21 Jun 2020, Father’s Day

In his book, Faith of the Fatherless: The Psychology of Atheism[i], Paul C. Vitz showed that the cause of the growing agnosticism is the absentee fatherhood. Not experiencing the love and tutelage of a hands-on good father and the material endowment from a generous godfather, many products of single motherhood cannot grasp the idea of a Fatherly God. 

It is interesting to note that although Jesus was conceived without a father, he was assigned a foster father in St. Joseph to nurture Him in His childhood. Even when He had declared that He must obey His heavenly Father, Jesus went home with Mary and Joseph and He became obedient to them (cf. Lk 2:48-51).

The author presents a theory that “atheists rejected God because they had dysfunctional earthly fathers in their growing years. Their respective fathers were either dead, absent, abusive, weak, or atheists themselves. On the contrary, those who grew up with functional fathers, or with fatherly guardians became theists, and strong defenders of Christianity.”

He argues that his “defective father hypothesis” consistently explains the “intense atheism” of the fatherless thinkers. This hypothesis, he pointed out, is more satisfying than Freud’s “projection theory” of religion—that belief in God is merely a product of man’s desire for security. VSS  

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[i] Paul C. Vitz, Faith of the Fatherless: The Psychology of Atheism, 2nd Edition(San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1999).