Is religion a delusion?
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03-11-2015, 06:27 PM (This post was last modified: 03-11-2015 06:31 PM by Chas.)
RE: Is religion a delusion?
(03-11-2015 02:18 PM)Tomasia Wrote:  No, it's not a delusion. A belief it an of itself can't be a delusion.

Except it can be.

"A delusion is a belief held with strong conviction despite superior evidence to the contrary."

"A delusion is a belief that is clearly false and that indicates an abnormality in the affected person's content of thought."

So there's that. Drinking Beverage

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03-11-2015, 06:28 PM
RE: Is religion a delusion?
(03-11-2015 06:25 PM)GirlyMan Wrote:  
(03-11-2015 06:16 PM)Chas Wrote:  It is belief without evidence, often accompanied by hallucination.

What would you call it? Consider

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03-11-2015, 06:37 PM
RE: Is religion a delusion?
(03-11-2015 06:27 PM)Chas Wrote:  
(03-11-2015 02:18 PM)Tomasia Wrote:  No, it's not a delusion. A belief it an of itself can't be a delusion.

Except it can be.

"A delusion is a belief held with strong conviction despite superior evidence to the contrary."

"A delusion is a belief that is clearly false and that indicates an abnormality in the affected person's content of thought."

So there's that. Drinking Beverage

From the wikipedia page:
Quote:Delusions do not necessarily have to be false or 'incorrect inferences about external reality'.[16] Some religious or spiritual beliefs by their nature may not be falsifiable, and hence cannot be described as false or incorrect, no matter whether the person holding these beliefs was diagnosed as delusional or not.[17]
Quote:Another difficulty with the diagnosis of delusions is that almost all of these features can be found in "normal" beliefs. Many religious beliefs hold exactly the same features, yet are not universally considered delusional. These factors have led the psychiatrist Anthony David to note that "there is no acceptable (rather than accepted) definition of a delusion."[22] In practice, psychiatrists tend to diagnose a belief as delusional if it is either patently bizarre, causing significant distress, or excessively pre-occupying the patient, especially if the person is subsequently unswayed in belief by counter-evidence or reasonable arguments.

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03-11-2015, 06:49 PM
RE: Is religion a delusion?
(03-11-2015 06:27 PM)Chas Wrote:  
(03-11-2015 02:18 PM)Tomasia Wrote:  No, it's not a delusion. A belief it an of itself can't be a delusion.

Except it can be.

"A delusion is a belief held with strong conviction despite superior evidence to the contrary."


"A delusion is a belief that is clearly false and that indicates an abnormality in the affected person's content of thought."

So there's that. Drinking Beverage


In each of these definition it's not the belief in of itself. Several hundred years ago, men believed the world was flat. There's nothing delusional about that. If someone thought it was flat today in spite of the "superior evidence to the contrary", counting for the various pictures, and video etc... as part of some vast global conspiracy, we'd correctly assume there's some abnormality in his thought process.


In you second definition, it's the abnormality in the affected person's content of thought that led them to their beliefs. His belief are just a means of inferring that abnormality, absent of a brain scan.

"Tell me, muse, of the storyteller who has been thrust to the edge of the world, both an infant and an ancient, and through him reveal everyman." ---Homer the aged poet.

"In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it."
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03-11-2015, 06:53 PM
RE: Is religion a delusion?
(03-11-2015 02:18 PM)Tomasia Wrote:  
(03-11-2015 11:41 AM)Gaest Wrote:  I have often heard the concept "delusion" being used to describe religion or religious ideas and beliefs, but what is the reasoning behind describing religion and religious people as delusional, and are there any relevant researchers since Freud and his contemporaries who advocate this?

Cheers

No, it's not a delusion. A belief it an of itself can't be a delusion. When a psychiatrist diagnosis's a patient as suffering from psychosis, or mania, or some other form of delusion, they are inferring from a particular pattern of a belief, some sort of disruptive mental state, such as psychosis or mania as the cause of the beliefs, rather than the beliefs causing mania or psychosis. They are in essence gauging a deviation from a norm that's created by cultural, and environmental factors, and one's created by a frenzied mental states.

If you're using the term "delusion", in a way not pertaining to a particular mental state, you're not really using it any meaningful way. In a lot of cases it appears the term is used to refer to cognitive dissonance, but dissonance seems to be a universal feature of humanity, your sense of identify etc... are dependent on it to a significant degree. In fact the tendency to frame everyone else as delusional, and yourself as not is it's own form of delusion in this sense, cognitive dissonance at it's finest.


