A delusion is a belief that is clearly false and that indicates an abnormality in the affected person's content of thought. The false belief is not accounted for by the person's cultural or religious background or his or her level of intelligence. The key feature of a delusion is the degree to which the person is convinced that the belief is true. A person with a delusion will hold firmly to the belief regardless of evidence to the contrary. http://www.minddisorders.com/Br-Del/Delusions.html
Religion is an illusion and it derives its strength from the fact that it falls in with our instinctual desires.
When people think about the accusation that religious beliefs are a delusion they immediately think about Richard Dawkins because of his book 'The God Delusion', but the reality is that for many years psychiatrists and psychologists have been studying this phenomenon and have come to similar conclusions. Above is an article that tries to explain the various types of delusions and are not specifically tied to religious and or cultural beliefs, but it makes a strong emphasis on the delusion being based on how strongly a person may hold to an unreasonable belief despite the evidence to the contrary. This is relative to my blog and I would personally although I am not an expert in the field of psychology or psychiatry like to state that a lot of the symptoms that have been attributed to mental disorders such as schizophrenia and other delusions are relative to those seen in most religious believers.
Christians for instance hold to the belief that a man who died a little over two thousand years ago, and according to their legends rose from the dead and dwelt on earth for another forty days before he miraculously floated up into the heavens and disappeared into the clouds; will one day make his triumphant return to earth to claim his chosen people and take them to his heavenly realm to live with him forever and ever. Looking at this belief from the perspective of logical reasoning it is very hard not to conclude that this belief is in and of itself a delusion. The first thing we know for sure is that death is imminent and all living things to our knowledge decay and die with the passage of time, this being the case it would be unreasonable to believe that anyone who has been dead for more than two thousand years will come back to life or in the case of Jesus return in a new and glorified body.
The second problem I see with this belief is that according to the known laws of gravity the whole idea of man flying or floating with no means of propulsion or machinery is utterly impossible. The only place we see men fly is in comic books and movies and made up stories of gods and goddesses who have control over all of the forces of nature etc. Another problem is that when Jesus floated up into the clouds and broke through the earths atmosphere at a snails pace which is impossible how was he able to breath at such high altitudes and then to continue to live at virtually zero gravity when he entered into outer space? I know, christians will all say that since he created heaven and Earth that he can break all the known laws of nature. But in order to accept this belief you would have to subscribe to yet another delusion and that is that there is a God or supreme being somewhere above us who watches everything and is in control of everything all at once.
It is interesting but I also found a study online conducted by psychiatrists regarding the use of religious beliefs as a coping mechanism, it is very interesting and at the same time not very hard to verify. Many have accused believers as using religion as a crutch to deal with the many hardships of life and the reality and harshness of this world we live in. This study concludes that this may be the case and others have made the tie into religious beliefs and schizophrenia: for those interested in digging into this topic a little deeper feel free to read the study at http://psychservices.psychiatryonline.org/cgi/content/full/52/5/660
When you remove yourself from the delusion as I and many others have done and you can look at it from the perspective of an outsider looking in, you can see the obvious: that religious beliefs are nothing more than wishful thinking based on mans desires that have been transferred into the realm of myths. When you can see religion for what it is; a lie then you can start to free yourself from the shackles of this age old delusion and live free and without fear.