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.

Evidence Not Seen

The Arguments of AtheismWhen I read Dawkins’ book, The God Delusion, I took notes on the arguments I found most supportive to Dawkins’ position. I also noted those most reflective of the consequences of an atheistic worldview. Dawkins’ representation of God, along with his discussions of the improbability of creationism and the juvenile motivations for religion, all serve to illustrate his point that God is a delusion created by man to provide comfort in fear, to form a purpose for life and to explain the meaning of death. God, to Dawkins, is the product of an unenlightened mind. The atheistic mind is presented as one of “cool rationality”, careful view of the evidence and freedom from emotional baggage and bias (as discussed earlier). The following excerpts, accompanied by my notes, will serve to further illustrate the core values — or rather, the lack of — in the atheist worldview.

1. Dawkins’ thesis is entirely dependent first and foremost on the theory of evolution. Without this theory, he has no foundation for his beliefs. His logic is that:
“Creative intelligences, being evolved, necessarily arrive late in the universe, and therefore cannot be responsible for designing it.” (pg.31)
This is the inverse of creationism, which holds that a Designer — namely, God — created the universe, and that the original amount of information at the beginning has spiralled downward over the years, not upward, as evolution teaches. Evolution depends on a series of mutations to explain the changes that brought about the development of mankind. However, mutations are known to be mistakes in the DNA sequence — a depletion of information. Developing highly complex organisms would require an addition of information which evolution is unable to provide.

2. “God’s existence or non-existence is a scientific fact about the universe, discoverable in principle if not in practice… what matters is not whether God is disprovable (he isn’t) but whether his existence is probable. That is another matter. Some undisprovable things are sensibly judged far less probable than other disprovable things.” (pgs. 50,54)
For something to be judged a scientific fact, it must be 1) observable, 2) testable, and 3)repeatable, at least in reference to empirical science. It is not possible for God to be observed, and we cannot test His existence because He is spirit. Neither can we repeat or recreate Him in any way. How then is His existence a scientific fact? Well, Dawkins explains, we can draw our conclusion through principle, if not through standard scientific procedures. Determining God’s existence through principle is done by determining if He is probable. Here Dawkins fails to understand that while he may view God as improbable, another may view him exactly the opposite. Dawkins’ argument is based on opinion, not fact.

3. “But does Gould really want to cede to religion the right to tell us what is good and what is bad? That fact that it has nothing else to contribute to human wisdom is no reason to hand religion a free license to tell us what to do.” (pg.57)
Dawkins’ attitude here rings of, “Oh yeah? Who says?!” His very nature resents and rebels against the concept of submitting to another’s moral standard. Morality as defined by a higher power — a God — and expressed through religion (the worship of that God) denies an individual the right to make the rules himself. If every person has his own standard of morality, there will be no standard of morality at all. Nothing can be true, because each person has his own idea of what truth is. As Frank Peretti very aptly put it:

“There’s no way for you to know if what I am saying is true, unless you know what the truth is; and there’s no way for you to know what the truth is, unless there is a truth that you can know.”

4. “I conscientiously put to [Watson] that, unlike him and Crick, some people see no conflict between science and religion, because they claim science is about how things work and religion is about what it is all for. Watson retorted: “Well, I don’t think we’re for anything. We’re just products of evolution. You can say, “Gee your life must be pretty bleak if you don’t think there’s a purpose”. But I’m anticipating having a good lunch.” We did have a good lunch, too.” (pg.100)
Wow. What a life. Living from lunchtime to lunchtime, with a monkey for an uncle and nothing to look forward to after you’re dead when you don’t get to have lunch anymore. This passage really makes me pity Dawkins and Watson — who try so hard to prove there is no God, so they can live their lives with a self-determined purpose… eating lunch.

These are only a few of the arguments I found, but I think they really reflect the attitude of modern-day atheists and can help us to show compassion to those who are so angry at God. Jesus said to pray for our enemies, that they may know Him and believe Him, and have the precious hope that we do. A hope far beyond that of a good lunch.

Click on the post title to view the complete debate between Richard Dawkins and David Quinn.

“I have looked at the evidence!”
Thus rose the cry of renowned atheist Richard Dawkins during a debate with David Quinn, one of Ireland’s “best known religious and social affairs commentators”. Dawkins was exclaiming over his opponent’s apparent inability to see the obvious, and was ridiculing the concept of faith. However, the “evidence” that Dawkins appeals to stands to be interpreted by many more than just atheists. Dawkins’ argument has no foundation. The very man who allows truth to be relative wants it to be absolute when it comes to his opinion!