Revelation 1:7
"Look, he is coming with the clouds," and "every eye will see him, even those who pierced him"; and all peoples on earth "will mourn because of him." So shall it be! Amen.

--- is simply delusional.

Your powers to explain *a way* bullshit are just amazing. Weeping

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03-11-2015, 06:58 PM
RE: Is religion a delusion?
(03-11-2015 06:53 PM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  Revelation 1:7
"Look, he is coming with the clouds," and "every eye will see him, even those who pierced him"; and all peoples on earth "will mourn because of him." So shall it be! Amen.

--- is simply delusional.

Your powers to explain *a way* bullshit are just amazing. Weeping

I'm just pointing that using the term delusional, in a way that's doesn't correspond to some abnormal condition of the mind is fairly meaningless.

"Tell me, muse, of the storyteller who has been thrust to the edge of the world, both an infant and an ancient, and through him reveal everyman." ---Homer the aged poet.

"In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it."
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03-11-2015, 07:34 PM
RE: Is religion a delusion?
(03-11-2015 06:58 PM)Tomasia Wrote:  
(03-11-2015 06:53 PM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  Revelation 1:7
"Look, he is coming with the clouds," and "every eye will see him, even those who pierced him"; and all peoples on earth "will mourn because of him." So shall it be! Amen.

--- is simply delusional.

Your powers to explain *a way* bullshit are just amazing. Weeping

I'm just pointing that using the term delusional, in a way that's doesn't correspond to some abnormal condition of the mind is fairly meaningless.

I dunno. I gave people the benefit of the doubt, but I never believed that rubbish. All I can imagine is that the indoctrination was so intense it was hard to escape! Or, it is just mass delusion.

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03-11-2015, 07:38 PM
RE: Is religion a delusion?
(03-11-2015 02:18 PM)Tomasia Wrote:  
(03-11-2015 11:41 AM)Gaest Wrote:  I have often heard the concept "delusion" being used to describe religion or religious ideas and beliefs, but what is the reasoning behind describing religion and religious people as delusional, and are there any relevant researchers since Freud and his contemporaries who advocate this?

Cheers

No, it's not a delusion. A belief it an of itself can't be a delusion. When a psychiatrist diagnosis's a patient as suffering from psychosis, or mania, or some other form of delusion, they are inferring from a particular pattern of a belief, some sort of disruptive mental state, such as psychosis or mania as the cause of the beliefs, rather than the b[eliefs causing mania or psychosis. They are in essence gauging a deviation from a norm that's created by cultural, and environmental factors, and one's created by a frenzied mental states.

If you're using the term "delusion", in a way not pertaining to a particular mental state, you're not really using it any meaningful way. In a lot of cases it appears the term is used to refer to cognitive dissonance, but dissonance seems to be a universal feature of humanity, your sense of identify etc... are dependent on it to a significant degree. In fact the tendency to frame everyone else as delusional, and yourself as not is it's own form of delusion in this sense, cognitive dissonance at it's finest.

Quote: No, it's not a delusion. A belief it an of itself can't be a delusion.

You've been convinced, through indoctrination, that it's not a delusion. You've been told and taught that it's real, probably since childhood. People of authority have most likely explained to you that other beliefs and religions are incorrect, in error and even sinful and that Christianity is the only true, real religion that everyone should believe in.

You were sold a delusion and you bought it thinking it's real. That's exactly what a delusion is.

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03-11-2015, 07:40 PM
RE: Is religion a delusion?
(03-11-2015 12:25 PM)Adrianime Wrote:  Similar to how cults and religion only differ in popularity.

This is a bit off topic, but cults (sects?) usually fall under the term religion - unless you use a pretty narrow definition of religion?

Also if you were thinking of institutionalised religion in form of, say, a church compared to a sect (which can also be somewhat institutionalized) then I am pretty sure it's normal among researchers to distinguish between them based on criteria such as the intensity of the demands put on the members, relation to surrounding society and exclusivity of perceived truth and in general

Quote:Delusion tends to be defined by popular opinion.

But it is also a term used in psychiatry and related disciplines, and just as I'm not happy with popular use of the word "theory" I think it is better if we have a bit more reflection behind our use of "delusion".

Quote:As time goes on and the world gets more secular, I think religion will be judged as delusional more often.

