Monday, January 19, 2009

The Psychology of Atheism by Paul Vitz MP3 Audio

Psychologist Paul Vitz presents a lecture on the psychology of atheism. Vitz lost his faith and became an atheist. Later he returned to Christianity. He explores the psychological reasons for belief and unbelief. A good lecture for the theist and the atheist.

Full MP3 Audio Here.

Original media found here.



Aaron said...

If your blog readers like the mp3 they might also like Paul Vitz's book, "Faith of the Fatherless: The Psychology of Atheism." The book was a little bit harder to get a hold of but or might have it.

Brian said...

Thanks, Aaron.
I concur!

Lee said...

he he... the wife was trying to find me a psychology book on belief (I think she believes I'm mental or something) anyway, this lecture came up in the search.

Funny old world

Downloading now of course.


Andrew said...

Hitler was not an atheist. He was a Christian. I'm not using it as a knock against Christianity at all. There was just a point in the interview where he labeled some morally reprehensible people as Atheists and it's not true.

Brian said...

Andrew, thanks for taking the time to comment.
I will also recommend a link, as many people like to claim that because of things that Hitler said it makes him a Christian.

I would suggest looking at the article here. See if it answers your suggestion that Hitler was a Christian.

Lee said...

Hi Brian,

A few questions (not got time to read the link yet)

One. Do you think Hitler was an atheist? To me he really did speak as a believer in God (or used it to his advantage)

Two. Were most of the Nazi party/SS Christian or athiest in your opinion.

Again, I thought the evidence was that they were Christian.

Three. Does it matter - the guy was clearly a nutter.



Brian said...

Hey there Lee!

Good questions.

Although he spoke of God (as noted in the link I provided), he also spoke against Christianity (as noted in the link). I personally don't think that just because someone talks or uses religious words then they are a Christian. I would think it more plausible that he used religious language for political ends, which is not uncommon even today.

Hitler was clearly a wicked person -- a "nutter," as you put it : ) -- and to me this speaks to me that, at minimum he was not a Christian. Indeed, Jesus said that "by their fruits you will know them," and, "not all who call me Lord will enter the Kingdom of Heaven." It could be that someone could profess to be anything - but I don't think profession is proves much.

So I think he could have called himself religious, or used "God-talk," but I certainly don't see good evidence to say he was a Christian. I don't know about the soldiers who did atrocities. I don't know what evidence could be marshaled to say, "aha, they were all Christians doing atrocities!" in the same way that I think it would be foolish to say, "aha, here is the evidence that they were all atheists who did these atrocities."

Do I think Hitler was an atheist? I have no idea if he was or not. I have heard all kinds of things about what he was -- seems like everyone wants to make him something to bolster their position, eh? Some may want him to be a Christian to make Christianity look bad; some may want Hitler to be an atheist to make atheism look bad. I think a fair conclusion can be found at this link.

Lee said...

Hi Brian,

I think my question was whether you thought Hitler was an atheist, not whether he was a Christian.

My point is that Hitler spoke of God as if He was true, which might lead some to conclude that he wasn’t a very good atheist :-).

However, I also agree that Hitler might just have been a very clever politician and used anything and everything to get to his ends.

This should raise a question to you though why Hitler chose religion as his tool/method to control people’s minds and got them to do his dirty deeds?

We might not know what was going on in Hitler’s mind on his personal religious views – but it seems clear that religion was used as a means to an end.

The obvious example to this was how he focused on the Jews.

Another question that follows is why the Christian church in Germany was silent against Hitler when he was killing the Jews.

Makes you wonder which side of the fence they were on doesn’t it?

Moving on though, I suppose you would might at this point want to mention his use of eugenics – but I would point out it has nothing to do with atheism so lets forget it was ever mentioned :-)

“Science gone bad” perhaps, however who said science is a good place to get our morals? True, it explains how we got them, but science is descriptive, it tells us nothing how we should live our lives in any moral sense. Philosophy has a far better track record on that.

Now, onto the “Christian soldiers” of Nazi Germany…

My point here is that before Hitler came to power the vast majority of Germans claimed to be true Christians. This was still true at the end of the war, and even today.

Now, if you want to claim that only the non-Christians (or worse still atheists) got into the SS and did the dirty work, then I would like you to prove it.

The numbers are on my side that the majority of the German army were Christian, and this included the SS.

Of course, you might like to use the “No true Scotsman fallacy” and tell me that they were not ‘real Christians’.

Again, I only need to show that they did not look like atheists to me :-)

I don’t care if they were Pagan, Jew or Muslim – I am only arguing against the claim that it was atheism.

Should I will wait now I suppose for the “Stalin offensive”?

I will just say that humans can do very bad things and leave it at that. Having bad Christians, or bad atheists does not change the ‘truth’ about the existence of God (or not)

Take care.


Brian said...

I said that I don't know if he was an atheist. I have not been exposed to enough data. Perhaps he was just embracing Darwinism to its full.

Well we could always back the discussion up one step and ask why you think these atrocities were bad. Were these actions objectively wrong??

I think it is reasonable to say that there were probably Christians and atheists involved in doing bad things. But under atheism, how can you call it objectively wrong? If they thought it was right to do those things, then how can you say they were wrong? Under Christianity, then those things are objectively wrong. Whether or not the people doing those things were "true Christians" or not, we can say that there will be ultimate justice and right judgment. Under atheism, if you can "get away with it" in this life, you got away with it.

I will just say that humans can do very bad things and leave it at that. Having bad Christians, or bad atheists does not change the ‘truth’ about the existence of God (or not)

I agree. But how is it objectively wrong under atheism? It seems to me that the best the atheist can say is, "I really didn't like that because..."

Lee said...

Hi Brian,

Are we back onto morals?

Fine with me, but I am out of time tonight.

Firstly, I do not say there are absolute morals, so I do not say (cannot say) that anything is absolutely wrong.

I just know what I would like to happen to me, and going to the gas chamber isn’t my idea of a holiday

See ya


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