Rick Warren Explains the New Atheism

Pastor Rick Warren is already trying to put out the flames that arose when his hypocrisy was pointed out a few days ago. He canceled his appearance today on This Week citing “exhaustion.”

George Stephanopoulos: Happy Easter and Happy Passover. For those of you tuning in this morning expecting to hear from Pastor Rick Warren, we were too, but the pastor’s representatives canceled moments before the scheduled interview, saying that Mr. Warren is sick from exhaustion. We hope he recovers quickly and we’re going to turn instead to the hostage standoff off the coast of Somalia.

But Warren made several more stumbles in an interview with right-winger Hugh Hewitt on Hewitt’s radio show. Watch how Warren explains New Atheism:

HH: Now I’m looking at another book here by my closest friend, and a friend of yours, Bill Lobdell…

RW: Yeah.

HH: …Losing My Religion. You know Bill, he covered you a lot.

RW: Yeah, right.

HH: He’s one of the new atheists now.

RW: Yeah.

HH: Lost him, and we’ll get him back. But Hitchens was here in town at Biola University.

RW: Yeah.

HH: What do you make of the new atheism, whether it’s Lobdell or Hitchens or Richard Dawkins, and all the attention they’re getting?

RW: Well, first place, they’re making a ton of money, okay?

That’s supposed to explain what, exactly? Why they’re atheists? I assure you that there are plenty of movers and shakers in the atheist community who get paid relatively little (or nothing at all).

The fact that the authors have made money off their books only attests to the idea of how popular their ideas are. Very few people write books — especially about atheism — expecting to make tons of money. That only happens on rare occasions, or if you are already famous.

And I highly doubt Lobdell is about to return to theism. If you read his website (which you should) or his book Losing My Religion, it’s clear he’s pretty comfortable with atheism and sees it as the only rational outlook on life. I see no reason he’d turn back.

Warren then goes into his scripted and erroneous monologue about the “evils of atheism”:

RW:… I’ve debated Hitchens and I debates [sic] Sam Harris, and I told Sam, I said Sam, to be honest with you, I have never known an atheist who wasn’t mad, who wasn’t angry. And he got angry about it. But the truth is, every one of them have a thorn. I’m not worried about atheists. I’m more worried about the apatheists. The apatheists are the harder ones to reach. The atheists, the reason they are so dogmatic about it is they’ve got a burr under their saddle where they’ve been hurt. I was, two years ago, speaking at Davos at the World Economic Forum, and we were sitting around a room, and the guy, we were at tables, and the guy knew who I was, knew I was a pastor, and so he got up and made some long statement like the worst thing in the world right now is organized religion, and if we could just get rid of all of that, well then we wouldn’t have any wars, blah, blah, blah. And I knew he was just bating me, and I could have, if I had wanted to, I didn’t want to, I could have gone up, stood up and said the fact of life, and for instance, far more people were killed in the 20th Century by atheist regimes than all of the people ever killed in religious regimes put together in history. When you take Mao, Stalin and Hitler, there’s no comparison the genocides that have been caused by atheists. Christian campaigns are miniscule in comparison. But I didn’t. I wasn’t just going to take the bite. And after it was over, he came over and kind of chagrined, he said my father was a rector. And I’m going well, you expected me to be surprised at that? Paul Vitz, who is an author with New York University, wrote a very fascinating book called Faith Of The Fathers, in which he went and studied the 72 most well-known atheists in history, the Bertrand Russells, the Voltaires, the Freuds, and the only thing he could find in common with every one of them is they all hated their dads. Every one of them. They had distant dad, demeaning dad, a dead dad, they had no relationships with their fathers.

To recap: Warren just said what all atheists have in common is a bad relationship with their father.

The whole argument about Mao and Stalin has been debunked repeatedly. While they may have been atheists, they didn’t kill in the “name of atheism.” Hitler was a Christian.

Why millions of Christians look up to Rick Warren, I don’t know. He peddles ignorance and spreads lies. This is just another example of it.

  • http://primesequence.blogspot.com/ PrimeNumbers

    It’s funny how Christians with their moral superiority can’t wait to trot out the same lies they always tell about atheists.

