Are you an atheist? It’s probably because you had a “tumultuous relationship” with your father, which is the “determining factor in the widespread rise of atheism.” That idiotic thesis is offered by by Dr. Paul Vitz, who actually is a credentialed and allegedly serious retired psychology professor from NYU. And here’s the press release for his new book.
Sigmund Freud claimed that once a child or youth is disappointed in or loses respect for his earthly father, belief in a heavenly father becomes impossible. A child’s tumultuous relationship with their father is the determining factor in the widespread rise of atheism, claims Dr. Paul Vitz in his controversial new book, FAITH OF THE FATHERLESS: The Psychology of Atheism.
As a former atheist, Vitz exposes atheism to the same psychological analysis that atheist apologists have used to debunk religious belief. FAITH OF THE FATHERLESS shows how psychoanalysis is actually a better explanation for the denial of God. Being disappointed in one’s earthly father, whether through death, absence or mistreatment, often leads to a rejection of God. The crisis of fatherhood in our culture has us in the midst of a 500-year period of adolescence that glorifies aggression and sexual exploitation, according to Vitz.
A biographical survey of influential atheists of the past four centuries — Freud, Friedrich Nietzche, Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins, among many others — shows that this “defective father hypothesis” provides a consistent explanation of the “intense atheism” of these thinkers. A survey of the leading defenders of Christianity over the same period — G.K. Chesterton, Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Edmund Burke, among others — confirms the hypothesis, finding few defective fathers.
Wow, really? A cherry-picked handful of famous Christians and atheists, some of which aren’t even atheists (neither Voltaire nor Hitler were atheists), proves this sweeping thesis? This is a serious argument? I have a fantastic relationship with my father. I consider him the best man I know and the most important person in my life. And I’m an atheist. No, an anecdote is not evidence of anything, but that is precisely the point. Are there actual studies that show this? I find that highly doubtful.