Friday, July 16, 2010

Relgious Delusions

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.

Religion is an illusion and it derives its strength from the fact that it falls in with our instinctual desires.
Sigmund Freud

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

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.


  1. We all have our crutches. Some, for instance, have a desperate desire to perceive of themselves as being some kind of Nietzschean superman who faces nobly into the pitiless indifference of a merciless universe and meets it with gladiatorial dignity. I can certainly see how such a self-image would work as a prop, delusional as it may be. For myself, I'll stick with the God thing until somebody can definitively prove He doesn't exist. I don't wish to sound contemptuous, but as I look at the New Atheists, I see a bunch of people on the deck of the Titanic who are not even willing to try saving themselves, but who have the gall to sit sniping at those of us who are.

  2. I would agree I think I'll stick with the whole God thing. I love how Atheists use the whole God is a crutch thing as an argument against God. I guess they think that if they don't believe in God it makes them more self reliant, but I looked honestly in their lives the would have replaced God with something else as crutch. lots of atheist I know use acholol or are co dependent, or they become addicted to work, or porn as means to get through the suffering in their life. These are as those are their crutches. Man its not fair to say Christians use God as Crutch.Atheists use other things as crutches too. If you're going to accuse us of doing something, make sure you're not either.

  3. People who "stick with the god thing" are delusional.

  4. @anonymous you will be waiting a long time for someone to prove to you that your god or any god for that matter does not exist. Honestly it is not our job to prove it or disprove it but rather yours since you are the one making absolute claims based on false assertions. Dan, what can I say? You seem to have a good head on your shoulders, but stating that we atheist use this as an argument for the non-existence of god is a false assertion.

    There is not a single argument that can disprove the existence of god but rather it is the collective evidence that weighs heavily against the assertion that god exists. Evolution through the process of natural selection is far more likely than some invisible being in the sky, outside of space and time etc. creating Earth and everything in it ex nihilo.

    The fact that many life forms have gone extinct due to failure to adapt is a testament to the veracity of the theory of evolution.

  5. A god is man's best answer he can come up with to explain all the things unknown to him.

    To simply say it is a god, does not go far enough to explain all the things unknown to man.

    There could be a creator of some type of the universe, but we can only examine what our minds will allow us to imagine from our position on this earth, because we do not have the ability to explore all of the universe because we are currently bound to this earth and the moon because we can only travel so far before we die.

    Space is so vast that we do not have the ability to travel far away from earth, therefore we can only speculate a creator god from our minute minds.

    Speculation and faith does not prove the existence for a creator.

  6. Chatpilot, you seem to be assuming I don't believe in the fact of evolution. I do, but the "collective evidence" does not convince me of the non-existence of God; it convinces me of the fact of evolution. As to making absolute claims, the only absolute claim I make is that the evidence you cited in your article regarding the reasons why people believe in God is wholly circular - it holds ONLY if God does not exist. Since that is the axiom from which the New Atheists begin, it is acceptable to their prejudices; it is not acceptable to mine, since my initial axiom is completely different. The point is that both of us are starting from axioms, and as I'm sure you're aware, an axiom can neither be proved nor disproved. That being the case, I'll stick with my axiom since it offers me a view of the universe which is much more attractive to my preferences - just as yours does to you. At least admit that much.

  7. Anonymous, depending on what brand of christianity you subscribe to liberal, fundamentalist, etc. It would be hard to reconcile your bibles explanation of creation with evolution. The only assumption I can make is that since you accept evolution as fact you must not be a fundamentalist christian.

    Fundies claim that the bible is inerrant and is the absolute truth, regardless of the evidence to the contrary. My question to you anonymous is where do you get your concept of God from? In other words if there were no bibles or holy scriptures of any kind do you think that you would still hold a concept of God?

  8. Chatpilot, I don't have a 'concept of God' beyond the axioms that a) He is there and b) He's aware of me. I don't receive messages via a piller of smoke, angels don't visit me and I've never held a conversation with a burning bush. I don't see or hear anything that you don't see or hear; I simply interpret what I do see and hear differnently, and until I see proof positive that God doesn't exist, I'll go along with the assumption that He does. This is what faith is about: it isn't just a belief in His omniscience, it's a belief in your own limitations, and just because I can't see or hear Him doesn't mean He's not there. Have a little humility.

    As to what kind of concept I would hold if the scriptures didn't exist, I presume your question is based on the Dawkinsian idea of the meme, the notion that certain ideas replicate themselves across populations in the same way that a virus does. I will refrain from pointing out that the meme scenario may apply just as easily to atheism as belief, or from asking why you assume that you, as an atheist, are not subject to said virus. I will also refrain from noting that nobody has ever seen a meme, or from asking why atheists, who generally make a piety of their beliefs being evidence based, are prepared to accept the meme without evidence and based only on the fact that should it exist it would explain belief in God without the neccesity of God actually existing. Instead, I will confine myself to answering your question in the way that Richard Dawkins might were he a believer, should such an appalling vista be imagined: the answer is, I haven't the first idea. It is a FACT that the scriptures DO exist; this is the truth of where we are and we must go from there, not some putative state of theological vaccuum.

  9. "I don't have a 'concept of God' beyond the axioms that a) He is there and b) He's aware of me."

    Anonymous, that is the most unsubstantiated claim I have heard to date. You said I should "Have a little humility". There is nothing humble about being intellectually dishonest with oneself by upholding a belief based on faith and not requiring evidence for that belief. Nobody has ever seen an idea but that does not take away from the fact that ideas exist this is in response to your inappropriate comparison with memes.

    The scriptures exist but how do you determine which one of them is the truth? If you were born in Iraq maybe the Koran is the word of God or if you were born in Israel the Torah would be your book of choice. Or if in Egypt you would subscribe to the Book of the dead.

    Faith in and of itself when it comes to religious matters is not even a real means of discovery it is rather a surrender of your ability to think critically and use your reason.

  10. Hi Chatpilot,

    I was wondering when you'd get around to claiming the monopoly on thought and reason to yourself. I'll give you credit: you managed to restrain yourself for a few posts before you started chucking around trigger words like 'intellectual dishonesty' and 'ability to think critically'. I understand how seductive it is to consider yourself an intellectual, and - like the old Communism which hoiked people in by letting them use insider terms like 'bourgeois' and 'dialectic' - the New Atheism bases its jargon on science, which appears to give it a credibility which genuine critical thought would see through in a moment. Thus, for example, psychology and sociology - which are not always accepted as 'real' science and which are endlessly arguable - suddenly become hard and incontravertable once the pre-fix 'evolutionary' is placed before them. Why? Because, like the articles cited in your opening, they suddenly confirm your particular prejudice. This is what I mean when I urge you to have a little humility; being an atheist is as viceral as being a believer, and you're no wiser having become one than you were before. You just like to think you are.

  11. I honestly don't consider myself an intellectual anonymous. I don't think it takes a genius to see through the transparency of religious beliefs. Anyone who is not bogged down by dogma or indoctrinated beyond reason could see how false such beliefs are.

    The very idea of someone coming back from the dead after having been in the grave for 3 days is utterly ridiculous. What is even more ridiculous is the idea that that same individual is coming back!

  12. Either way
    Chatpiliot you have to admit the whole God as crutch argument is weak when humans seek other venues to deal with the stress in their lives. I don't think their such thing as self reliant person. We all have SOMETHING we use a crutch to get by; relationships, people, work, beer, movies, sleep, food, porn, all these things people use a "crutch" or a means to get by in their lives