Chesterton Knew The Importance of Ecumenical Dialogue

Chesterton Knew The Importance of Ecumenical Dialogue

Friday, 11 February 2022

A Dishonest Atheist? Heaven Forbid.

Paul Vitz author of Faith of the Fatherless, a Psychology of Atheism, tells a very interesting story in his book.

 Some years ago, at a conference in Dallas, Ellis and I spoke one after the other. Ellis spoke as an atheist psychologist and I as a theistic psychologist. Each talk lasted about forty minutes, and since we both sat on the dais, we heard each others papers. Ellis heard a short form of the thesis of this book. After the session was over, he told me as we walked out together that the thesis did not apply to him since he had a good relationship with his father. I replied that a psychological hypothesis is fortunate to be valid in even 50 to 60% of the cases.

Back in New York City, I sent a copy of my talk to a friend who is a book editor, Dr. George Zimmar, who was at the time working for the Praeger Publishing Company. A few weeks later, he phoned to tell me that he had read the paper and, incidentally, thought it was helpful for understanding Albert Ellis. I was quite taken aback and told Zimmar that Ellis had personally denied the relevance of my thesis to his life. “Well,” my friend replied, “We are publishing his biography, and I was reading the page proofs last night; I think he fits your hypothesis.” Later, when the biography appeared, I read about Ellis’ childhood. The author, Daniel Weiner, describes Ellis as suffering from “Parental neglect and serious illness throughout his childhood.” 

This is taken from page 74 of Faith of the Fatherless. The whole book is well worth a read.

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