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Are Christians Delusional?


R. S. Martin
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But we all agree that Christians are brainwashed, right?

 

Isn't brainwashing making someone believe in something that isn't true (a delusion?) Hence, they are deluded. At least, the ones who literally believe in it and don't just go to church for the social life.

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If you want to give new definitions to the word I guess you have that prerogative.

 

See HuiDan's post above the post I'm responding to.

 

I said you were being condescending because you insinuated that those who saw things differently did so based on how seriously we had suffered in the past, or in other words, we disagree as an emotional response. In fact I disagree with your assessments purely on intellectual principle.

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I also believe that in most clinical settings the term "delusion" is by and large used only for those which really do interfere with everyday life. Since it is a term so steeped in psychology I'm going to go with that definition of it rather than a totally literal interpretation given by a dictionary.

 

I don't know about anyone else, but the facts that I find Darwinism and contemporary evolutionary theory a plausible and acceptable explanation of the nature of life on earth, and the fact that I don't believe in an invisible sky-daddy, and the fact that I don't accept JC as my personal lord and savior really affect my worldview and influence the decisions I make every day. I'm certain my whole life, my perspective on the workings of the universe, and the decisions I make would be completely different if followed any particular sect of xtianity.

For anyone who cares to see the world beyond the nose on their face, I'm sure their philosophical view on how the universe works affects their worldview, and as a consequence their very actions, provided they truly believe one way or the other and not just going through the motions to fit into some social circle.

 

Provided one doesn't have a profound neurophysiological disorder, what could interfere more

with one's everyday life than one's belief system on the very nature of the workings of the universe? Religion isn't like getting a tattoo or preferring white chocolate over dark, it's a complete belief system that is intended to govern one's decision making and behavior.

 

So, of course, I posit that religion does interfere with everyday life in a quite profound manner.

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Religion does interfere with daily life, though. What about all the pharmacists who refuse to dispense doctor-prescribed medications because of religious beliefs?

 

What about all the companies who discriminate against non-Christians, either subtly or actively?

 

What about a President who says things like Atheists are not Real True Americans ? What about having to use money that says "In God we trust" or schoolchildren saying a pledge on a daily basis that says "under God"?

 

What about world leaders starting wars because they thought God told them to, be it the Christian god or another one?

 

What about having to listen to popular music on the radio with references to the Christian god (for example, How Far is Heaven? that is frequently played on a lot of local stations?)

 

What about workplaces where people celebrate religious holidays and you are treated like dirt if you admit to not believing in the religious aspects?

 

What about banning/burning books because some churches don't approve of them?

 

What about going into stores at certain times of the year and being forced to listen to religious holiday music? Or your tax dollars going to religious funded organizations?

 

What about the United Nations passing a resolution that says you cannot be critical of a religion, even if your points are valid?

 

The truth is, it does interfere, more often than most people would like to admit.

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In their less lucid moments, Christians do tend to write off entire segments of humanity with such misapplication of terms as "Buddhists are deluded" or "Atheists are immoral." For us to say "Christians are delusional" seems to be following in the trends set by our religious forebears.
Not sure you caught my last post-- # 39 on page 2, but I would add that denying one's delusion by way of calling those who don't see what they see as real deluded themselves looks like a definite part of some delusion. The difference between us and them is, with regard to the issue of religion at least, is that we have the benefit of being on the outside, looking over it all, being able to determine that their beliefs, many of them, are seriously out of line with the apparent nature of reality. Look at the Joe Rogan clip I provided, what the man was saying was perfectly real to him, despite all the evidence Joe gave him, and which he likely had at his disposal beforehand-- which is by definition delusional. What he believed in was evidently false (It could actually be true, mind you, but it is currently evidently false), and he believed it anyway. This IS the case with many christians (not all, or most, as I've repeatedly said), and the truth is, you know it.

 

Like you said in that post that mysteriously disappeared, it could be a reluctance to think anything of people but the very best, and that maybe you should reconsider how you look at things.

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and to add to your list Am:

 

What about the ridiculous level of censorship that exists so that we don't offend the religious' sensibilities?

 

What about the voting block that supports idiotic wars?

 

What about the voters that force us to continually go to court to keep creationist teachings out of the schools?

