Catholic publisher fights ‘militant atheism’ with book blaming disbelief on bad fathers

By David Edwards
Tuesday, January 14, 2014 14:20 EDT
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Father leading his son in prayer to receive Jesus via Shutterstock
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The president of a Catholic publishing house has said that the “rise of militant, evangelical, fundamentalist atheism” has made it necessary to republish a 15-year-old book that blames absentee fathers for turning their kids into atheists.

According to Religion News Service, the book “Faith of the Fatherless: The Psychology of Atheism” by Catholic psychologist Paul C. Vitz has been revived by Ignatius Press, even though the book was considered controversial when it was first published 15 years ago.

“The rise of militant, evangelical, fundamentalist atheism in our time adds to the pertinence of this book,” Ignatius Press Mark Brumley explained. “Some atheists try to equate atheism with rationality. Vitz’s book shows that atheism, like many belief systems, has significant irrational elements.

In the book, Vitz argues that history’s most “intense atheists” — such as Friedrich Nietzsche and Voltaire — had poor relationships with their fathers that made it difficult for them to form a bond with God.

“We need to understand atheism has a lot to do with our emotional attitudes towards life, other people and a lot of other things,” Vitz told the Religion News Service. “I think that is an important thing for atheists and believers alike to take into consideration.”

“I am certainly not predicting that every atheist is the result of one hypothesis, much less mine,” he said. “I am just saying there is a tendency for more things to go together than you’d expect normally.”

Atheist blogger JT Eberhard recently reviewed the book and noted “how strange this was for me to learn, since I have a spectacular relationship with my father and consider him to be the most admirable man I’ve ever known (or at least, I thought I did).”

“Who knew that moral commandments like killing everybody who works on a particular day (Exodus 35:2) and stories of someone living inside the belly of a fish for three days were perfectly reasonable, which I would see if only my relationship with my father were even better?” Eberhard asked.

“Or maybe Paul Vitz is a sham looking to cash in on confirming the prejudice of other Christians,” he added.

[Photo: Father leading his son in prayer to receive Jesus via Shutterstock.com]

David Edwards
David Edwards
David Edwards has served as an editor at Raw Story since 2006. His work can also be found at Crooks & Liars, and he's also been published at The BRAD BLOG. He came to Raw Story after working as a network manager for the state of North Carolina and as as engineer developing enterprise resource planning software. Follow him on Twitter at @DavidEdwards.
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