The Patrick Coffin Show: Does Fatherlessness Cause Atheism? Dr. Paul Vitz

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patrick coffinThe Patrick Coffin Show podcast features weekly interviews with A-list influencers and outliers in the effort to recover the Judeo-Christian roots of the culture. Patrick is the Canadian-born former host of Catholic Answers Live, and he has raving fans around the world. He injects these fascinating interviews with his own distinctive blend of depth and levity. If you’re tired of politically correct mediaspeak, you want to see God back in the public square, and you’re not allergic to having a laugh, this is the place to be.

Are atheists uniformly dedicated to truth and evidence, to rational thought and logic? Might there be a hidden causal factor at play in more cases than one would imagine?

Psychologist and researcher Dr. Paul Vitz thinks so.

It’s fatherlessness.

Dr. Paul Vitz

His latest book, Faith of the Fatherless: The Psychology of Atheism, sets forth the case that abusive, absent, or weak fathers very often provide the psychological soil from which atheist weeds are more likely to fester. Using example after example of leading atheists (start the list with Nietzsche, Hume, Sartre, Russell, Camus, Freud, and the so-called New Atheists Dennett, Dawkins, and Hitchens), Vitz reviews the basic life biography and finds a “father wound” in one degree or another.

He doesn’t reduce atheism to a pop-psych theory (not all atheists share the same experience of an abusive father, and, besides, human beings are complex) but he carefully traces the atheists own words and the ways in which their respective intellectual journies led them to reject God—the Father.

It’s a fascinating read.

And, as you’ll soon find out, Dr. Vitz is a fascinating guest. In this interview, you will learn: Why Sigmund Freud was right in asserting that God is “an exalted father,” but not in the way Freud believed How the memories of even a long deceased father can influence your faith perspective Why Jesus called God Father and not Mother.

The reasons why Vitz did a control group comparison of philosophers and other writers of the same era and social backgrounds who had warm, close relationships with their father—and how their spiritual outlook differed from the atheist group Why “public atheists” (those devoted to writing and debating their atheism) is overwhelmingly a male phenomenon Why, when women leave a relationship with God they usually don’t become atheists, but they form a new relationship: yogi, guru, New Age community, goddess worship, etc.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Faith of the Fatherless: The Psychology of Atheism, by Paul C. Vitz

Surprised By Joy: The Shape Of My Early Life,  by C.S. Lewis

The Last Superstition: A Refutation of the New Atheism by Edward Feser

My Father, Bertrand Russell by Katherine Tait

Soul Searching: The Religious and Spiritual Lives of American Teenagers  by Christian Smith and Melinda Lundquist Denton

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2 thoughts on “The Patrick Coffin Show: Does Fatherlessness Cause Atheism? Dr. Paul Vitz”

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