Are You My Daddy?

The Psychology of Atheism

One morning at church, when I was about six years old, I was wandering around the foyer with a few of my little friends. Church had just let out, and because the congregation was large — almost 400 members — the foyer was crowded with laughing, chatting adults. Amidst the laughter, I suddenly realized I couldn’t see my dad. I was lost in a sea of people! Leaving my friends, I frantically searched for the one face I would recognize –that of my father. There! I saw his legs. Full of exuberance I rushed across the room and siezed the khaki-clothed appendages. I looked up, smiling brightly — at a man I didn’t know! Terrified, I fled back through the crowd, flushed with embarrassment. When I finally found my real father, I was so relieved I could have cried!

To children raised in a Christian, homeschooling enviroment, there is an enormous emphasis placed on the importance of a father and his involvement with the family. However, in today’s culture, this is not normal. Fathers are viewed as stupid, inadequate, megalomaniacal beings who are either linguine-spined or controlling. Much of this projection comes from the feminist quarter of the media, whose view of men is based on hatred and women’s refusal to accept authority. The media’s negative presentation of the father figure, and masculinity in general, has removed any incentive for boys to become real men: warriors, adventurers, heroes and leaders. Our society has raised up a generation of effeminate, weak-willed “guys” who live only for the next thrill.

Despite what the world says, the role of father is perhaps the greatest one a man can fulfill. It is a job that grants lasting rewards; the chance to see your legacy living on in the life of your child — particularly a son. The father’s role is one of loving authority, firm gentleness and compassionate discipline. The father is a leader, a provider, a teacher and a friend. Why then, would the world want to dispense of such a position? Because it is a position of authority.

What do feminists, the majority of teenagers, and bratty children all have in common? A resentment toward authority. They don’t like being told what to do. It begins when they are small — even at age two or three. You tell Junior to eat his lunch and he says he doesn’t like it. “You can’t make me eat it! NO!” You told him to do something he didn’t like, so he resents your authority over him. Unfortunately, many men and women never grow out of this stage. This is due to the absence of loving parents (but especially a father) who would discipline the child to bring them to respect and honor their authority.

As women have become more ‘liberated’, the need for men to fulfill their God-ordained roles as husband and father has quietly slipped away. Women don’t need men anymore — so the men, disrespected and deprived of the role their very nature was created to fulfill, fall into a default mode of laziness and irresponsiblity. How many single moms are out there, “making it on their own”? They wanted their liberated life — so their men left them to have it. This is only a reflection of the consequences of removing a father’s authority. It goes even deeper than that.

What does the removal of the father have to do with atheism? In my opinion, it is one of the roots of such a worldview. What do Christians call God? Father. “Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name…” He is the Ultimate Authority — He is the one who instituted the position of a father and is the example of it Himself. Now if a boy grows up without a father, or with an abusive one, what is his conception of any father, earthly or otherwise, going to be? Most likely, very negative. Voltaire, a famous atheist from the 18th century, had a father who was abusive and angry. Voltaire hated him so much he changed his family name. Later on, Voltaire would respond to God with the very same hatred he had directed toward his earthly father. Nietzche, another famous atheist from years ago, had a father who was weak and sickly. This father was also the pastor of a church. When Nietzche was between the ages of three and five, his father, whom he adored, died. Nietzche was crushed that God would take his father from him, and later on would also associate his father’s weakness and death with the Christianity he preached. This view was compounded by the fact that young Nietzche was raised by highly pious women, which caused him to further view religion as for the weak-minded and impressionable — never for the strong.

Other atheists were influenced by highly involved, loving fathers, who taught atheism to their sons. These fathers were so loved and respected by their sons that whatever they taught, the sons readily accepted. This is the inverse of the other examples — but it also shows the tremendous influence a father has. These sons learned to rebel against God by sitting under the teaching of fathers who they adored, but who were atheists themselves.

Political atheists like Stalin and Hitler were the products of, like Voltaire, abusive fathers. Stalin was whipped and beaten nightly by his drunken father. Also like Voltaire, his hatred caused him to change his name — to Stalin, which is Russian for “steel” — and turned his heart against God, a position of authority. Stalin resented a father figure because of his past experience. What could he expect of a God who was called “Father”, when his own had hurt him so badly? Hitler had a similar experience.

