Quote# 84017

(On Paul Vitz's book Faith of the Fatherless, which claims that atheism is caused by having a bad relationship with one's father in childhood.)

Atheism IS a zero on the spiritual health scale because atheism denies the existence of spirits, and therefore must also conclude that there is no such thing as "spiritual health" at all. So spiritual health, according to atheism, is equal to zero because it is totally non-existent.

Anyone who has taken the time to READ Vitz's actual book knows that he does not make "ridiculous over-generalizations." He specifically points out and addresses the fact that there are exceptions to his theory.

But as long as we're presenting anecdotal evidence, let me have a go: My Dad spent EVERY day with me growing up, as did my Mom. If your dad only spent a measly 3 days a week with you growing up, your childhood was an appalling travesty.

Try reading Vitz's actual book all the way through BEFORE you judge it. How does that sound?

Brainwave, Beliefnet 77 Comments [9/28/2011 3:14:50 AM]
Fundie Index: 56
Submitted By: Wykked Wytch

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Hey, as long as we're presenting anecdotal evidence, Mr. Brainwave (I love how fundies can chose the most ironic screen-names sometimes), I think I'll have a go to.

I'm an atheist. I get along just fine with both of my parents. I love and respect them both, and they love and respect me.

Of course, that probably doesn't count, because both of my parents are agnostic, and my father in particular is an atheistically leaning agnostic.

Well, what about my Dad? Both of his parents are religious. But he still gets along fine with his father. But he doesn't have a very good relationship with his mother, because she can't cope with their political and religious differences. What does that say?

If this "theory" of Vitz is so strong, why are there so many exceptions? Can you explain them? Does Vitz have actual statistics to back up what he says?

You see, I don't like you insulting me and making assumptions about my family simply because I'm an atheist. I'm also interested in facts. If you have evidence, if you can actual back up this "theory", then I'm all ears.

9/28/2011 11:42:50 AM


My religious beliefs and my problems with my father are unrelated, thank you very much. I'd probably be an atheist/agnostic anyway, whether or not our relationship was awesome, just because I tend to take a more skeptical view of things than most people.

9/28/2011 11:56:40 AM


OK maybe if your dad is highly religious then you are more likely to be an atheist if you do not have a good relationship with him. Just because if you did have a good relationship with him, then the chances are he would have pushed his religion on you at a young age and you'd have positive feelings about it.

However, if your father is an atheist himself, then a good relationship will make it more likely for you to be an atheist. And if he just doesn't talk of religion then the relationship won't have too much of an effect there.

Also any study Paul Vitz would have possibly done is purely correlational, yet it is being talked about as a causation, which should set off major alarm flags as to how good the research was.

9/28/2011 12:01:00 PM

Old Viking

Too bad your dad couldn't find a job.

9/28/2011 12:20:26 PM


My cousin's parents have been divorced since he was a toddler & he only visited his Dad & Stepmom once a week....but he's a happy, extremely intelligent, well-adjusted man with a lovely wife whom he loves a lot & a beautiful son. You don't need a dad around 24/7 in order to be healthy & happy & those who say otherwise are sexists who've only looked at disfunctional situations with poverty and/or miserable moms who can't parent.

Funny how noone goes beserkazoid over kids raised by single fathers! Funny how a Patriarchial society puts the primacy over Dad's parenting over Mom's parenting despite the fact that it's Mom who spends 9 MONTHS "making" the kid (Dad playing a very minor role...'Ooh Baby! *SQUIRT*'. He's just as much a parent as her but his PHYSICAL ROLE is very minor). Mom bears the kid & nurses it, yet she's the "weakest link".

Finally, atheism has nothing to do with who parented the kid....some people just don't believe in all that Religious/Spiritual stuff. Someone's character is also NOT dependent on one's Faith or lack thereof.

9/28/2011 1:00:30 PM

My dad is an atheist, and we get along greatly.

So, if I wanted to be rebellious... I'd be a fundamentalist!

9/28/2011 1:32:29 PM


My dad (a theistic though somewhat liberal Jew) and I have a wonderful relationship, and I'm an atheist. Care to explain my existence?

But you're right about one thing:

"...atheism denies the existence of spirits, and therefore must also conclude that there is no such thing as 'spiritual health' at all. So spiritual health, according to atheism, is equal to zero because it is totally non-existent."

Absolutely correct. To me the word "spiritual" has as much meaning as the word "nweraneklwawelafk." Seriously. I have never heard a coherent definition of either of those words, nor been able to glean one from context.

9/28/2011 2:08:41 PM


@ Old Viking:

You're assuming. Maybe he only "worked" a crowd on Sunday mornings from a pulpit. Lots of free time when you're running that scam.

9/28/2011 2:14:52 PM


I'm an atheist and I believe in spirits... like Jack Daniel's, Jim Beam, Woodford Reserve, Booker's, etc.