 

What about the science that is hindered due to voters who oppose research based on irrational beliefs?

 

Society is full of deluded people and their delusions affect all of us.

 

And great explanation HuiDan, as usual.

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But we all agree that Christians are brainwashed, right?

 

I guess "we all" includes every last member of this forum. Which includes me.

 

No, Amethyst, I personally do not believe that all Christians are brainwashed. I have not looked up the definitions for the term but I understand it as another term for psychological pathology that cannot be applied indiscriminately to an entire segment of the population. I believe in looking at each individual separately and evaluating his or her ability to function in daily life. I understand that is the most basic criteria for determining pathology.

 

Now if I want to rave and rant at Christianity for having abused me, I might well resort to sweeping statements like all Christians are brainwashed and delusional. However, in answer to your question, no I do not agree that Christians (meaning as a sociological group which includes all professing Christians) are brainwashed.

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Not sure you caught my last post-- # 39 on page 2,

 

Dhampir, I hope this makes sense to you. For my own peace of mind I have had to skip some posts in this thread. I believe we all have a right to our own opinon and the last thing I want to do is alienate my friends here. I found my emotions getting in the way so I realized I had to back off.

 

I did delete one of my posts because I realized I could not stand behind it.

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But we all agree that Christians are brainwashed, right?

 

I guess "we all" includes every last member of this forum. Which includes me.

 

No, Amethyst, I personally do not believe that all Christians are brainwashed. I have not looked up the definitions for the term but I understand it as another term for psychological pathology that cannot be applied indiscriminately to an entire segment of the population. I believe in looking at each individual separately and evaluating his or her ability to function in daily life. I understand that is the most basic criteria for determining pathology.

 

Now if I want to rave and rant at Christianity for having abused me, I might well resort to sweeping statements like all Christians are brainwashed and delusional. However, in answer to your question, no I do not agree that Christians (meaning as a sociological group which includes all professing Christians) are brainwashed.

 

:eek:

 

You don't think that repeatedly telling people stuff that is not true on a regular basis, such as believe in Jesus or you will go to hell, that donkeys and snakes talked, that women are evil, that there was a literal virgin birth and resurrection etc. isn't brainwashing???

 

If it's not, I don't know what is. Just because people are not forcibly tied up and told those things doesn't mean it's NOT brainwashing. It is. People would not believe that stuff if they were not told it on a regular basis since early childhood.

 

There was a link somewhere someone posted about how churches work. The music gets you into a state of mind that is very susceptible to suggestion. Not to mention, the cadence of the preacher's voice lends to the effect. Why do you think most people have a hard time staying awake in church? It's because of that.

 

I am willing to admit that I was brainwashed. I was brainwashed to believe in talking snakes, talking donkeys, virgin births, and literal resurrections. I was brainwashed to hate myself. And I went to a church that most people would consider mainstream.

 

We also have cultural brainwashing in the media (i.e. the idea that all women must be skinny and beautiful and a size 6 and perfect looking, and the idea that things buy happiness). Surely there are other examples, I just can't think of them off the top of my head.

 

When you are repeatedly told time and again certain things, and surrounded by people that believe certain things, especially when you are very young, chances are good that you will believe it too. If that did not happen, most people would not be members of religions today.

 

Also note this definition, which is the one that most here use:

 

Brainwashing

 

Dorland's Medical Dictionary defines brainwashing, also known as thought reform or re-education, as "any systematic effort aimed at instilling certain attitudes and beliefs in a person against his will, usually beliefs in conflict with his prior beliefs and knowledge."[1] The concept has not been officially accepted by the American Psychological Association, neither has it been officially rejected,[2] but has received more attention from the APA in recent years.[2]

 

The thing with religion is that it happens when a child is too young to be able to go against his or her parents' wishes. So it is, essentially, against their will because they are not given a choice. And even when they are given a choice, it is made in such terms as "do you want to go to church with mommy and daddy and then afterward we will have a nice dinner?" or something like that. What young child wouldn't do it? Or sometimes there are abusive parents who instill the notion that they will not love the child if the child does not go to church with them. Either way, it's still against your will.

 

And for adults who join a church? It's usually too subtle of an effect, so they don't realize what's happening until years later when they want to leave.

