I was born an iTheist

I’ve heard it argued in various circles that children are born without a belief in God, which technically makes them atheists. Richard Dawkins argues something of the sort.

Others disagree. The Catholic church, for example, registers every baptized child as Catholic. I was born to (technically) Catholic parents, so I’m registered as a Catholic and always will be.

I think it is a rather silly point, but I love silly points, so let me offer my own solution.

The word atheist comes from the root words ‘a-‘ which means ‘without’ and ‘theos’ which means ‘god.’ Thus theist means ‘with god’ and atheist means ‘godless.’ This is similar to the root for aliterate (which is a relatively recent term meaning a person who is unwilling to read, although able to do so). Aliterate comes from ‘a-‘ and ‘literos’ which means ‘many words.’ There is, however, another word which refers to a person who is unable to read at all. This word is illiterate. Thus, taking a cue from precedent, I’d like to create a new word.

The word I propose for a child who has not yet been exposed to theism is ‘itheist.’

In the same way that aliterate is a person who can read but does not and illiterate is a person who does not know how to read, I’ll parallel atheist as a person who knows about God but does not believe and itheist as a person who is not aware of God at all.

I argue that we need a new word because neither side can possibly win by claiming children all around the world as members of their own camp. What does it matter if atheists win the fight and say that religious people brainwash children? It’s an ad hominem attack, and a poor one at that. I say we create a new word and move on to serious arguments.
I’ve created the word, now let me get out of the way and watch everyone misuse it to refer to people who from foreign lands who may have not been exposed to their religion. Itheism as I know it only refers to people who have not been exposed to any religion, not your religion in specific.

There are currently 71 Google results for itheism, all of them used in different ways. Hopefully this will change.


  1. Woo hoo!! Anson! I’ve been hoping you’d check back here. Do you realize that all of my writing since the 19th has been in the hopes of enticing you to comment?

    About Elle: ๐Ÿ˜ฅ
    About Australia: I’m hoping to get a lump sum of money soon which will allow me to visit as a tourist. To stay any longer would require an extra $2000 for a different Visa.

  2. “What does it matter if atheists win the fight and say that religious people brainwash children? Itโ€™s an ad hominem attack, and a poor one at that.”

    I’ve seen some truly rubbish arguments in my time but that has to take the biscuit or come very close. Ad hominem attack? What, pointing out the truth? How is that an ad hominem attack? An ad hominem attack is saying to someone that they smell in the middle of an argument about politics. Religion is brainwashing and even if you disagree, it’s still a sturdy, debate-worthy point. It’s not an ad hominem attack is it. You are very silly indeed.

  3. ๐Ÿ™‚ Dude, let it go. It sucks that people are raised in odd and wacky traditions, but getting riled up isn’t going to get you anywhere. It might even scare away people that you could have convinced otherwise.

  4. Odd that after an solicited epiphany, i am confronted by the nomenclature that i hope to use to launch a personal escutcheon regarding organized religion [in general] and specifically DIS-organized religion. I’ve been exposed to religion in its’ many forms since childhood, and have only recently begun to recognize the grand illusion by its’ face. ITHEISM, is more about self [hence the letter “I”]. Again – odd that denying the supernatural evokes such consternation, and retaliation is a given a green light despite the absence of any evidence to convict. Afterlife? give it a rest – pun intended.

  5. ‘I-theism’ is a belief in the self as God. So being an Itheist, I am my own god. It’s been used for years, so I guess it can’t really be redefined.

    An Atheist is not someone who knows about God and does not believe. It is someone without a belief in deity, not just the god with a capital G, but all gods. It’s not that an atheist knows of a god and chooses not to believe. Some would ssay atheists lack the cognitive faculty for delusion and therefore CANNOT believe in a god.

    But really… what’s the point in arguing semantics? We could jst as easily rename atheist “someone who believes in what is real” and theist “someone who believes in the reality of fairy tales”. ๐Ÿ˜€

  6. Itheist has already been “I think” more appropriately coined as someone who believes themselves to be there own god.

  7. I have enjoyed this post. I would like to invite you to check out my video “what is an I-Theist?”on my youtube channel I-Theist to see how I and other philosophers define the term I-Theist in a more explainitory way. For the time being here is my definition of the term.
    I-Theist: “One who is highest in their own higherarchy of values and or one who defines their own values (good and bad or telos) instead of barrowing them from the herd or social norms. One who writes their own bible instead of barrowing one from the neighbors. An ultimate egoist who considers oneself their own god or ultimate authority.”

  8. It would be Intheist, since illiterate is just how Latin parses in+literate.
    (assimilated form of in- “not, opposite of” (see in- (1)) + literatus)

  9. >Comment by Andreas:
    It would be Intheist, since illiterate is just how Latin parses in+literate.
    (assimilated form of in- โ€œnot, opposite ofโ€ (see in- (1)) + literatus)

    I wanted to write this, but somebody already did. Thanks Dog!

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