  • http://noadi.blogspot.com Noadi

    Hmmm… I guess I’m going to have to tell my dad that regardless of all the time we spend together that we have a terrible relationship because Rick Warren says so.

    Again this myth that Hitler was an atheist. I bet they’d argue that Martin Luther never wrote any treatise on how to deal with the Jews that advocated most of what Hitler did.

  • http://avertyoureye.blogspot.com/ Teleprompter

    “making a ton of money”

    Very funny, Rick!

    I wonder how much money you’ve made from evangelism?

    (And didn’t Jesus say something about removing the log from your own eye first?)

  • derp

    why do people refer to atheists as if they are a group, with like opinions?

  • zoo

    Heh. Funny. It’s true of me, but that’s not why I’m atheist (nor am I angry for no reason or dogmatic). And besides, isn’t that supposed to be part of what makes Christianity attractive (according to the Christians with that condition)? That God is like a replacement father?

    As for atheists killing more people (never mind that atheism wasn’t the reason for it whereas. . .), assuming they actually did, could that not be because there are more people to kill now (population growth isn’t linear after all)? [speculation]

  • http://noguyinthesky.blogspot.com/ No Guy in the Sky

    He seems to forget the real money is in Televangelism. So the pennies Dawkins and the rest make compared to any of the Big TV Bible Money Beggars is ridiculous.

    The truth is if he did go up and state atheists killed far more than religious regimes through out history, he would have been shredded and laughed out of the building. Not that he would be smart enough to know he was toast.

    Atheists only get angry when confronted with complete and utter stupidity. Which falls under believing in invisible guy in the sky that plagiarizes other religious fables to be his own. Probably stemming from a complete lack of deity creativity. The whole foundation of a religion is false. Hmmm when faced with a believer that does not listen to any reasoning. I wonder why atheists are not more vocal.

  • Indigo

    Hmmm… I guess I’m going to have to tell my dad that regardless of all the time we spend together that we have a terrible relationship because Rick Warren says so.
    Yeah, I’ll be sure that pass that bit of information on to my own father too. Maybe tonight over the Easter dinner we cooked together.

  • Sock

    One thing we need to realize about Christians.

    Logic, truth, and reason do not mean as much as “want”. The logic and truth behind Hitler and Stalin just completely destroys that Christian argument against atheism. And so, instead of correcting the argument (and thus, admitting that religion IS a big, deadly idea) they will continue to repeat what they want to hear, regardless of the falsehood.

    It’s not a new argument. It’s been debunked many times. However, Christians still use it because they want what they’re saying to be the truth.

  • Reginald Selkirk

    I debates [sic] Sam Harris

    Check it out for yourself:
    God Debate: Sam Harris vs. Rick Warren
    Newsweek April 9, 2007

    Two of my favorite bits:

    WARREN: … I talk to God every day. He talks to me.

    HARRIS: It is quite possible for most people to be wrong—as are most Americans who think that evolution didn’t occur.

    WARREN: That’s an arrogant statement.

  • Justin jm

    they had no relationships with their fathers.

    And Warren has no relationship with honesty. Perhaps that’s why he feels free to make crap up?

    I have never known an atheist who wasn’t mad, who wasn’t angry.

    How could anybody not be angry after hearing Warren’s lies?

    When you take Mao, Stalin and Hitler, there’s no comparison the genocides that have been caused by atheists.

    As was pointed out by Mr. Mehta, Hitler believed in a diety. In fact, I think one could argue that Hitler hated atheists (just not to the extent that Hitler hated Jewish people). Also, Stalin was a paranoiac, which is far more likely to be the cause of the Soviet Union’s death toll than his nonbelief.

  • Reginald Selkirk

    Another excerpt from the Warren-Harris debate:

    WARREN: … A lot of atheists hide behind rationalism; when you start probing, you find their reactions are quite emotional. In fact, I’ve never met an atheist who wasn’t angry.

    HARRIS: Let me be the first.

    WARREN: I think your books are quite angry.

    HARRIS: I would put it at impatient rather than angry.