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I haven't read the entire thread yet, but I don't think anyone can make a general statement that *all* Christians are delusional. Many people call themselves Christians and state they "believe" simply because they don't know any better, not because they've actually thought about whether it's actually true or false. Isn't that what happened to many of us who were raised Christians from an early age? It's like believing in Santa when you were a kid. Were you delusional at that point? No, you just believed what you were told because you didn't know any better. I think it becomes delusional when people actually think about it, and concluding that while they've never seen talking snakes, flying horses, zombies coming back from the dead, etc., they choose to believe those things are real anyway. I think there's a stronger case for delusions when that same person takes it a step further and claims to have seen angels, or heard god talk to them, or has been visited by demons.

 

Just my 2 cents anyway....

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I haven't read the entire thread yet, but I don't think anyone can make a general statement that *all* Christians are delusional. Many people call themselves Christians and state they "believe" simply because they don't know any better, not because they've actually thought about whether it's actually true or false. Isn't that what happened to many of us who were raised Christians from an early age? It's like believing in Santa when you were a kid. Were you delusional at that point? No, you just believed what you were told because you didn't know any better. I think it becomes delusional when people actually think about it, and concluding that while they've never seen talking snakes, flying horses, zombies coming back from the dead, etc., they choose to believe those things are real anyway. I think there's a stronger case for delusions when that same person takes it a step further and claims to have seen angels, or heard god talk to them, or has been visited by demons.

 

Just my 2 cents anyway....

 

Just because one chooses to believe a delusion, doesn't make it not a delusion. I would say if one believes literally in Santa, or literally in Jesus, then they are deluded. If they are the sort that goes to church for the social life and only pretends to believe in it but doesn't, then not.

 

If I literally belived in the Invisible Pink Unicorn, and carried around a book saying that everything in this book was true, and insisted that you also believe in it or you would be tortured forever, would you not say that I was deluded?

 

The problem here is that people use it as an insult when it is a term describing a mental illness.

 

From dictionary.com:

I believe someone else posted this before, but I'll post it again:

 

Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1) - Cite This Source

de·lu·sion /dɪˈluÊ’É™n/ Pronunciation Key - Show Spelled Pronunciation[di-loo-zhuhn] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation

–noun 1. an act or instance of deluding.

2. the state of being deluded.

3. a false belief or opinion: delusions of grandeur.

4. Psychiatry. a fixed false belief that is resistant to reason or confrontation with actual fact: a paranoid delusion.

 

From that definition, I do not see how one could NOT call a fundy deluded. It seems to me that the reluctance to use the word is based on being nice and politically correct. Well, we can be nice and politically correct all we want, but it doesn't change the fact that people who literally believe in those things are not quite sane.

 

I really wish they would be encouraged to get help and learn how to deal with reality, rather than to believe in things that don't exist. But we live in a society which it has become not nice to call people insane, even if they are, and so they don't get help. All that does is enable the fundamentalists.

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Just because one chooses to believe a delusion, doesn't make it not a delusion. I would say if one believes literally in Santa, or literally in Jesus, then they are deluded.

So as I stated in my example, is this to mean that you think kids who believe Santa is real for no other reason than because they trust what their parents tell them are delusional? Same if you've just accepted what your parents told you about Jesus as a kid and you never questioned it or had any reason to? Is this a delusion or is it just plain old ignorance? I suppose if you take the definition of delusion: "a false belief or opinion" and apply it anyone who believes anything at all that is false regardless of what it is or the circumstances surrounding the belief, then I guess we all suffer from delusions to some degree. No? Because using that definition in an absolute sense, if someone lies to you and you believe it, or if someone makes a truth claim based on erroneous or false data and you believe it, or you form a belief or opinion absent of facts which point to the contrary, you suffer from delusions. Correct? Who of us has never been lied to or believed a fallacy? How many among us are unknowingly in belief of a fallacy or a lie at this very moment? Based on my experience, if you believe anything at all a politician says, then based on that definition you are likely delusional. Probably all of us believe something that isn't quite totally true, whether we know it or not.

