More Misconceptions About Atheists December 15, 2007

More Misconceptions About Atheists

According to Francis Anfuso and the book he cites, the “vast majority” of you became atheists because of your “father wounds”:

Thinking about how your religion made no sense?

That had nothing to do with it.

(Why would a self-described atheist take a walk with God, anyway? Doesn’t that seem contradictory?)

[tags]atheist, atheism[/tags]

"The way republican politics are going these days, that means the winner is worse than ..."

It’s Moving Day for the Friendly ..."
"It would have been more convincing if he used then rather than than."

It’s Moving Day for the Friendly ..."

Browse Our Archives

What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Am I an atheist? Yes.

    Did I have problems with my father while growing up? Yes.

    Does this have anything to do with me turning into a godless human? No, because I had other male figures in my life who were very fatherly. I had enough guidance. Even when I didn’t have a father figure around to help me, I still had close friends. Being atheist, in my own experience, has nothing to do with the loss and/or lack of a father and has more to do with the powerful capability of religious people to drive others away.

    Atheists that have had father troubles may just be a coincidence. What happens if we turn it around? Maybe it is more harmful to have a father that is faithful, as it might turn a child into a gullible, dependent, pious individual who throws logic away and devotes time and belief to nothing but hope.

    Please excuse my poor grammar. The Yuengling Black & Tan I’m drinking is delicious.

  • Mriana

    That is the most rediculous thing I have ever heard! Do these people ever think it’s because we educate ourselves? 🙄 Whatever.

  • Miko

    Actually, I can think of a number of cases where that’s the case. I’d need to see all the data, but it’s certainly possible that there really is a positive correlation there. Of course, I’d doubt it would be explainable in terms of causation. For one thing, it’s probably true that there’s the same correlation between “father wounds” and theistic belief. And then there’s the problem of which side to count people like C.S. Lewis on.

    But overall I’m inclined to attribute it to the fact that “father wounds” isn’t well-defined and so can be applied to basically whomever you care to apply it to.

  • Is he saying you were crucified?

  • George Orwell once wrote of another, “He was an embittered atheist, the sort of atheist who does not so much disbelieve in God as personally dislike Him.”

    A lot of young atheists are atheists as a form of rebellion. If you watch some of the YouTube videos by atheists, they seem to atheists that are one-step-away-from-Satanism. Which of course means they actually do believe in supernatural.

    One must wonder, in any case, why somebody would claim to be a denier of god’s existence, and put so much energy into denying it. The effort atheists put into atheism would seem to belie the denial.

    I do not particularly believe the Pillsbury Dough Boy exists. If I put out books denying the existence of the Pillsbury Dough Boy, though, one might conclude that I do believe in the Pillsbury Dough Boy, and I want to strike out at him by denying his existence.

    Agnosticism, one; Atheism, zero. 😉

  • Claire

    Normally, I’m all in favor of accepting that a person’s beliefs are what he or she says they are, but this guy makes it clear that his rejection of his god was not “you don’t exist” but merely “I don’t like you”, which is not what being an atheist is about. I think he needs a dictionary, or a clue, or both.

    What’s even more objectionable is the word “broken”. And they accuse atheists of arrogance….

    If anyone has weird father issues here, I vote for the monotheists. While some/most/not-sure-which say that their god is neither male nor female, it almost always ends up as “he” and “heavenly father” and the visuals are always a guy with a beard. Can you say “projecting”? I thought you could.

  • Shane

    The number of atheists with “father wounds” doesn’t tell you anything because he had no control group. What percentage of a random sample of the general population has father issues. Is there a statistical difference between the means? And how likely is it that there is some other variable that may cause both of them like having a certain rebellious/independent personality type. Or even that their atheism caused their issues with their parents. Anyway, it’s a hollow argument and doesn’t really address the issue anyway–which is the existence of god(s).

    And his reason for becoming an atheist was bogus anyway. He is talking as if he believes in some god, but that he is just thinks it’s evil. That’s not really atheism. God could just as easily be an evil deceiver as an omni-benevolent father, but I don’t believe in either of them (which is why I’ve never cared about the argument from evil–it just changes the attributes of god but there is no reason to belief one is even there in the first place).

  • Interesting idea… While we are pulling random stuff out of our arses, I have one. Christians are only christians because they get off on being punished by a dominant man for being “naughty boys”.

  • Old Beezle

    Either children raised as christians will accept the authoritarian rule and perpetuate it or they will rebel against their fathers. That could be one reason they became atheist. Or it could be something else entirely. As was mentioned earlier there is no clear causation here. Don’t even know why it was mentioned by this hip pastor. My dad’s Mormon and I’m not and we went out for Indian food at lunch today–no wounding involved–didn’t even talk religion.

  • I have to wonder how many people have turned to god because of problems with their parents.

    It seems to me that most of the people I know have had huge issues with their parents at one point or another. These issues may be traumatic enough to create a change in a persons belief system.

  • Renacier

    Sounds to me like his brand of “atheism” was more akin to youthful rebellion.
    I would venture to say he was like many teenagers in the Bible Belt; say you don’t believe in God just to piss off your parents and flex your rebellious muscles. No surprise they always came back to religion in the end, though.

  • Count me as one atheist who doesn’t have “father wounds.” We actually have gotten along pretty well.