  • Reginald Selkirk

    Two more bits from the Warren-Harris debate:

    WARREN: We both stand in a relationship of faith. You have faith that there is no God. In 1974, I spent the better part of a year living in Japan, and I studied all the world religions. All of the religions basically point toward truth. Buddha made this famous statement at the end of his life: “I’m still searching for the truth.” Muhammad said, “I am a prophet of the truth.” The Veda says, “Truth is elusive, it’s like a butterfly, you’ve got to search for it.” Then Jesus Christ comes along and says, “I am the truth.” All of a sudden, that forces a decision.

    WARREN: The truth is, religion is mutually exclusive. The person who says, “Oh, I just believe them all,” is an idiot because the religions flat-out contradict each other. You cannot believe in reincarnation and heaven at the same time.

  • jemand

    Fuck you Warren, I’m used to being insulted for being an atheist but when you start insulting my family and calling my dad a bad father, that just crosses yet another line.

    I’m beginning to understand why you think all atheists are angry… you’d happen to think all dogs are vicious too but maybe it has something to do with you poking them in the eyes with sticks and laughing or something… (that last part was metaphor just to make sure everyone follows.)

  • matt

    Well, I have a funny relationship with my dad. I totally understand how we’re alike, even though I didn’t grow up with him. But then he’s dogmatically conservative whereas I figured out that I’m very liberal, but do my best to challenge my dogma at every turn.
    Then… I have a stepdad, who I’m close with and he’s also dogmatic (kind of a Bill O of liberalism). So I guess my only problem with my fathers is that in their old age they haven’t learned to listen to opposing opinions very well, which I guess I can understand. Definitely no hate happening though…

  • AnonyMouse

    WHAT THE BLOODY #&!!?

    When will these hideously undereducated individuals get it into their tiny brains that Hitler was a Catholic? And what do they mean by insisting that every atheist has had a bad relationship with his/her father? For the love of honesty, WHY? Tell me, Mr. Warren, what was YOUR relationship like with your father? Not all charm and snuggles, I’ll bet. And I’ll bet it’s the same for a lot of devout Christians.

    I guess that by their definition I must be apatheist, because I don’t have some kind of cosmic bee in my bonnet and I’m not receiving a salary.

    I love my father. Sure, I would have liked to be closer to him when I was a child, and I wish he wasn’t so dogmatic about Christianity, but he’s my dad. I’m not angry at him for not being there for me. God didn’t get up every morning when I was a baby and feed me so that my mother could get sleep. My dad did.

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  • http://ichthyologistbright.blogspot.com ChimaeraLaurie

    Hmm. I’m still Daddy’s little (44 year old) girl AND an atheist. There must be something wrong with me. My father, also an atheist, had a very close relationship with his father. Must be something wrong with him, too.

  • MH

    Hmm, first he states that apatheists are harder to reach than atheists, then he goes on about the angry atheists. It stands to reason that someone who is apathetic might be easier to reach than someone who is angry. So he refutes himself.

    There’s also the ad hominem nature of his argument. So what if the atheists are angry and had bad relationships with their fathers. They could still be correct about the non-existence of God.

  • Reginald Selkirk

    Paul Vitz, who is an author with New York University, wrote a very fascinating book called Faith Of The Fathers, in which he went and studied the 72 most well-known atheists in history, …, and the only thing he could find in common with every one of them is they all hated their dads.

    I had a decent relationship with my dad. But I think I see the distinction: I’m not famous.

    —————
    On a tangent, let’s check out The Paul C. Vitz Resource Center For Christianity and Psychology, And Related Subjects

    Publication titles mentioned:
    Sigmund Freud’s Christian Unconscious.
    The Father Almighty, Maker of Male & Female
    Support from Psychology for the Fatherhood of God, Homiletic and Pastoral Review

    I have to say, judging the books from their titles (!) that this doesn’t sound like objective, academic work. It sounds like apologetics.

    This seems to be the book mentioned:
    Faith of the Fatherless: The Psychology of Atheism
    Paul C. Vitz, Spence Publishing Company, 1st edition (December 23, 2009), ISBN-13: 978-1890626259

    Time warp!

    From an editorial review at Amazon:

    Vitz (psychology, New York U.), an atheist himself until his 30s…

    Ri-i-i-ight. Yet another apologist who claims to be a former atheist.

