I was surfing through facebook posts today and ran across one from an old high school friend that said:
"I’ve noticed that children who grew up without a father or with an abusive father seem to have a much harder time believing in God when they become adults. For all the dads out there that love their children and have been there for their them throughout their lives, thank you for helping your children have the ability to believe in and have faith in the unconditional love of God. I wish every child had a dad that loved them..."
UGH. I want to respond to this because I want to share with her that I had a loving, present father and I am an atheist and - my husband also had a loving, present father and he is also an atheist.
On the other hand, do I want to ruffle feathers on father's day? Also I haven't outed myself to everyone yet - anyone else might read my post. That might create it's own set of problems.
I do so hate the idea that too many theists have that atheists must have had something bad happen to them to make them turn away from god - that atheists are all angry people that just didn't get enough love. I want to let her know that atheists can be loving and loved parents, daughters, sons, siblings, etc. Should I try to open her mind? is it worth it?
My father was a believer, but he was the kindest man I've ever known. I've concluded that was one of the reasons it took me 55 years to become an atheist. I couldn't imagine my wonderful father leading me astray.
If my father had been abusive, I would have probably became an atheist much sooner, but it would mostly have been because of the scientific evidence I've seen that shows no god is needed. Any other reason for becoming atheist is minor compared to reason and evidence.
I read that people who were brought up on a kibbutz in a communal nursery arrangement with many adults taking care of them, are rarely religious.
So the God-image seems like a kind of memory of a parent from very early childhood. It could be a good memory or a bad memory. If it's a good memory, perhaps someone would like to interpret it as "God". If it's a bad memory, perhaps a religious person will try to heal it by idealizing it, making it good, as "God".
Yes. People wonder how we happened to have god and how good that was. Read again and find that the 2 words are both in our language. Yes, I'm telling you that the word "good" got shortened into "god" in English because Anglos all knew that "god was good."
Put these 2 words into other languages and they are both different without being just one letter apart. "Dios" and "bueno" don't work that way. Oh, well. Only in America.
Even in English, "god" and "good" are in fact unrelated words -- much like "cleave" (to stick) and "cleave" (to split), which come from different roots.
It's very plausible that early memories of parents shaped people's god-concepts!
k.h., I could not agree more. FB is for idiots individuals who require self assurance from others, and whine like petulant 6 year olds if someone does not 'friend' them. They're 'saved" by incoherently babbling to a cosmic jewish zombie, and if you don't agree with them, you are the most vile, despicable scum of the earth.
I avoid it like like leprosy or ebola.
Without the preacher, but with so many preaching.
A retired NYU psychology professor named Paul Vitz, a convert to Catholicism who was in my high school class, has published a lot of material on this thesis that atheists are simply rebelling against fathers who were absent, weak, or unloving. One of his books is Faith of the Fatherless in which he analyzes famous figures and sorts them out with respect to this thesis. All his examples fit his thesis perfectly. (How often does that happen? Well, you see what you are prepared to see.)
The advantages of this are obvious: one need not respond to the arguments of atheists at all—they are psychological cripples incapable of a belief in God because of bad parenting, not rational intelligent beings with a non-traditional viewpoint. If you want to sample his writing on this subject, there is one of his papers online:
By all means respond! For the sake of FB, simply ask where she got this info. Give some examples (perhaps of famous atheists, easily found through Google) of atheists who didn't have dysfunctional families.
If you're feeling rebellious and don't care what she/other FBers think, say, "What better example of an abusive, sick father is there than God himself?! LOL!!"
It's so silly how people think this about atheists, yet it never seems to occur to them that the only reason they stay with religion, is b/c they're simply going with the flow. Maybe you could post that observation:
"People only believe b/c they were brought up to do so. When you start to question Santa Claus, your parents no longer reinforce that belief. But parents constantly reinforce the God belief, which is why people keep it up, though it's just as logical."
THAT would go over well! :-p
"What better example of an abusive, sick father is there than God himself?! LOL!!"
The OT god? Severe PTSD.
The NT god? Very slightly healed.
I was fortunate to have two loving parents. They were not weak or absent and they lived well into my adulthood. I had a great relationship with both of them, but we always avoided politics and religion in conversation. They were both devout Methodists, and politically conservative, but their religion never took with me.
So ... having an abusive father hurts the ability to think irrationally and therefore fosters atheism in abused children? Someone has their head in an anatomically unlikely position. Either that or they can't be bothered to think logically at all about the subject at hand.
I won't say that all atheists have thought through the business of belief without evidence vs knowing with evidence, but to say that atheism is a product of rebellion against parental authority demonstrates to me that whoever wants to make that claim doesn't understand rational atheism in the slightest. It smells far more like yet another poorly based appeal to emotion, as so many theists' arguments are, and it fails utterly at understanding who we are or how we got to the conclusion that gods don't exist.
Uninformed, lame and stupid ... yet again.