I have always wondered why I am an atheist. So many of my friends seem to have been born Catholic, or Methodist, or Episcopalian. I never lived in an atheist country, an atheist community, or an atheist family. If you are where you were born then I must be Swiss, hmm, that’s a country and I must have been born a Presbyterian because that was the church closest to where we lived in Lausanne those early years. It was on the way down to the park. I guess that makes me a “Swiss Presbyterian By A Park.”
Just kidding folks. I am an atheist because I didn’t have a father. Yup, all these years I been wondering why I don’t believe, never did, never will. Turns out because I didn’t have a father I resent the patriarchy of the bible and refuse to recognize the lord as my father. You see because I hate my father, because he left, I can’t give the proper authority to male figures. I don’t respect authority because my father left.
Not only that but I am a misogynist because I hate my mother because she must have pushed my father away. She never speaks of it but I know that a good man, a father, would never leave unless he had been pushed away. So that’s why in spite of all my so called maternal support I can never have a good relationship with any gender(s). Yet, surely I see myself as a woman as well because I don’t have the ability to demand the respect I deserve and am complicit in the female’s role of castrating men. Not only do I castrate others but myself too!
I learned all this recently in a review of Dr Paul Vitz’s fine new book “FAITH OF THE FATHERLESS: The Psychology of Atheism.” I’d read it but I’m scared it might make me even more atheistic, militant, even.
Now, Dr Vitz backs this up with the esteemed Dr Freud.
Sigmund Freud claimed that once a child or youth is disappointed in or loses respect for his earthly father, belief in a heavenly father becomes impossible.
I know Freud is right because like he said I would, I just don’t like men very much. In spite of my enjoying women, I overcame my loathing for my mother’s rejection of my father by the overriding lack of respect that my father didn’t overcome his family and stay with my mother. It’s so simple. Just like always seeing penises in columns and vaginas in flowers. I have to masturbate a lot because I can’t overcome my aversion to women as a father-husband that should take what he wants because he’s due respect but I can’t since I have no respect. I digress.
Being disappointed in one’s earthly father, whether through death, absence or mistreatment, often leads to a rejection of God. The crisis of fatherhood in our culture has us in the midst of a 500-year period of adolescence that glorifies aggression and sexual exploitation, according to Vitz.
It’s all because of that divorce. No divorce, I would have had respect. In my case it was both absence and abuse. You see my mother tortured my father by not becoming an orthodox Jew. So you see why I hate women and men all the more because of this dual absence. I am sure this explains my contrarianism and misandry as well. I can’t respect anyone so I hate them all.
But I seem to be in good company of a long history.
A biographical survey of influential atheists of the past four centuries — Freud, Friedrich Nietzche, Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins, among many others — shows that this “defective father hypothesis” provides a consistent explanation of the “intense atheism” of these thinkers. A survey of the leading defenders of Christianity over the same period — G.K. Chesterton, Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Edmund Burke, among others — confirms the hypothesis, finding few defective fathers. Vitz concludes with an intriguing comparison of male and female atheists and a consideration of other psychological factors that can contribute to atheism.
He provides an exposition of the psychological factors predisposing a person to atheism and strongly confirms the essential importance of the role of a good father in a family.
Oh, wait, sorry, confused. I was saying I’m in bad company because my soul-mates, fellow atheists, also had terrible, defective fathers. Doubly damned because a single woman can’t possibly raise good children. My mother didn’t remarry until after I left home so I could not ever have gained respect for a father. Unlike Dr Vitz who apparently had a bad father, since he was an atheist, but must have found a good father because he quit being an atheist at 30. Dr Vitz is not alone in his theory.
In deploying Freudian theory against atheism itself, Paul Vitz has proven beyond a doubt what’s missing from secular accounts of secularization, namely, actual human beings,” says cultural commentator Mary Eberstadt. “His thesis is intellectual jujutsu of the first order.”
It’ so true. There is a paucity, a dearth, a fatherless-driven negation of human beings in secular accounts of secularism. So sad really. All of us fine boys wishing we had fathers to respect. How am I to be a good father when I didn’t have a father? It’s like abuse that runs in family lines. I’m sure my lack of respect for fathers will cause my son to be absent and my girls to choose absent or abusive fathers. Who will break this string of suffering?
The solution must be more love and more encouragement from the bible. Yes, if I only understood better god’s love for me I might regain respect for fathers and men in general. I might also be more forgiving of my hate for my mother because though it is her fault I have no father, at least she tried, though failed, in being a father for me.
I remember once in Corpus Christi Texas, on Father’s Day, I gave a card to my mother and she was so surprised and disturbed. I thought she should be honored as if a father since she had to raise me without one. Hence my ongoing gender confusion resulting in a heteronormative complex rejection while maintaining a typical family. Yet also why I support LGBTQ issues because I have conflated men and women as fathers and mothers. I wanted to marry a lesbian so I could resolve this dissonance. I would be gay but as extension of my lack of respect for men is also my inability to see males as partners. I can’t possibly love a man nor a woman but must remain in a humorless limbo. Hence my cynicism and dislike of banal positivity.
Mother was disturbed that I would take her as a father. This led to even more atheism because of her ongoing rejection of fatherhood, not remarrying, and because she was disturbed at my concern for my father–she had to experience her ongoing inadequacy which I saw as further lack of respect because I had already conflated her as a father. A feedback loop leading to greater stridence in my atheist insistence and politicalization as I grew more old. Add to that my noncareer in philosophy which is a pathetic attempt at my trying to elevate my lack of understanding of respect by refusing the lord, much less abusurdism, existentialism, and deconstructionism which are my own selfcastrations of meaning as possibility.
All I’m looking for is a little respect. You see it is my self loathing at a father who also must have rejected me that still further confuses my need for respect. How can I demand respect when I have been so castrated by my father who left and my mother who caused his absence and castrated me as well by her rejection of required respect? I end up just looking for more sex and a bigger dick.
So, I’m putting it out there. Will someone be my father so I can get back on track and not be an atheist anymore?
Jim Newman, bright and well