Although societal pressures do play a role, does atheism manifest itself mostly due to an inborn lack of religious "sense" rather than hearing the logical arguments against God or a life force? Research has shown that autistic people are very unlikely to be religious. I don't know what phrase philosophers of mind use to describe this, but when we talk about people with a strong sense of humor, people with a weak sense of humor, or people with no sense of humor at all, are we talking about a non-physical and antimaterialist noumenon that can be enhanced with training?

I'll chime in just to say that the first question you asked is an empirical question and therefore not the kind of question that philosophers as such are any better-equipped than non-philosophers to answer. I'd be interested in seeing the empirical data myself. I would say, however, that your first question leaves out a possibility that strikes me as more plausible than the two you mention: as they grow and develop, children tend to imitate their parents and other authority figures, including in their attitudes toward religious matters.

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