The following comes from a Dec. 19 release from Christian Newswire.
The Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre recently conducted a study on the effects of fatherlessness on children, and the results are startling: The absence of a father during critical growth periods leads to impaired social and behavioral abilities in adults and even causes a misshapen prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain responsible for planning complex cognitive behavior, personality expression, decision-making and moderating social behavior.
Dr. Paul Vitz further shows the adverse effects of fatherlessness, or “defective” fathers, on the social and behavioral skills on prominent atheists in his controversial, updated book, [published by Ignatius Press] Faith of the Fatherless: The Psychology of Atheism. He proves how 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.
A biographical survey of influential atheists of the past four centuries — Freud, Friedrich Nietzsche, 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.
Throughout Faith of the Fatherless, Vitz does not argue that atheism is psychologically determined. 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.
Vitz is a former professor of psychology at New York University and was an atheist until his late 30s.
To read the original release, click here.