All Dressed Up and Nowhere to Go

An Introduction to Atheism

In the past few months I have been studying the subject of atheism and the beliefs it involves. Surprisingly, it has been a fascinating study and has yielded a lot of interesting information. Atheism had never been of interest to me prior to a visit I took to the library, when I found the book The God Delusion by renowned atheist Richard Dawkins. I decided to take the book home and see what the fellow believed and if it was anything to be concerned about as a Christian. He gave me plenty of reason for concern.

Atheism in the past has been somewhat laughable, and certainly has never been what could be called “mainstream”. For the most part, people believe there is a “God”, but the definition of this individual varies from person to person. Recently, however, there has been a renewed interest in atheistic concepts. This is primarily due to the publication of several books by outspoken non-believers; i.e., Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris. While atheism before was more of a “closet” worldview, consisting simply of an unbelief in the existence of God, this “new atheism” is much more volatile. There is more to it than simply holding that God isn’t there. The new atheism has adopted a vicious approach to all things religious, primarily directing its vehemence toward Christianity.

What is atheism? By formal definition, atheism is:

“The disbelief in the existence of a God, or Supreme intelligent Being.” (Webster’s Dictionary)

The prefix ‘a’ is always taken to mean “against” or “the opposite of”, as in the case of words like asymmetrical. The word atheism, then, literally means “against-theism”, or “the opposite of theism”. What is theism? The belief in the existence of a God. The majority of theists are represented by the Christian faith, who believe in a God who is personal and involved in human affairs. We have seen that atheism is defined as the denial of the existence of God — however, the new atheism goes further. The new atheism is better phrased as anti-theism — not simply denying God, but ferociously fighting everything in relation to Him.

Atheists have several fundamental concepts, or core values, that are central to their worldview. Without these principles, atheists would be unable to defend their position. The four most important concepts/claims of atheism are:

1. Freedom from bias and faith

2. The inherent goodness of man

3. The infallibility of science

4. The theory of evolution.

Whether conscious of it or not, atheists depend upon the validity of these concepts for the bulk of their arguments. There is a funny quote that says, “An atheist is a man who has no invisible means of support”. Though meant as a joke, this is a true statement. While Christians appeal to God and the Bible in interpreting the world, atheists are left basing their views on opinion and theory. A common atheistic claim is that they found their beliefs on the “evidence”. However, a direct appeal to the evidence can never suffice as an argument. The evidence is available to interpretation by all people, not only the atheists, and depending on your worldview, you will translate the evidence in that light. Thus, atheists are not free of bias, but bring certain values of their own into the equation. These values include the latter three concepts stated above: the inherent goodness of man, the omniscience of science, and the theory of evolution. Each of these concepts are far from being universal truths, and are entirely founded upon first, a surprising lack of proof, and secondly, an alarming abundance of faith.

The battle-flag of atheism bears the motto “freedom from faith” — or so the atheists would like us to think. Never have I heard such scorn for faith than from the mouths of Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens, who label it as superstition and equate it to the mindset of a helpless infant. This disdain for what is, in essence, dependency and trust in our Creator, derives from how atheists define it. Dawkins describes faith as “belief without evidence”. This definition of faith is faulty, and is used as a crutch to those who wish to ridicule the faithful while remaining loyal to what they themselves believe. The key word here is believe. Atheists believe there is no God — they can never prove He isn’t there! It takes more faith to believe there isn’t a God than to believe there is — the world itself is a picture of order and symmetry that random chance processes and destructive natural selection could never provide. Freedom from faith? I don’t think so!

But why even address atheism? How does it affect us, Christians, today? While the majority of people you meet on the street may not be atheists, they have undoubtedly heard and/or accepted the ideas propagated by these “intellectuals”. The leading atheists are not only intelligent (in the merest sense that they have a high IQ) but have taken pains to thrust themselves into the limelight. Their books top the New York Times best-sellers list and their debates have drawn a great amount of attention over the past decade. Their influence on society should not be underestimated. People in our culture are seeking truth, and the ideas presented by these well-spoken scientists and modern philosophers will be readily accepted if we do not present the real Truth to them.