by Paul C. Vitz, Spencer Publishing Co., Dallas, Texas, 1999,
ISBN 1-890-62625-2), 173 pages, $14.95
Dr. Paul Vitz is a psychology professor at New York University. In this book, Dr. Vitz looks into the question of how much atheism is caused by psychological problems, particularly the absence of fathers in children's lives.
Vitz begins by reviewing the validity of attempting to establish a psychological cause for atheism. He then reports the relationship that existed between leading atheists in the past and their fathers. His research is exhaustive and he covers the field well, including Nietzche, Hume, Russell, Sartre, Camas, Schopenhauer, Hubber, Meslier, Voltaire, d'Alembert, d'Holbach, Feuerbach, Butler, Freud, Wells, O'Hair, Ellis, and some lesser known atheists. All of these are shown to have had bad father relationships with their fathers.
After looking at atheists and their fathers, leading theists are examined in the same way. There is a very striking difference between the chosen theists and the chosen atheists. The remainder of the book attempts to anticipate questions on simple bias and over-generalizations. Vitz's evolution from an atheists to a believer is also explored.
This is an interesting book. We suspect it will stimulate some strong responses from atheists, but it is thorough and well-written, and it makes a good case. We recommend it as a book that contributes a new perspective on atheism and the importance of fathers in the growth and development of all humans.
Back to Contents Does God Exist?, JulAug01.