Or it will just be differentiated and accepted. More secular doesn't necessarily mean less religious (or at lest not irreligious) just that religion is relegated to other parts of society and life.

(03-11-2015 12:48 PM)Reltzik Wrote:  Believing with firm and unjustified conviction that for which there is no evidence, or that against which there is firm evidence, can certainly be described as delusional in common parlance, especially when the nature of the delusion is fantastical. A stubborn intrasingence against contrary evidence, and even paranoid rantings about the great conspiracy of those opposed to your viewpoints, would feed into this idea. (Someone less lazy than me might dig up links to Ben Carson complaining about the great secular conspiracy against him at this point.)

Fair points, but all of this is contingent upon people actually being confronted directly with evidence against their conviction or evidence against the "evidence" they use to support the conviction.
I don't think that is the case for a lot of religious people, especially outside the western world. By the above criteria these people can hardly be called delusional.
Also, if the firm and stubborn insistence on the conviction, even after being confronted with evidence against, is a hallmark of being delusional then it is important to take into consideration that not all religious people and systems react like that. Some get doubts, some change and/or modify their religious believes, and some compartmentalize - so the "delusion" is only present in a few spheres of life and society.
It can get pretty muddy.

And of cause there are some religious people who are delusional, but so are several holocaust deniers and "New World Order" conspiracy theorists.

Quote:But in a technical sense? The current version of the Diagnostic and Statistic Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) explicitly exempts experiences and beliefs in keeping with the subject's social, cultural, and religious background from the category of delusional disorder.

I've heard criticism of this for essentially handing religious belief a "get out of delusion free" card, but I think there's something to be said for it. It points to how delusion and religion are very different beasts in a psychological context. One is aberrant and personal in its origin; the other is conformist and the result of external influence and conditioning. This distinction implies different approaches to the prevention, treatment, and curing of either malady.

That's not saying that religious belief is true or rational. Just that it belongs in a different category of cra-cray than delusion. Perhaps its own category.

Concerning the technical definition, I found this interesting article written by Matt J. Rossano (Professor of Psychology from Southeastern Louisiana University). I know it's a long quote, but I wanted as many as possible of the bits I thought important:

Original article: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/matt-j-ros...11148.html

Quote:As with any psychological disorder, functional impairment is key. Perfectly normal people hold all kinds of beliefs based on partial or equivocal evidence -- the vagaries of human life make this unavoidable. So the standard for determining whether or not religious beliefs are delusional is the same as that required for any belief: is the belief contradicted by so much obvious and convincing evidence that in order to maintain it the believer becomes functionally compromised, producing suffering for themselves and those around them? In general the answer here is no, for a number of reasons.

First, religions largely traffic in beliefs that stand outside of easy evidentiary evaluation (...)

Second, an important finding that has emerged over the past 20 years or so from the cognitive science of religion is that religious thinking builds quite seamlessly on our natural modes of cognition. (...) Since religious thinking comes naturally to us, it is actually the skeptical mindset that requires greater effort to consistently maintain. Which leads to an interesting hypothesis: given the relatively greater mental effort required to maintain skeptical beliefs, it should be atheistic thinking, more so than religious thinking, that is prone to slide into pathology. (...)

Finally, since religion is a community-based enterprise, it largely discourages disengaged individualism. While this has its hazards -- lock-step conformity, tribalism, narrow-mindedness, etc. -- it does promote social integration among its members and that is generally good for psychological functioning. (...)

Religious delusion is out there, but recognizing it requires us to give up the simple-minded broad-brush approach. (...) It was Freud (who thought religion was delusion!) who said that the healthy psyche should be able to do two things: love and work. Good guideposts whenever we are in the precarious posture of judging others' beliefs.

TL;DR

"Religion therefore contains a host of properties that actually militate against pathological delusion: (1) its general notions and practices are not obviously contradicted by evidence, (2) it requires very little mental effort to sustain most religious notions, and (3) it encourages community integration which promotes healthy psychological functioning."
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03-11-2015, 07:59 PM
RE: Is religion a delusion?
(03-11-2015 11:41 AM)Gaest Wrote:  I have often heard the concept "delusion" being used to describe religion or religious ideas and beliefs, but what is the reasoning behind describing religion and religious people as delusional, and are there any relevant researchers since Freud and his contemporaries who advocate this?

Cheers

What I can say for myself and others I know is that religion can be a delusion. When you have nothing to hold onto its natural to need to reach out for anything, and it's easy to delude yourself into believing it's there.

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