 

I guess my point to all this is that I don't have a problem with the political correctness of it.... if it is a fact that believing something that is false is a delusion, and it is a fact that a delusion is a form of mental illness, then it should follow that it is a fact that we're all likely mentally ill and should immediately drive ourselves to the nearest mental hospital for a complete evaluation and treatment. Otherwise it seems kind of pointless to single out all Christians and state they are all delusional when based on that definition of delusion, all of us are likely suffering from the same condition.

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Maybe one question would be: is it possible to be deluded or delusional without being mentally ill as well?

 

I don't automatically associate the two in my mind. It's a matter of degree. Religious beliefs might be a form of delusion, according to a strict dictionary definition, but it does not follow that someone who holds a religious belief is necessarily out of their mind. They might be, they might not be. I suppose it just depends on how far into it they are, and how unwilling they are to accept or deal with reality, should they be faced with it.

 

My next question would be, then: is there ever a situation in which delusion (of any kind) is a good or necessary thing? If religious belief is indeed a mild form of delusion, does it matter whether or not someone holds to it? Is all delusion harmful by default, or is it okay to live with incorrect belief?

 

Food for thought, anyway...

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Maybe one question would be: is it possible to be deluded or delusional without being mentally ill as well?
That's what I've been saying.

 

Some people here have a hard time differentiating between the type of delusion that is a symptom of a debilitating mental illness, and the type of delusion that's, well, not. Sure, we shouldn't call vast bodies of christians psychotically adherent to their delusions, but since probably no one here did that, including the writer of the post that brought on this thread, then it should be noted that the ones dissenting on that basis are pretty much preaching, as it were to the choir.

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Mike D, using a child's belief in Santa is a bad example, for the same reason children aren't tried as adults for the crimes they commit. Sure, you could call a child delusional for believing in Santa, but the child never made a responsible, informed decision to believe in Santa. Young children are psychologically if not physically adapted to take for granted everything their parents say as true. As adults, however, I hope we all have the mental faculties and life experience to discern between that which is obviously true and that which is a fairy tale. If not, then we can say that adult is delusional.

 

Ok, so what about the child who claims a talking dog convinced him or her to set his mother on fire? Here, we can say the child is psychotically delusional, as this would be a total fabrication arising from somewhere in the child's mind.

 

Adults should be able to discriminate between that which is obviously true and that which is not. A child shouldn't be expected to in all cases, especially when the falsehood is implanted by his or her own parents or mentors.

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Mike D, using a child's belief in Santa is a bad example, for the same reason children aren't tried as adults for the crimes they commit.

I was using a child's belief in Santa as a comparison to the type of brainwashing that is done to children in regards to religion. It's the same thing.

 

Sure, you could call a child delusional for believing in Santa, but the child never made a responsible, informed decision to believe in Santa

I never said that. In fact if you were to read my initial post you would have seen that I stated explicity that children who believe in Santa are not delusional because they don't know any better.

 

As adults, however, I hope we all have the mental faculties and life experience to discern between that which is obviously true and that which is a fairy tale. If not, then we can say that adult is delusional.

You've made no distinction as to the extent of the beliefs, i.e. someone who believes in a talking snake which is probably a fairy tale, vs someone who believes that Jesus existed, which isn't unreasonable. Not everyone who claims to be a Christian holds a 100% literal interpretation of the Bible.

 

Ok, so what about the child who claims a talking dog convinced him or her to set his mother on fire? Here, we can say the child is psychotically delusional, as this would be a total fabrication arising from somewhere in the child's mind

Of course we could say the child is psychotically delusional. This is obviously not the same as claiming a child is delusional for believing in Santa. Which I never said.

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So as I stated in my example, is this to mean that you think kids who believe Santa is real for no other reason than because they trust what their parents tell them are delusional? Same if you've just accepted what your parents told you about Jesus as a kid and you never questioned it or had any reason to?

 

If Santa belief or Jesus belief rules their lives like Christianity does, it's a delusion. If they can't go a week without talking to Jesus or Santa, if it interferes in their school and social lives, it is a delusion. I will admit that when I believed literally in Christianity, I was as delusional as the next fundy.

 

Is this a delusion or is it just plain old ignorance? I suppose if you take the definition of delusion: "a false belief or opinion" and apply it anyone who believes anything at all that is false regardless of what it is or the circumstances surrounding the belief, then I guess we all suffer from delusions to some degree.

