I read a book about a month ago called "The Atheist Syndrome"...it basically talks about the life and childhood of many of what would be considered some of the major promoters of sorts of atheism...Charles Darwin, Friedrich Nitschze (sp?), Howard (or is it Henry? I forget) Huxley, and Sigmund Freud.
Please do not take this as a generalization, but take it for what it is; an interesting fact. All four of these people had what could easily be called "unhealthy" childhoods...all problems with their fathers. They also suffered from a terrible decline of mental (and sometime otherwise) health later in their life.
I'm sure I'm not the only one who sees a link between them hating their father...as we know Jesus is supposedly our ultimate father. In Darwin's case it was quite direct; his father went to extremes to punish him physically...usually telling him that it was in the name of God...
All of them also wrote that they felt better during times in their life where they were away from their father and/or family. In addition, 3 (might be all 4, I don't recall perfectly) of them reported feeling fantastic when writing anti-religious documents...
I will concede that the author of this book goes "fishing" a little much...a couple times looking for pyschological links that I do not think exist...but overall I don't think we can deny that these links betwen these people definetly mean something.
All in all I'm simply mentioning this as an interesting link between 4 very famous people...more than a coincidence I think. I am not trying to start a heated debate.
I do hope, however, to have an enlightening conversation on the subject.
[Edited by TWTCommish on 09-07-2000 at 04:45 PM]