9/28/2011 2:26:14 PM


"Anyone who has taken the time to READ Vitz's actual book knows that he does not make "ridiculous over-generalizations. "He specifically points out and addresses the fact that there are exceptions to his theory."

unless you can work those exceptions into (broad)rules of their own, that means your theory sucks (and is more of a hypothesis, really, as it was never scientifically proven). You can't say "hey, i've got this great theory, it only works half the time but its really nice n stuff".

also Atheism is not the same as aspiritualism. Just ask the bhuddists. Still, youre right that for the total unbelievers here, spiritual health does not exist, so we worry more about mental health. like yours.

9/28/2011 3:20:13 PM

preacher's kid

Massive anecdotal fail. Case in point: My dad was a minister, and my brother, sister and I spent every day with him growing up, since he had a more flexible work schedule than my mother did. We literally grew up at church. My brother and I are both atheists. My sister, who is developmentally disabled and functions at the level of a 3 year old, is the only one who still believes in god.

Hahahahahahahaha! So much for that idea!

And by the way, we had a great relationship with him. Best. Dad. Ever.

9/28/2011 4:28:03 PM


Hmm, kind of reminds me of Fight Club.

Our fathers were our models for God. If our fathers bailed, what does that tell you about God?

If there are exceptions to the theory, then it's not terribly good.

9/28/2011 4:48:08 PM


So what you are admitting, is that belief in your madjick sky ghost is a function of parenthood. IE, it has nothing to do with an actual metaphysical being, but how one is raised. Didn't quite think about that angle now did you....????? And alone those absurd lines you suggested, would a loving gawd really condemn an atheist to hell if his father died when he was an infant? I mean....father time = religious faith.....then how could gawd punish somebody with no father while growing up?

And as for no "spiritual health", you should talk to a buddhist about that. They dont believe in any gawd, but are spiritual.

9/28/2011 6:00:56 PM


Well. Guilty as charged. I'm an atheist and I hate my dad because he was negligent and abusive. He hardly spent any time with me, and I don't think we've ever had a conversation of more than a few sentences. Certainly none of any substance - most of the time it's my asking him to instruct me about something like circuitry.

I prefer to think my atheism is more a product of having figured out that religious claims don't make much sense. At all.

But, you know, whichever.

9/28/2011 6:45:09 PM


I'll see his stereotype and raise him an atheistic tranny who had an absolutely wonderful relationship with their father?

9/28/2011 9:25:08 PM


My parents work for a living, but spent as much time as they could with us kids. As we were 3 siblings when I was little (a fourth came along when I was 12 years old), we played with each other when our parents worked.

Wouldn't rather an absent father create a yearning for some kind of higher Father? Not the other way around? My dad was there for me when I was little, I had no need for an imaginary Father in the sky.

9/28/2011 10:27:49 PM


I had a wonderful relationship with Dad. He was an agnostic, and so was Mom, but I'm now an atheist. I owe my current status to my parents. I think I was 11 when I asked "why don't we go to church"? The answer was; "we decided that we would never lie to our children". I consider myself exceptionally lucky to have been born to such parents.

9/28/2011 10:53:09 PM

Argle Bargle

Says the man who worships an eternal daddy figure.

9/29/2011 4:04:03 AM


I hate to throw a wrench in this idea, but my dad and I have a great relationship and I am an atheist.

9/29/2011 4:53:56 AM


No, you can believe in and have an interest in, the concept of "the spiritual" (which could mean something like non-material matters which matter to you) and therefore have a concern about "spiritual health". "A-theism" is specifically a lack of belief in Gods. It's in the name.
I'm glad my dad didn't spend every day with me growing up. That would've bored me and annoyed me. I'd have been like, "go away dad, I'm trying to play with my Star Wars figures".

9/29/2011 5:50:45 AM


So your dad spent every day with you, and yet, you're still a douche. What does that tell us?

9/29/2011 8:01:36 AM


So by that logic, agnostics had a so-so relationship with their dad?

9/29/2011 10:18:53 AM


atheism is caused by having a bad relationship with one's father in childhood

He may be right under some circumstances. If the father was an abusive, hate-filled, judgmental, holier-than-thou, fundamentalist Bible thumper, I can see how that might turn someone away from religion. Somehow I doubt that's what Brainfart was thinking of, though.

9/29/2011 2:10:58 PM


Ah well that explains why I joined a Christian church for a decade, my Dad was an atheist and not a particularly easy person to be around.


I was young and made some dumb decisions and once I started using critical thinking, realized it.

9/29/2011 6:06:21 PM

How do you explain in that my sister and I both had a horrible relationship with our father, who was emotionally absent and never liked anything we did, where she became a diehard Catholic (she rails constantly that the girlfriend and I live together [and more] despite being unmarried for example) and I'm an atheist?

9/29/2011 8:43:43 PM

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