 

Not necessarily. I am only applying it to false fantastic beliefs, not just regular old lies.

 

I guess my point to all this is that I don't have a problem with the political correctness of it.... if it is a fact that believing something that is false is a delusion, and it is a fact that a delusion is a form of mental illness, then it should follow that it is a fact that we're all likely mentally ill and should immediately drive ourselves to the nearest mental hospital for a complete evaluation and treatment. Otherwise it seems kind of pointless to single out all Christians and state they are all delusional when based on that definition of delusion, all of us are likely suffering from the same condition.

 

That's not what I am saying at all. You just really seem to have a problem with the word "delusion" and you are making me into saying something I am not. My goal is NOT to insult. It is to point out the fact that if someone literally believes in something wacky and it rules over their lives and they change everything for this belief, then it logically has to be some kind of mental illness. Perhaps delusion isn't the right term, but I can't find any better.

 

I've never said that all Christians are delusional, in fact, I clarified that in other posts. I'm referring to people like my mother who go to church constantly, who claim that god talks to them, and who tell their young, impressionable children that they are going to burn in hell for not being good enough. The fundies.

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Adults should be able to discriminate between that which is obviously true and that which is not. A child shouldn't be expected to in all cases, especially when the falsehood is implanted by his or her own parents or mentors.

 

I have, sadly, known adults who could not tell the difference between reality and fantasy. Some of them are in my own family. Some of them still go to my old church. Some of them are old, some are middle aged. I don't think age makes a difference.

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ANY belief that does not coincide with reality is a delusion. So yes, I'm sure we all have had delusions of some kind in our life. But delusional does not necessarily mean mentally ill. I believe it reaches this level when the holder of the delusion allows it to dictate their actions in such a way that is detrimental to themselves and/or society as a whole.

 

By this definition I would say ALL Christians are deluded, but only the fundies are mentally ill...

 

IMOHO

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To be a Christian, one must ascribe to certain teachings. Namely,

 

1) Jesus Christ is a historical figure.

2) Jesus Christ was the literal son of the factual god of the Jews.

3) Jesus Christ was crucified by the Roman Empire.

4) Jesus Christ rose from the dead after three days, to absolve us of our sins.

 

These are the beliefs outlined by the basis of the religion, the New Testament. It is safe to call people who do not hold to all of these outlined beliefs, not Christian. Now, these beliefs are HIGHLY irrational and doubtlessly erroneous. There is significant reason to believe so. Yet, despite being shown these contrary reasons, Christians persist in believing these things. Hence, Christians are delusional.

 

I don't really see how anyone can argue with that. :shrug:

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You've made no distinction as to the extent of the beliefs, i.e. someone who believes in a talking snake which is probably a fairy tale, vs someone who believes that Jesus existed, which isn't unreasonable. Not everyone who claims to be a Christian holds a 100% literal interpretation of the Bible.

I don't think extent really makes a difference, save for being a determinant of the extent of that delusion. My point was children can be called delusional, but that would be like calling a child uneducated or weak. Regardless of an xtian's extent of his belief in xtianity, he or she must entertain a certain magical element of the life and teachings of jesus christ. I know not of any purely pragmatic sect of xtianity. Therfore, one can call an adult xtain delusional with the full negative connotation of the word.

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I've never said that all Christians are delusional, in fact, I clarified that in other posts. I'm referring to people like my mother who go to church constantly, who claim that god talks to them, and who tell their young, impressionable children that they are going to burn in hell for not being good enough. The fundies.

Then I misunderstood, I thought you were disagreeing with me that all Christians shouldn't be called delusional. Absolutely some Christians are delusional, you'll get no argument from me there. Especially fundies.