  • SarahH

    The myth that Hitler was some sort of rabid atheistic, godless killing machine was kind of a natural product of no religious group wanting to claim him. He left enough wiggle-room so that Catholics/Christians can say he wasn’t one of them (or at least, he couldn’t have *really* been one, he must have been faking it!) and atheism is an already misunderstood and stigmatized category that few people will defend.

    It’s actually a bit similar to the situation in Rome when Nero blamed the big fire on Christians, because they were a hated minority group and so it was easy to pawn off blame onto them.

    Nobody wants to be lumped in with someone who committed atrocities, whether those atrocities were related to the shared belief or not.

    Anyway, he was a vegetarian and a non-smoker for sure, and you don’t hear anybody bring that up like it somehow casts a horrible light on other vegetarians and non-smokers.

  • Luther Weeks

    I’ll have to call my son and see if he is angry at me. I doubt it.

    On the other hand since we are both atheist then wouldn’t he rather be religious if he hates me?

    And I always thought Alfred E. was atheist but I just can no longer square that with “What Me Worry?”.

  • http://religiouscomics.net Jeff

    I (an atheist) had a good relationship with my father (who is now deceased but was also an atheist).

    Rick simply unscientifically extrapolates from one or two anecdotal stories to a false generality. Kind of like extrapolating from one or two anecdotal stories in the bible to a whole supernatural framework explaining the known universe.

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  • llewelly

    Paul Vitz, who is an author with New York University, wrote a very fascinating book called Faith Of The Fathers, in which he went and studied the 72 most well-known atheists in history, the Bertrand Russells, the Voltaires, the Freuds, and the only thing he could find in common with every one of them is they all hated their dads. Every one of them.

    Vitz must have missed Asimov and Sagan, who expressed great affection for their fathers.

    But more importantly – abusive dads do not make Christianity true. Dobson has been trying that for years, and he still has not a shred of evidence that humans were the core focus of creation, that Jesus was resurrected, or any other testable tenet of Christian faith.

  • http://www.noonespecial.ca/cacophony Tao Jones

    I had a decent relationship with my dad. But I think I see the distinction: I’m not famous.

    lol. So by Warren’s logic, since I have a very poor relationship with my father, I must be famous!

    Actually I bet Warren is right. He’s probably never met an atheist who wasn’t angry. Considering Warren seems perfectly fine making biased and unfounded disparaging remarks about atheists, I wouldn’t be surprised if every one of us he meets looks at him like he’s an idiot. I know I’d have a hard time hiding my contempt. If injustice, prejudice and bigotry don’t make you angry, then I’d be concerned.

    It’s a bit like the Grand Wizard of the KKK doing a speech at the NAACP then calling black people angry. Too extreme an example? Okay, maybe.

  • http://anexerciseinfutility.blogspot.com Tommykey

    Granted, my father wasn’t the warmest person on the face of the Earth, but during my teenage years, my religious devotion actually increased. It was only when I hit college age that my faith waned and I eventually became an atheist. My father wasn’t a factor in my becoming an atheist at all.

  • http://www.winkledore.net/ Chicken Girl

    *facepalm*

    Paging Dr. Freud…

  • Siamang

    I don’t have a perfect relationship with my father. So that means I can’t debate Warren.

    Lucky for him. Of course, I’m not an angry atheist. I am a friendly atheist and an angry gay rights advocate.

    I also don’t like lying weasels much.

    This line struck me as funny:

    “RW: Well, first place, they’re making a ton of money, okay?”

    This line from one of the most successful religious writers of all time!

    That’s like Bill Gates saying about the guys who wrote Napster: “well, they’re making a lot of money…”

  • Matthew

    Arguments based on the supposed actions of certain believers and non-believers are emotional arguments, and can be boiled down to “I don’t like the actions of certain atheists/believers.” Or maybe “certain systems of belief are bad for society and/or immoral.” While these may be important issues, they don’t count as evidence against atheism or theism.

    Warren should attempt to give evidence for what he believes, not emotional arguments. If Hitler was an atheist, his atrocities do not show that atheism is false. And if Hitler believed in God, neither do his actions show that God does not exist.

  • Richard Wade

    Remember Samuel Johnson’s quote, “Patriotism is the last refuge of a soundrel.”? Rick Warren has now inspired several paraphrased versions:

    Psychoanalyzing is the last refuge of a fraud.

