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Dr. Paul Vitz, Professor of Psychology at New York University, studied the lives of more than a dozen of the world's most influential atheists over the last four centuries. As a result, Vitz discovered they all had one thing in common: defective relationships with their fathers. Vitz defines "defective" fathers as those who were dead, abusive, weak, or who abandoned their children.

Sigmund Freud wrote that his father was a sexual pervert. Thomas Hobbes's father was an Anglican clergyman who got into a fight with another man in the churchyard and, subsequently, abandoned his family. Ludwig Feuerbach, at age 13, was abandoned by his father, who openly took up living with another woman in a different town. Voltaire fought constantly with his father, causing him later to reject his surname.

Schopenhauer's father committed suicide when he was 16. Both Bertrand Russell and Nietzsche lost their fathers at the age of four. Sartre's father died before Sartre was born, and Camus was a year old when he lost his father. Hume also lost his father in early childhood. Hitler's father was a violent man who unmercifully beat Adolf, his mother, and even the family dog; he died when Adolf was 14. Stalin's father also administered brutal beatings to his son. (Professor Paul C. Vitz, "The Psychology of Atheism," Truth Journal)

Now, these are drastic examples, but the statistics on the general population just as drastically demonstrate the importance of a father's role in a child's life. Some time ago, the Department of Health and Human Services reported that girls without a father in their life are two-and-a-half times as likely to get pregnant and 53 percent more likely to commit suicide. Boys without a father in their life are 63 percent more likely to run away and 37 percent more likely to abuse drugs. Both girls and boys without father involvement are twice as likely to drop out of high school, twice as likely to end up in jail, and nearly four times as likely to need help for emotional or behavioral problems.

(Health and Human Services Fatherhood Initiative, 6-18-99. From a sermon by C. Philip Green, Loving Leadership, 6/17/2010)

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