 

I guess part of this is coming from my own experience as a Christian. I was brought up a Christian and was taught it was "true" from my earliest years. Growing up if someone asked me if I believed I would have said yes. But the reality was that I had a very tough time with it. I never heard god talk, I never saw angels or devils, when I tired to pray I always fell asleep...I didn't see any difference between praying and talking to myself or having a conversation with the ceiling. All the stories in the Bible about talking animals, virgin births, etc., seemed so completely removed from my own reality that I couldn't see how they were relevant. I guess that's the best way I can put it.... it wasn't that I thought about it and decided it was or wasn't true, it was more like I just didn't see any connection between those things and reality and I left it at that. But again, if someone asked me if I was a Christian and I had faith and believed, I would have said yes. Was I deluded? I don't know because I was force-fed all this as a kid, I had no choice in the matter. And all of these "beliefs" (along with all the skepticism) just carried over into adulthood like with so many other people. And as an adult (like with so many other adults) my priorities became my career and living my life, not thinking about whether or not Jesus actually rose from the dead or if a snake actually had a conversation with a human. Of course when I finally thought about it, I ended up an ex-christian, and that's why I am here today.....

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Although I try and be diplomatic to the Christians in my life(my dear mother most of all)they are delusional. The belief that there is an old man in the sky; that created the entire universe; and cares for them individually and intimately is delusional. But it isn't their fault. Just like us they were all duped. We were fed the same lies for years and years and for whatever reason we were able to break away. I don't think I am better than them; but I long for the day when they will stop revering their false idol.

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My parents are wonderful people and they are quite functional in society. Nevertheless, their delusions caused them to teach me the doctrine of hell, which gave me night terrors into my early 20s.

 

Wow...that's good to hear. I still have problems with night terrors and waking up thinking I'm dead and going to hell and I'm 38. It's pathetic. I don't want my children dealing with that kind of shit, but I know their mother is teaching it to them. My son recently told me that his mother said good people live long lives and bad people die young. That may not be verbatim, but it's close enough. There was a story about a 23 year old girl who died young because she didn't live right and didn't do what her parents told her to do. I'm interested in knowing how she's going to explain the death of a "good" person to them after that little load of horseshit.

 

There are multiple definitions of words and delusional is not a term that applies only to schizophrenics and those suffering from Alzheimer's. Here's Merriam Webster's Unabridged dictionary's definition of delusional in its entirety.

 

 

Main Entry: de·lu·sion Pronunciation Guide

Pronunciation: dlüzhn, d-

Function: noun

Inflected Form(s): -s

Etymology: Middle English delusioun, from Latin delusion-, delusio, from delusus (past participle of deludere to delude) + -ion-, -io -ion -- more at DELUDE

1 : act of deluding or state of being deluded ; often : a misleading of the mind <such pleasures end in delusion> : an abnormal mental state characterized by occurrence of delusions

2 : something that is falsely or delusively believed or propagated : false belief or a persistent error of perception occasioned by false belief or mental derangement : customary or fixed misconception <cling to a delusion>: as a : a false conception and persistent belief unconquerable by reason in something that has no existence in fact b : a false belief regarding the self or persons or objects outside the self that persists despite the facts and is common in paranoia, schizophrenia, and psychotic depressed states <delusions of grandeur>

 

 

I think definition 2 says it all. False belief is the basis for Christianity. Therefore, Christians are by definition delusional. As Vigile said in his first post in this thread, calling Christians delusional is not the same as calling them retarded or idiotic. It's not complimentary, but it's definitely true.

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I think we are grappling with a false dichotomy. The question cannot possibly be answered yes or no.

 

Kudos to HuaiDan on post #19. To add to his post, the meaning of “delusional” is vague as is all language.

 

I was once impressed by a simple argument against literal interpretation of the bible. One guy argued that language is vague. For example, “Hold on tight” gives specific information but without a context to apply that phrase, it can mean a whole slew of things. So too with “delusional”.

 

Definitions are only useful when put into a context of how they will be applied. What is the consequence of applying the label of ‘delusional”? Are we debating criteria against which we will apprehend dangerous individuals or recommend therapy or identifying criteria for people who are likely to purchase K-Tel spray that will “grow actual hair in minutes”? The context of how to use the definition has not been provided therefore I cannot provide a yes and no answer.

 

The question is still interesting though, so I’ll move on from definitive meaning.

 

To that end, a book called, “Extrordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds” caught my attention once so I went to the library to get it. The book was chock full of examples of financial fiascos that occurred when herd mentality met up with liars and con-(wo)men. An example from the book...