    Piety is the last refuge of a hypocrite.

    Revisionism is the last refuge of a liar.

    Rick Warren is the last refuge of… oh, fuck it.

  • Polly

    I love my father, you pompous ass!

  • John Morales

    Rick:

    Paul Vitz, who is an author with New York University, wrote a very fascinating book called Faith Of The Fathers, in which he went and studied the 72 most well-known atheists in history, the Bertrand Russells, the Voltaires, the Freuds, and the only thing he could find in common with every one of them is they all hated their dads. Every one of them.

    Hemant:

    To recap: Warren just said what all atheists have in common is a bad relationship with their father.

    It seems evident that Rick has been misrepresented in that Hemant quote.

    What he actually said is that Paul Vitz wrote that about the 72 most well-known atheists in history.

  • grazatt

    Remember Samuel Johnson’s quote, “Patriotism is the last refuge of a soundrel.”? Rick Warren has now inspired several paraphrased versions:

    Psychoanalyzing is the last refuge of a fraud.

    Piety is the last refuge of a hypocrite.

    Revisionism is the last refuge of a liar.

    Rick Warren is the last refuge of… oh, fuck it.

    I have an even better one Rick is a Dick

  • http://gaytheistagenda.lavenderliberal.com/ Buffy

    RW: Well, first place, they’re making a ton of money, okay?

    Like he’s a pauper with his books and mega church…..

    To recap: Warren just said what all atheists have in common is a bad relationship with their father.

    I thought that was what “turned” people gay. Gee, I’m so confused now.

    BTW, I have a great relationship with my dad and I’m both lesbian and atheist. Warren and his friends obviously have air between their ears.

  • ShavenYak

    Why millions of Christians look up to Rick Warren, I don’t know. He peddles ignorance and spreads lies.

    I think you answered your own question.

  • Reginald Selkirk

    … in which he went and studied the 72 most well-known atheists in history, the Bertrand Russells, the Voltaires

    Another lie from Pastor Rick. Voltaire was anti-clerical, but I believe he was a deist rather than an outright atheist. You can read the details on Wikipedia. I don’t know if this is Warren’s own lie, or if Vitz made the same mistake.

  • Spurs Fan

    Rick:

    Paul Vitz, who is an author with New York University, wrote a very fascinating book called Faith Of The Fathers, in which he went and studied the 72 most well-known atheists in history, the Bertrand Russells, the Voltaires, the Freuds, and the only thing he could find in common with every one of them is they all hated their dads. Every one of them.

    Hemant:

    To recap: Warren just said what all atheists have in common is a bad relationship with their father.

    It seems evident that Rick has been misrepresented in that Hemant quote.

    What he actually said is that Paul Vitz wrote that about the 72 most well-known atheists in history.

    John,

    This is trite at best. Hemant’s “inaccuracy” could be solved by substituting “strongly implied” instead of “said”. Does that change the meaning? No way. Any logical person could deduce from Warren’s statements that he believes all Atheists (“every one of them”) share this trait.

    If you want to be nitpicky about this, how abut the countless people who say, “Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life, no one comes to the Father except through me’”. Using the same logic all of these people are misrepresenting what Jesus’ said. They should say, “John wrote that Jesus said…..”

  • http://omega-geek.blogspot.com Spook

    Maybe if Rick Warren could pull his head out of his saddlebacking ass for a few minutes, he might realize that some of us are angry at ignorant pricks like himself who continue to slander anyone who isn’t offering sacrifices to his stone idol.

    *Sigh*

    Not what I need to read in the morning after being up for entirely too long.

  • Siamang

    What’s amusing is that Pastor Saddleback Rick finds himself in a hole of his own making, and just keeps digging.

    Anything he says now either pisses off the general public OR his Church constituency. His method of saying different things to different people may fly with the softballer power-enablers like Larry King, but in this era of You-tube and Comedy Central, you can’t run away from past clips.

    This method worked for Saddleback Rick while he stuck either to empty platitudes while speaking publicly, bible quotes or generally uncontroversial stuff like “love thy neighbor”.

    It does not work for him when talking about concrete issues like whose family gets to be a family under California state law.

