For part 1 of this two-part series, go here.
From a psychological perspective, Spiegel argues that broken/absent father relationships can be a contributing factor in a persons’ rejection of God’s existence. He bases this, in part, from Sigmund Freud’s own psychological analysis that belief in God is a projection of one’s desire for a cosmic version of their earthly father, and, in part, from the research of ex-atheist Paul C. Vitz published in Faith of the Fatherless. Spiegel argues that just as a good relationship with one’s father may contribute to belief in a Cosmic Father, likewise, the lack of a relationship, or a bad relationship with one’s father may contribute to one’s disbelief in a Cosmic Father. Spiegel cites David Hume, Arthur Schopenhauer, Friedrich Nietzsche, Bertrand Russell, Jean-Paul Sartre, and Albert Camus as examples of atheists who experienced the death of their father at a young age. He also cites Thomas Hobbes, Voltaire, Ludwig Feuerback, Samuel Butler, Sigmund Freud, H. G. Wells, Madalyn Murray O’Hair, and Albert Ellis as examples of atheist who had a weak or abusive father (abandonment, neglect, bitter relationship). Contrast these individuals to well-known theists who had good relationships with their father: Blaise Pascal, George Berkeley, Joseph Butler, Thomas Reid, Edmund Burke, William Paley, William Wilberforce, Friedrich Schleiermacher, John Henry Newman, Alexis de Tocqueville, Soren Kierkegaard, G. K. Chesterton, Albert Schweitzer, Martin Buber, Karl Barth, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and Abraham Heschel.