Originally posted by Serendipity
No offence, but this has been covered to death, from Freud and his notion of patriarchal religions portraying god as a father figure to replace the biological father that you outgrow - through maturity - as seeing as all powerful to Foucault and his concept of religion as 'Regime of Truth'...
You may talk about the psychology of people who are religious, however, I found a web site that talks about the psychology of atheism.
It is interesting that Freud himself observed that young people tend to lose their religious faith as soon as they lose the authority of their earthly fathers. He noted that this can happen in several ways.
1. The father is present, but he is weak, cowardly, unworthy of respect.
2. The father is present, but is physically, or psychologically or sexually abusive.
3. The father is absent, whether through death or abandonment.
I think what Freud had unwittingly done was to reveal the pschology of an atheist. Freud's own father was perceived by Freud to be weak and cowardly. His father was unable to provide for his family and passive in the face of anti-semitic persecution.
What of some other atheists such as Thomas Hobbes, Ludwig von Feuerbach, Schopenhauer, Nietsche, Camus, Hume, and our contemporary Madeleine O'Hare?
Thomas Hobbes had a father who was an Anglican clergyman, but abandon his family.
Ludwig von Feuerbach had a father who left his family for another married woman who lived in the same town.
Schopenhauer was rejected by his mother, and his father committed suicide when he was 16.
Nietsche's father died when he was four. Camus and Humes also lost their father's in early childhood.
Madeleine O'Hare also had an unhappy family life. She often fought with her father and on one occasion tried to kill him with a butcher's knife.
Some other more superficial factors that may cause someone turning to atheism include:
1. The belief that atheism is realistic, whereas faith is wishful thinking.
2. Persoanl motives
a) The desire for the sophistication of the secular urbanite; embarassment over one's provincial background.
b) The disire for acceptance. Peer pressure
c) Personal convenience. It is inconvenient to be a believer in a modern secular society. It involves the renunciation of sexual pleasures and the necessity of committing time and money. We are reluctant to make radical changes in our lifestyles.