  • Polly

    I thought that was what “turned” people gay. Gee, I’m so confused now.

    HA! That was my very first thought. I wondered if he was getting his apologetics talking points mixed up.

  • Rachel

    Siamang says:

    This line from one of the most successful religious writers of all time!

    Enthusiastically seconded. It wasn’t TOO long ago that I was something of an ardent Christian myself. I remember Warren’s The Purpose-Driven Life being mega-hit in Christian (and many non-Christian) circles.

    The book’s own website boasts it has sold over 25 million copies, and is “the best-selling hardback book in American history, according to Publisher’s Weekly.” Daily Kos points out that at a standard 15% royalty rate, Warren has made nearly 120 million dollars from the sales of books he has authored. Even giving 90% of that to charity, he’s left with a mere 12 million dollars or so.

    This dude’s rollin’ in money, yes has the gall to say that the new atheists are making such massive bank on their books.

    How well are atheist books selling? Ask Hemant. Even if you take the considerably more generous estimate of 1.5 million copies of The God Delusion from Wikipedia, that’s about 6% of Warren’s sales for Purpose-Driven Life. And I don’t even need to mention how many books he’s sold overall (::cough:: 40 MILLION, with an M ::coughcough::)

  • http://conversationalatheist.com/ Conversational Atheist

    Good lord. Rick sounds like the freshly quoted German Bishop Mixa who said atheism caused Nazism. I wrote a quick entry about a complete change of tactics that we atheists should use in repeatedly confronting these ridiculous claims.
    Let me know what you think of it if you get a chance: How atheists should respond to claim atheism caused Nazism

  • Brooks

    I don’t get it. How is that when Jesus says he’s the truth that forces people to make a decision but it doesn’t for Muhammad when he says the same thing? And didn’t Muhammad come after Jesus? Besides, I thought Christians said we had this freewill thing? How can you have that if Jesus is forcing you to make a decision? By saying Jesus is forcing us to decide, isn’t Warren admitting we have no choice? And I thought people became gay from having bad relationships with fathers and overbearing mothers? I wish these fundies would make up their minds. If our bad fathers are responsible for making us atheists, then doesn’t that mean that belief is not a choice and that we don’t have freewill, so how can we be held responsible for being atheists? And why do people keep blaming atheism as being responsible for Hitler and Stalin? That’s like saying since there are dictators who don’t believe in fairies then not believing in fairies will make you a dictator, so you’d better believe in fairies.

    And I don’t see why Christians think it’s very flattering to their religion for them to basically resort to saying “you’re no better than us” as an excuse. Surely the holier than thou righteous Christians can do better than that if they really have a monopoly on morality? And I agree that Warren saying he’s never met an atheist who wasn’t angry is like a racist person saying that they’ve never met a black person who wasn’t angry. Gee, I wonder why.

  • JimboB

    There’s another book with the same kooky logic as “Faith of the Fatherless” called “The Atheist Syndrome”. The author tries to link atheism with bad daddy relationships and bed-wetting, etc.

    Try not to let your head asplode.

  • Reginald Selkirk

    Warren is not alone in the “Hitler = atheist” lie.

    German bishop: Atheism responsible for Nazis and mass murder

  • Reginald Selkirk

    Odd that this person in Indonesia is citing the same book Warren does, which will not be officially published for another 8 months.

    Letters: Stop comparing religions to atheism!

    In Faith of the Fatherless, the author suggests Atheist philosophers have unpleasant family lives, especially in relation to the absence of their father figure. Believers on the other hand often received massive religious indoctrination from their parents at a time when they needed attention on other things.

    Hikmawan Saefullah
    Jakarta

  • Reginald Selkirk

    Michael Coren* repeats the Hitler lie

    (* don’t worry, I’ve never heard of him either)

  • http://peacefulatheist.wordpress.com Lily

    I can’t believe I used to actually look up to Rick Warren when I was a Christian. Was he always this nutty, or does he just disguise it well among his own flock?

    On that book, which I believe is called “Faith of the Fatherless”: I do happen to be estranged from my father, who is a jerk (to put it mildly). Less than one week after I came out as an atheist to my Christian college friend and roommate, that book showed up on our kitchen table, where it stared me in the face for weeks. Without a word from her. I don’t know which is more insulting, that action or Rick Warren’s vomit.

