Faith of the Fatherless: The Psychology of Atheism
Despite its pretensions to cool-headed rationality, modern atheism originated in the irrational, psychological needs of a few prominent thinkers. Paul Vitz subjects the apostles of atheism to the same psychological analysis with which they attempted to debunk religious belief. The psychological source of their militant atheism, he shows, was the absence of a good father.
Professor Vitz argues that psychoanalysis actually provides a more satisfying explanation for atheism than for belief. A biographical survey of influential atheists reveals that disappointment in one's earthly father frequently leads to a rejection of God.
Atheism is not psychologically determined. Each man, whatever his experience, ultimately chooses to accept God or reject him. Yet the cavalier attribution of religious faith to irrational, psychological needs is so prevalent that an exposition of the psychological factors predisposing one to atheism is necessary.
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