Is God Just a Psychological Crutch for the Weak?

Via Thinking Matters:

1. Freud himself acknowledged that his “psychoanalysis” of religion had no supporting clinical evidence.
2. The argument commits the genetic fallacy, which is the error of attributing truth or falsehood to a belief based on its origin or genesis.
3. We need to distinguish between the rationality of belief and the psychology of belief.
4. It is odd and arbitrary to claim that whatever brings comfort and solace is false.
5. The incurably religious nature of human beings could just as likely indicate a divinely placed void that only God can fill.
6. A comforting father figure, while unique to the biblical faith, is not at the heart of the other world religions.
7. The attempt to psychologize believers applies more readily to the hardened atheist.

Read the whole article and Copan’s explanation of each point here. The following video presentation is by Professor Paul Vitz (I believe he is now retired)… here is a short bio on him via Conservapedia:

Paul Vitz is a Psychology professor at New York University. He graduated with a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Michigan in 1957 and with a Ph.D in Psychology from Stanford University in 1962. An atheist until he was in his late 30s, he is now a practicing Roman Catholic. His focus is on the connection between Christianity and Psychology. He is a member of the fellowship of Catholic Scholars, but also has strong contact to Evangelical Protestantorganizations and deeply religious Jews.

Vitz criticizes liberalism and believes there is a link between fatherlessness and atheism, as he demonstrates in his book Faith of the Fatherless, the Psychology of Atheism (1999). The thesis of Faith of the Fatherless holds that famous believers—e.g., Blaise Pascal, Edmund Burke, Friedrich Schleiermacher, Karl Barth, and Dietrich Bonhoeffer—had strong and loving fathers, whereas their atheistic counterparts—e.g., Thomas Hobbes, Voltaire, Sigmund Freud, Mao Zedong and Adolf Hitler—all had fathers who were weak, unloving, or absent. Thus, philosophers, professors, and political tyrants who denounce God do so in order to relive traumatic childhood experiences and to subconsciously seek out help rather than to explore any sort of valid or respectable reasoning process.

…read more…

His books are as follows (his Amazon page is here):

  • Psychology As Religion: The Cult of Self-Worship;
  • Modern Art and Modern Science: The Parallel Analysis of Vision, authored with Arnold B. Glimcher;
  • Sigmund Freud’s Christian Unconscious;
  • Censorship: Evidence of Bias in Our Children’s Textbooks;
  • The Course of True Love: Marriage in High School Textbooks, a Report to the Nation from the Council on Families;
  • Defending the Family: A Sourcebook, edited with Stephen M. Krason;
  • Faith of the Fatherless: The Psychology of Atheism;
  • The Self: Beyond the Postmodern Crisis, edited with Susan M. Felch.

Here is another example of a crutch allowing people to feel like they can act-out as they please:

Heaven or Hell? The Sinners Crutch!

From video description

In this “Ultimate Issues Hour,” Dennis Prager discusses “Ultimate Justice” (God’s justice and otherwise) and justice’s involvement/affect in/on behavior. A new study reveals that belief in hell [and heaven] predicted a lower crime rate; belief in heaven predicted more crimes. Dennis tackles this hard to explain — or is it — issue.

This is uploaded because of an article by a detective and Christian apologist that likewise deals head-on with these questions as well (See, “Does Belief In God Encourage Criminal Behavior?“). Detective Wallace says, “Criminals who justify their actions with religious doctrines are typically woefully ignorant of (or purposefully distorting) these doctrines,” I concur. Having been in jail for almost a full year-and-a-half with three felonies, I know first hand the psychological crutch religion can play, rather than the Refiner’s Fire Christianity is meant to be (Zechariah 13:9, 1 Peter 1:7, Job 23:10, Isaiah 48:10).

I will add that “Liberalism,” wherever it is applied (politics, economics, faith, ethics, and the like), harms immeasurably the actions of those involved in it. Theology is no less hurt by this progressive matrix.

Just the latest example of this are those that are opposed to pro-lifers support of a bill that will stop late-term abortions. They can be heard chanting “hail Satan” in response to others singing “Amazing Grace.” As well as “fu*k the church!” The Democrats that once supported and made up John F. Kennedy’s base would not recognize the liberal Democratic party of today. Which is why Dennis says (as well as Reagan) that the Democratic Party left them, not the other way around.

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