Sunday, February 19, 2012

Living in glass houses

Dr. Avalos: You neglect to point out that Vitz' book is a response to decades of similiar, and less nuanced, psychological critiques of theism by atheists.  Nor, I think, is Vitz attempting merely to "distract attention" -- he's a psychologist, why shouldn't he study psychology?  I think he's probablyy onto something, in the case of Freud -- who can hardly complain -- even if his overall claim seems only occasionally explanatory, as I admitted in my Amazon review years ago.

Dr. Avalos: You have this habit of replying to Christians, without putting what you're responding to in the context of attacks on them, which exhibit the faults you allege of the Christians far more strongly.  We've seen this again and again.  It is not what I would call the best scholarship, which sets critiques in fair context, and criticizes both sides by the same standards.  It's like blaming an aged widow for hitting a man in a park with her purse, without mentioning that he was trying to mug her.  

Vitz makes the reactionary and limited character of his argument clear: "There seems to be a widespread assumption, throughout much of our intellectual community, that belief in God is based on all kinds of irrational, immature needs and wishes . . . To challenge the psychology of this viewpoint is the primary concen of this book." (Faith of the Fatherless, 1999, Preface, xiv)  Seems fair to me.

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