Why atheists can name their children as per religious texts

One of the most common questions that atheists get is “How do you name your children?“. The best response to that question is “Do you believe in Harry Potter? Can you name your child Harry?

Atheism gives you freedom. Freedom to criticse any religion honestly and frankly without being labelled a racist. Freedom to read any religious text. Not with a feeling of reverence, however, but a feeling of entertainment. I don’t mean to offend anyone – if you are convinced by a religious text that the author is really a supreme power outside this universe, or a being that manifests itself in living consciousness, then go ahead. But I am not convinced1.

Back to the topic, atheists can consider religious texts as any other book. Most religious texts can be considered as a mixture of science fiction and a recount of outdated science, law, societal ethics. If you can name your child “Rover” after the search dog in Windows XP, you can name your child “Haafiz”, “Narasimha”, or “Elijah” after religious characters just as well.

You can name your child “Harry” after the fictional character “Harry Potter” in the same way that you can name your child “Chandrashekhara” after the real person “Chandrashekhara Venkata Raman”. An atheist doesn’t consider a fictional character in the Bible, for instance, to be any different from one in any other fictional novel. Similarly, a theist doesn’t consider a character in the Bible or another religious text, to be any different (in terms of their existence) from C.V. Raman.

In short, atheists don’t have any problem with religious texts. They are free to read it, rate it, and critique it like any other piece of literary fiction. Almost every atheist agrees that religious texts are a great piece of literature. What they do have a problem with, is people who believe that Harry Potter, Russel’s teapot, or God are real without any real evidence. In the same way that a Harry Potter novel does not prove the existence of Harry Potter, the Bible, Quran, Gita, or the Vedas do not prove the existence of God. Which is why you see more atheists naming their children after religious figures than as “Richard” after Dawkins.

1 And I have my reasons to. History tells us that Christianity and Islam spun off Judaism, much in the same way that a novel may be inspired by another. History also tells us that Jesus Christ was a Jew by philosophical belief, and that the religion that is Hinduism is a recent construct based on several different philosophies, including atheistic ones. Religion is what you get if you take the evolving science, law, and ethics, cut out a cross-section at any desired time, and minimise the change.


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