  • Frank Mitchell

    Another anecdotal data point: I had problems with my father, but I didn’t begin my path from Catholicism to atheism until a Jesuit high school teacher began informing me just what I was supposed to believe in.

    Maybe that counts as a “Father” wound …

  • Nick

    Lets see…
    Am I and atheist? Yes
    Did I have issues with my father growing up? No

    Hmmm… Lets take my three good friends
    Is Cameron an atheist? No
    Did he have issues with his father growing up? Yes
    Is Aaron an atheist? No
    Did he have issues with his father growing up? Yes
    Is Arman an atheist? No
    Did he have issues with his father growing up? Yes

    I can see the pattern
    But really if there is a correlation as Anfuso describes it could simply be because religion only survives by indoctrinating children. Hardly something to be proud of.

  • What kind of asinine generalization is that? I’ve met plenty of Christians with “father wounds.” It sounds to me like someone is applying what may be true for a few to the general population.

    Does that ever stop?

  • I agree with the others here who pointed out that there is no clear causation and he is applying what is true for most of the population to one specific group. For example, he could just as easily say that most Americans are obese, therefore most American Atheists are obese. You get the idea.

    And as for me, I’ve been an Atheist since I was a teenager and no, I have no “father issues”. My dad is great. Religious, yes, but still a great dad for accepting me and knowing what unconditional love really is. You know…like most parents in their right mind should 😉

  • Mikey

    This is the classic witnessing technique gone wrong. Preachers develop one or more personal witness stories they use to turn tricks, there are even schools that teach the technique. In these stories the preacher always starts from a traumatic experience, crisis of faith, godlessness (which, after all, is what atheism means), or a moral shortcoming such as alcoholism. Then he shows how God helped him turn his life around. The story should be something that a large part of a susceptible audience can relate to. In my opinion this guy’s witness story wasn’t really meant to appeal to atheists; it was meant to appeal to people who rebelled against their parents. By focusing on atheists to a susceptible crowd, he was actually preaching to the choir.

  • How Freudian.

  • I’ve had issues with my step-father, but when I was growing up, I was religious. When I went to college, I converted back the atheism. Going back to my mother and step-father’s belief is hardly a form of rebellion.

    Some religious people, I guess, just can’t believe that some people don’t believe in their God. So they assume its some kind of psychological problem.

  • …because we all know that all mental disorders can be traced back to traumatic childhood experiences.

    Oh, wait. Freud has been discredited, and atheism isn’t a mental disorder.

  • My data point: no problems whatsoever in the relationship with my father.

  • Steven Carr

    To be fair, Christians do do a lot for children with father problems.

    Christians have set up ophanages, because they know a kid is in gig,big trouble if it has no earthly father who loves it, and only has a Heavenly Father who loves it.

    Christians know the Heavenly Father is not going to look after the child, and so set up orphanages to help children with such Father issues.

  • Darryl

    Oh, these pitiful bastards! These nutty ideas they have are designed with Evangelicals in mind. They’re not for anyone else; they’re not meant to be taken seriously.

    You see, Evangelicals are conditioned by years of steady propaganda and behavior modification to believe in ideas that make little sense of themselves and for which no evidence is given. So, when some guy like this spouts some new theory for why Evangelicals should feel good about themselves, and not feel threatened by atheism or science, and that atheists are actually psychologically-defective and are what they are for no good reason, well, it fits perfectly with everything else that Evangelicals have come to believe. It’s comforting, and that’s what Evangelicals spend alot of their time doing–comforting themselves with great stories that are about them and how they will come out on top in the end.

    Marx was right: religion is the opiate of the masses. They’re addicted; they need it to feel right; they need it to get them through life, to cope. You’ll look far and wide to find a social institution with such a large percentage of messed-up people where membership is voluntary.

  • Andrew

    This is a common misconception among most Christians. They don’t understand that atheist do not believe in a god. They think we just hate theirs like some childish feud between a father and son…

    It is just plain ignorance, and this guy is fostering it with his message. He is stuffing a straw man of atheism so he can knock it down with the rest of his message.

    I don’t understand how the average Christian can look at this video and see anything “holy” or see “God’s hand” in his words. It is simply an apologetic video that uses a dishonest ad hominem as its main argument. And what is this guy really protecting against anyway? He is the one being dishonest, and yet he would probably feel justified in doing whatever he can in keeping people from “straying” from the faith.

  • Karen

    It’s comforting, and that’s what Evangelicals spend alot of their time doing–comforting themselves with great stories that are about them and how they will come out on top in the end.

    Ain’t that the truth!

    Marx was right: religion is the opiate of the masses. They’re addicted; they need it to feel right; they need it to get them through life, to cope. You’ll look far and wide to find a social institution with such a large percentage of messed-up people where membership is voluntary.

    I think this is, in large part, why deconverting is so terribly painful. It’s actually a withdrawal process not dissimilar to withdrawing from a drug: You get comfort and hope from this circular logic for so long that you don’t even know how to compensate or cope on your own. I understand why some people come to the brink and tiptoe backwards – they just can’t face life without the spiritual “highs” and they don’t believe that people can still be happy and fulfilled without religion.

  • Well, my parents celebrated their 38th wedding anniversary last week. And I’m fairly close with my dad. So, I guess Anfuso’s suggestion doesn’t apply to me. Whoops.

error: Content is protected !!