Why single mothers and abusive fathers cause Nazism

11 05 2005
One of the latest bloviations on On-line Opinion is Ben-Peter Terpstra’s review of a 1999 book which looks at the “psychological source” of atheism. Terpstra opens with the standard litany of slings and arrows that persecuted Christians and Jews have had to endure at the hands of “militant atheists,” who themselves continue to escape scrutiny (gee–that’s never been said before, has it?).

Anyway, what is the psychological source of atheism, you ask? Well, you see, it’s like this: atheists have “dead” or “defective” fathers. Not all of them, of course–there are exceptions–but exceptions prove the rule. Atheists have dead and/or defective fathers, and that’s why they “hate God.” Here’s my first question. How can you hate something if you don’t believe in its existence?

Terpstra then trundles out Pascal’s wager: monotheists have nothing to lose by being wrong about God’s existence; atheists have everything to lose. Again, it’s not the first time that atheists have been beaten over the head with that argument, but it has a major flaw: it forgets that there are many theisms–not just one. Ergo, since for many religions it takes more than a simple profession of faith in God to escape eternal damnation, theists risk no less than atheists in pursuing the belief systems they pursue. I don’t know which faith Terpstra adheres to. He’d better pray it isn’t the wrong one.

But wait: there’s more. Atheists don’t just hate God. They hate America, too. (I’m not even going to bother shooting that one down–I think you get the idea.)

And no exercise in atheist-bashing would be complete without the genetic fallacy. Hitler was an atheist. Stalin was an atheist. Both “were severely beaten by their fathers.” THEREFORE “atheism in both its forms of fascism and communism, has been responsible for killing far more humans than all the religious wars of the first nineteen centuries.”

“Alas, an intellectual arrogance surrounds militant atheists,” Terpstra concludes, without a hint of irony.

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