  • http://peacefulatheist.wordpress.com Lily

    Paul Vitz, who is an author with New York University, wrote a very fascinating book called Faith Of The Fathers, in which he went and studied the 72 most well-known atheists in history, the Bertrand Russells, the Voltaires, the Freuds, and the only thing he could find in common with every one of them is they all hated their dads. Every one of them. They had distant dad, demeaning dad, a dead dad, they had no relationships with their fathers.

    By the way, I did happen to read that book while it was on my kitchen table (supposedly trying to convince me of something?). It only profiles white men. I know, it must be ridiculous of me to even mention, because we all know that whatever is true of white males is true of everyone.

  • Siamang

    You know, it struck me in Warren’s quote that there is a hidden assumption that all atheists are men. He doesn’t say it… but it feels like he’s making that assumption.

  • Richard Wade

    Siamang, I noticed that subtle male-only feeling too.

  • trg

    Paul Vitz, who is an author with New York University, wrote a very fascinating book called Faith Of The Fathers, in which he went and studied the 72 most well-known atheists in history, the Bertrand Russells, the Voltaires, the Freuds, and the only thing he could find in common with every one of them is they all hated their dads. Every one of them. They had distant dad, demeaning dad, a dead dad, they had no relationships with their fathers.

    Nothing like an apologist using a classic antireligious argument to attack atheism without actually understanding any of it :-)

    This one actually comes from Freud. Children revere their fathers, they see them as benevolent and omnipotent beings. When they grow up and realize their fathers are neither all-powerful nor perfect, they subconsciously displace those feelings to the imaginary figure that is helpfully provided to them by their christian cultural background. If you don’t have much connection with your dad (or don’t have one), this doesn’t work and you likely end up as non-religious. (Also if your father was strict, you will probably be a fundamentalist believing in a strict and punishing God, etc.). Makes a lot of sense (though, as with most of freudism, it is difficult to verify – you can alway find some reason why the guy you know to be atheist had a weak connection to his father and vice versa, so it’s easy to conform the facts to your expectations), but bringig up the effects of childhood impressions on our image of God as an argument against atheism requires an impressive lack of insight.

  • http://www.BlueNine.info Blue Nine

    I do not speak to my father. Basically because he is a drunk. But my hard-core Catholic brother does not speak to him much either. I do not know whether this is my brother’s decision or my father’s decision.

    I also know a few guys who are Christians who do not have good relationships with their fathers. In some cases their entire families. (Or would Rick Warren say they are not “real Christians”?)

  • DeafAtheist

    Did that pompous idiotic tool just lump us in with Communists and Hitler? Apparently Rick hasn’t picked up a book that wasn’t written by a Christian apologist in his lifetime otherwise he’d know that first of all Hitler was a devout CATHOLIC who had the support of the Catholic church. And Communist atrocities were politically motivated, not motivated by atheism.

    As for atheists having daddy issues, well I don’t have a father. I’ve never met my father and never even seen a photo of him. I don’t know the man so I certainly don’t have any issues with him. I’m not mad at him or hate him. In fact I’m not surprised he didn’t stick around because my mom is about the most high maintenance and selfish woman I know who takes advantage of anyone and everyone she can. Her boyfriends are generally tools or alcoholic losers.

  • Twin-Skies

    I get along quite well with my father, Mr. Warren.

    And btw, it wasn’t him who started me on my path of unbelief. It was mostly because of the Jesuits at my High School and University. No I didn’t hate them.

    In fact, I have the utmost respect for them for their tireless efforts in promoting free thought and a critical, unflinching analysis of the RCC.

  • Reginald Selkirk

    I looked around more on Amazon. I was confused that the “first edition” of Vitz’s book was listed as December 2009, and yet it seems to have made the rounds. The December 2009 date is from the paperback, and an earlier hardcover edition came out in 1999. I am looking at the Table of Contents on Amazon. Vitz does indeed include the Deist Voltaire in his list of atheists. He also include Adolf Hitler. This does not encourage confidence in his scholarship.