Freud’s life was similar to Nietzche’s. Freud, a Jew, grew up under the teaching of a highly religious but weak father. As a boy Freud associated this physical weakness with religion. One instance particularly influenced young Freud, when his father, spit upon for being a Jew, simply tolerated the persecution and walked away from a fight. Freud saw this as weak and effeminate. He responded to this by reacting against religion and God with the argument that it is for the, once again, weak-willed and women. Freud, however, perhaps unconsciously laid out the exact argument I present here in his writings — stating that the impression a child has of a father, and his authority, will directly affect his future view of God.

The role of a father is an enormous responsibility. So few people realize this, and even fewer appreciate it. If the fathers of these atheists could have seen the effect they would have on their sons — and the resulting effect their sons would have on the world — perhaps they would have contemplated the legacy they were leaving behind. To think of Voltaire, Nietzche, Stalin and Freud as once being young, impressionable boys, crying out for a father to lead and love them, could almost bring me to tears. But time cannot be turned back. Thank God for the fathers we DO have, who lead and love, correct with compassion, and fulfill their representation of the Father of the entire world.

For a more extensive study of this topic, you can buy the book “Faith of the Fatherless” by Paul Vitz.

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5 Responses

  1. Phylicia, I think you did an admirable job on this blog. I can tell you did some research to accomplish your point and maintain thematic continuity through the individual case studies you provided. I think you were fair, for the most part ;), in discussing the adverse affects Atheism, and lack of a dominant father figure, can have on a young man’s development. I was also glad to see an objective nod to the fact that Atheism does not have an entirely negative track record. Keep up the good work!

  2. Hi Phylicia,

    Thanks so much for dropping by the other day. Your blog is so nice, and I really love ths song you have playing!

    Great post on fatherhood.

    Blessings to you…

  3. Hi Phylicia – I’m truly enjoying your blogspot. I wanted to connect with you to ask questions about the whole blogging network and some
    how tos for adding to your page. My name is Eva Kostal (Jedidiah Kostal’s mom, Matt & Marcy are relatives), we have met but you might not remember me…I want to have a blogspot to encourage women
    in their daily journey with God and the ministries He gives them.
    This blogging thing is so new and
    I’m hoping you can give me some tips when you get the chance. Thank you dear and blessings on your day. Eva

  4. I stumbled across your blog and I have to say excellent articles on atheism!

    I really enjoyed reading them and I’m sure you are right.

    Keep up the good work!

    Eric Novak

  5. RYC: Nope, I don’t mind if you link me. Thanks!

    I am currently writing a book about the many facets of singleness. The title (subject to change as I am not even close to done) is “Waiting on God.”

    The basic concept of being single is that you are alone. We need to remember that God has promised to never leave us or forsake us. Using this as reasoning we are never alone which means that we can never be single. Singleness for a Christian is really a misconception.

    However a “normal” single person would look around them and see a lot of people married or getting married. The only natural thing to want is to be married. We must remember that God created us as individuals and even though we see other people doing other things it may not be right for us.

    There is another thing that we need to remember. Our status is our calling for however long it lasts. If you are single your calling is to be single until the time that God decides to bring the right person for you.

    To answer your question more directly instead of running on, I would have to tell you this. The time that you spend at home before you are married is crucial to development. As Alex and Brett Harris explain in their book “Do Hard Things” the years you spend at home before marriage are a launching board for the rest of your life.

    If you waste all of your time wanting to be married you are first not going to be equipped for life.

    The Single years in your teens should be spent getting ready for life, a mate, learning skills, etc. It really isn’t a matter of finding things to do; it is a matter wanting to do them.

    I can totally understand what has happened with your friends, they simply gave up on waiting for God.

    If we look into Corinthians Paul says that we should “remain as we are.” The reason for that is because it is ten times easier to get into a marriage then it is to get out of one. A Christian has no basis to divorce unless it is spiritual death. Other then that they are to stay with the same person.

    One last point is that God really does care about our desires. If you want to get married that is great! If you pray about it and take it to God then that is better. If you then wait on God you are right on.

    God doesn’t want you sitting and dreaming about your wedding day; He wants you functioning until he creates your wedding day! God made the world so we can see that he has to power to provide us with anything. We just need to wait and trust in him. Trust is a huge issue.

    That is just a beginning – As you can tell I have a lot of stuff to say about this subject. Lol.

    Eric

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