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Here's a fascinating talk by Catholic psychologist Paul Vitz:



Also see this related book by him:

http://www.amazon.com/Faith-Fatherless-Psychology-Paul-Vitz/dp/1890626252/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1328642972&sr=8-2

I'm not sure that I'm entirely convinced, but I think there's definitely something to this theory.
Interesting, there might be something to it, but I'm generally wary of psychologizing beliefs like this. Just think of "homophobia."
I watched the first few minutes of this, and I've had a similar idea myself.  I'm definitely going to watch the whole thing later - I'm very interested to see where he goes with this.
Maybe, but the same sort of thing has been advanced in regards to theists.  Strikes me as ad hominem, rather than rational, assuming bad faith or defect.  St. Thomas came up with good arguments for atheism being true before disproving them.
I think the weak or overpowering Father has more to do with a boy going towards homosexuality than atheism.
(02-07-2012, 05:00 PM)Parmandur Wrote: [ -> ]Maybe, but the same sort of thing has been advanced in regards to theists.  Strikes me as ad hominem, rather than rational, assuming bad faith or defect.  St. Thomas came up with good arguments for atheism being true before disproving them.

He address this in the first few minutes of the video.

(02-07-2012, 05:00 PM)Parmandur Wrote: [ -> ]Maybe, but the same sort of thing has been advanced in regards to theists.  Strikes me as ad hominem, rather than rational, assuming bad faith or defect.  St. Thomas came up with good arguments for atheism being true before disproving them.

Though I haven't seen the full video, he is talking about something else.  The logical arguments about God's existence are not sufficient for understanding why people affirm or deny His existence.

This is pretty obvious, since many smart people can get into a room and discuss the arguments, and come away with their original beliefs intact.  This is because they have psychological reasons for what they believe, and we are fallen human beings who twist our reason to fit what we want to believe in the first place.

Understanding an atheist's psychology (which I'm sure is not the same for every atheist) can be helpful to us, because it can guide how we approach the atheist with the goal of bringing them to Christ.

I haven't seen the video yet, but I'm reminded of Freud's close friend and fellow psychoanalysit, Oskar Pfister (who was a Luthern clergymen).  When Freud wrote "The Future of an Illusion" about the emptiness of religion and how it is a delusion based upon the need to believe in a father-figure in the sky, Pfister replied with "The Illusion of the Future," in which he suggests that the psychological root of atheism is the need to *deny* God because of a conflicted attitude toward's one's own father.

It's a legitimate opinion.  An ad hominem argument is actually a legitimate argument to make when you are discussing someone's own personal motivations.  It's a fallacy when you substitute this for discussing the arguments, of course.

Freud long ago psychologized theism as a neurosis. I prefer to stay out of his greasy epistemelogical pit.
(02-08-2012, 02:04 PM)Graham Wrote: [ -> ]Freud long ago psychologized theism as a neurosis. I prefer to stay out of his greasy epistemelogical pit.

That's certainly your choice!  I think that atheists often have a "neurotic motivation" for what they deny, however.

Stick to facts and logical arguments, and you will not even approach the real reasons people have for rejecting God.  Problems with authority, desire to follow their own base instincts, conflict with religious parents, traumatic experiences with religious figures, pride ... these are the things that make most atheists.

I also believe theists can have neurotic motivations, and this can lead to things like despair, presumption, scrupulosity.  In situations like this a good priest can help someone who in general believes rightly to deal with these problems.
I'd agree that it is some sort of psychological issue at the root of most atheism, but I don't know how helpful it is.
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