  • http://www.examiner.com/x-4275-DC-Secularism-Examiner Paul Fidalgo

    For the record: My dad and I get on quite well, thank you.

  • Aquaria

    I have no idea what my real father’s take on religion was. I had no relationship with him.

    I did have strong relationship with my grandfather, who was an apatheist, and with my stepfather, who was an open atheist. Papaw was the father of my early childhood. He died, and right before my mother remarried. My stepdad was the father after that, and we had a relationship that could only be described as terrific, everything a father-daughter relationship is supposed to be.

    Both men taught me basic decency and never to be afraid or ashamed of who I was,

    I loved them both, so much, and it is insulting to all of us, and the memories of these tremendous people, to imply what Warren has.

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  • http://www.agnostic-library.com/ma/ PsiCop

    Gee, if making money selling books invalidates one’s message, then Warren just disqualified himself … seen as how he’s the author of the “Purpose-Driven” publishing empire!

  • Ghitza

    Hitler was NOT a Christian by any stretch of the imagination. I don’t think he was an atheist either.

    On your quote:
    The whole argument about Mao and Stalin has been debunked repeatedly. While they may have been atheists, they didn’t kill in the “name of atheism.”

    I think that is overreaching. The argument has been debunked. Why? Because Dawkins said so?

    How do you kill in the name of atheism? I do not think that anybody argues that they killed in the name of atheism, but it proves beyond doubt that an atheist (one who does not believe that they will ever be held accountable for their deeds and has the power) is very capable of doing terrible things (he does not have to be ‘religiously’ motivated).

    To put it in a different way: even Osama has a limit (I hear that an imam gave him a high bound of 25 million people to kill) on how many he can kill. An atheist has no bounds except the ones that HE chooses to set for himself, since he has no higher power to limit him.

    Am I saying that all atheists are bad and they are prone to do terrible things? Certainly NOT. All I am saying is that the atheist century has produced many many more atrocities that all the Christian ones combined.

    It is a sign of maturity if you face this fact.

    P.S. The point with the fathers is certainly an interesting one. How are you getting along with your fathers? I think it would be interesting to take a poll on this atheistic site. Maybe you will prove or disprove RW.

  • http://irresistibledisgrace.wordpress.com Andrew S.

    –well, by the stretch that Hitler was raised a Roman Catholic, that would make him Christian. But this nominal Christianity means nothing, I agree. It doesn’t make him a representative of Christianity, theism, or atheism, really. And in fact, this is my point.

    Osama Bin Laden, believe it or not, does not have a limit on how many he can kill. Rather, he has no bounds except the ones that HE chooses to set for himself, since regardless of if there is a higher power or not, individuals must make choices as an individual. The bounds that he chooses are a radical, radical form of Islam. This doesn’t mean that Allah actually sets a kill limit of 25 million or that an Islam sets a kill limit of 25 million. Rather, it is all up to people who will devise ways to kill each other over the silliest things. It isn’t that theists have higher powers to limit them and atheists don’t. It’s that theists and atheist both have free will (or at least, an illusion of it) and the potential to use these free wills in rather perverse ways. God, if he exists, is rather inconsequential, because humans will act regardless and God seems to do very little either way.

    So, it makes no sense to call a century an “atheist” century or a “Christian” century. What MIGHT make sense is to say that current years have featured more wherewithal to kill more people (e.g., the most recent century has had the most advanced kinds of bombs, etc., etc.,) but that throughout all of history, there have been people of all stripes who have been willing to use whatever the technology du jour to kill. Don’t ignore plausible explanations for pet hypotheses that conveniently serve your position.

    So, it is not a sign of maturity to mislabel and confuse the issue. That is a sign of ignorance.

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  • Bryan

    Hahahaaa…

    I just had a thought. It may be that first-generation atheist have troubles with their parents – but I can guess why: faithful dad disapproves of kid’s new reason.

    Additionally, I don’t think the correlation holds up well; I loved my dad – but then, he was an atheist, too.

    Moreover, I think that the alienated father is a symptom of any religious conversion – even deconversion.

  • kacee

    wow, sounds like you all had alot of christian family members that loved and respected your points of view even thought it was vastly different from what they believed and kind of spits in the face of everything that is the core of their faith- what a huge act of grace and love-


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