than for, say, a forty-year-old office worker who has become jaded and takes the world for granted, and who no longer stops to admire the intricacy of a dandelion or the gentle touch of a purring kitten. Even if babies are not, at birth, able to contemplate creation and the Creator, the decision that God does not exist would require two steps:
first, a consideration of who God is, and
second, a choice whether or not to believe in Him.
Atheism is not simply the absence of belief, but rather, a deliberate intellectual and psychological push away from the premise of God. Atheism is a conviction about a conviction, hence is two steps away from the unknowing agnosticism of infancy. Jimmy Akin wrote an excellent column over at Strange Notions titled, simply, Are Babies Atheist? He writes:
I understand why the atheists who make this claim would be attracted to it. At least, I understand why I would find it attractive if I were an atheist:
- It can be plausibly claimed that babies do not have a belief in God, which makes one of the premises of the argument seem true.
- If every position other than outright assertion of God’s existence falls under my banner, my position would seem larger and more popular.
- I could claim atheism as mankind’s natural state, thus creating an implicit argument for it. Being in accord with human nature is good, right?
- I could claim atheism as the default human belief, and thus avoid of the burden of proof in arguing with others. I could then claim that the burden of proof is on those who want to believe in God. Until I’m satisfied by their arguments, I’m entitled to act on the assumption that God does not exist.
But consider this . . . Babies Also Do Not Believe That There Is No God One problem with the argument is that it is reversible. One can just as easily switch to the conventional definition of atheism and say:
- Babies also do not believe the proposition “There is no God.” Therefore, they are non-atheists.
- If everybody except those who outright assert that “There is no God” falls under my banner (non-atheism), that shows that my position is larger and more popular.
- I could claim that non-atheism is the natural state of humanity, and being in harmony with human nature is good, right?
- I could claim non-atheism as the default human belief, and thus avoid of the burden of proof in arguing with atheists. I could then claim that the burden of proof is on those who assert the non-existence of God. Until I’m satisfied by their arguments, I’m entitled to act on the assumption that God does exist.
Go read the rest here. By the way, the company wants to reach out not only to atheist mums and dads in traditional families, but also to same sex couples. They plan to offer pairs with “I believe in Daddy & Daddy” and “I believe in Mummy & Mummy” sole pairings. And they’ll offer a vegan-friendly version, presumably not made of leather. Here, as I promised, is their amusing video.