 

Re. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tulip_mania

One of the most famous was the tulip mania in Denmark where tulips were sold in a financial bubble at absurdly inflated prices similar to Internet stocks in 1999-2001.

 

If one accepts this is one of several viable descriptions of “delusion” then I’d have to side with xtians being labelled as such.

 

A co-worker once described his ex-wife as someone who was a “seeker” always looking for the magic cure for life. Essentially, he was saying that she was one of many people who are like heat seeking missiles that go in search of delusional ideas. Is that any different from the person who is a sucker for get rich quick scams? Those that believe everyone else is an asshole and “they” are the only sane person in a world of idiots are clearly deluded.

 

How about the folks that max out their credit cards and line of credit **knowing** that one day the bank will come calling? This is not so much delusional as compartmentalization is it not? They know tomorrow is coming but *today* they will eat drink and be merry.

 

I’ve said it many times and now again, http://skepdic.com/ has an excellent compendium of the many mental tricks that xtians and others play in their heads to convince themselves of their truth.

Confirmation Bias http://skepdic.com/confirmbias.html

Selective Thinking http://skepdic.com/selectiv.html

Communal Reinforcement http://skepdic.com/comreinf.html

Forer Effect http://skepdic.com/forer.html

Placebo Effect http://skepdic.com/placebo.html

Post Hoc Fallacy http://skepdic.com/posthoc.html

Self-deception http://skepdic.com/selfdeception.html

Subjective validation http://skepdic.com/subjectivevalidation.html

Testamonials http://skepdic.com/testimon.html

Wishful thinking http://skepdic.com/wishfulthinking.html

 

These are all errors made by xtians. They are also errors made by atheists and people from every other walk of life.

 

Perhaps, we need to stop casting such a narrow net over the population and acknowledge that delusion is a common occurrence.

 

I vote for describing a wrong belief as a delusion and not the individual…

 

The phrase, “He deluded himself into thinking she loved him” could easily be rephrased as “He fooled himself..”. In that sence you would liken a delusion to foolishness and you would be capable of being fooled without necessarily being a fool. Hence, you can be deluded about something with out being generally deluded. There are individuals with a pattern of behaviour that I would call fools and generally deluded. You would not however call an entire population of xtians fools or deluded eventhough you would certainly call belief in original sin a delusion.

 

Moving on…

As to the Santa question, an adult who believes in Santa does so out of concert with other adults. Xtians on the other hand are in harmony with other adults. This is a huge difference and cannot be ignored when trotting out the man in red.

 

Moving on…

There is a guy on MSN message boards called New10, a psychologist who argues that xtians are mentally ill. He also has a web site http://www.atheistfellowship.com/ or specifically this article of his on Parrot Neurosis: http://www.atheistfellowship.com/articles/9/05.htm

Just interesting reading not necessarily an endorcement.

 

Moving on…

I think Ruby should consider that her grandmother was more than delusional. Hallucinations are not delusions from my view. Delusions are more toward false beliefs about how things work rather than a false belief that something actually happened that didn’t.

 

Moving on…

Are delusions dysfunctional? I’ve read many good examples.

 

Moving on…

Brainwashing…

Dorland's Medical Dictionary defines brainwashing, also known as thought reform or re-education, as "any systematic effort aimed at instilling certain attitudes and beliefs in a person against his will, usually beliefs in conflict with his prior beliefs and knowledge."

I’ve grappled with xtians who say they are not brainwashed and yet participate willingly in attitude adjustment activities.

 

I cannot accept (as complete) a definition of brainwashing that does not address the voluntary aspect to this mental deception. People are deluding themselves willingly.

 

Moving on…

Great question Gwen. “My next question would be, then: is there ever a situation in which delusion (of any kind) is a good or necessary thing?”

 

My gut tells me there has to be something useful in the existence of religion and other delusions. Like other delusions, religion has a short term gain – that sense of satisfaction – that you are a good person because of something irrelevant like belief in Jesus. It is one hell of a delusion to think that belief in Jesus can make you a good person eh? You don’t have to be good or kind or anything… just believe. What a cop out! But my point is… cop outs have benefits. Perhaps not for society but then again, the lottery ticket people pay my taxes. :o)

 

Mongo

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