Looking at the definition of delusion, it is easy to see that all theists are delusional:
We were learning about psychotic disorders and how they are diagnosed, and we were learning the different types of delusions. Two of the types were “delusions of reference”, which are delusions where you believe you are receiving special messages, and “delusions of grandeur”, meaning you believe that you are special, or above everyone else.
I asked my professor, “say someone believes they are special because they believe they are receiving special messages from a source that they think is God. Would they have a delusion of grandeur or reference?” (it was an honest question, I wasn’t trying to be insensitive to the more religious members of the class).
My professor turned red, stammered a bit, and said (after doing the whole “nobody get offended” thing) “questions regarding religion and delusions are very, very tricky to answer… Our culture has made it acceptable to believe in some things that, to outsiders, would seem very strange. The definition of a delusion is ‘a firmly held belief that someone believes despite lack of evidence, and despite contradicting evidence.’ Given that definition, it’s very hard to distinguish between the things religion tells us, and what makes someone delusional. So in diagnosing, it’s important to take the culture into perspective, so you’re not diagnosing devout religious belief as shizophrenia.”
My professor even went on to say “I believe in God. I’m Jewish, although I’m not a ‘good’ Jew. I have no evidence for God, yet I continue to hold onto my belief. Am I delusional? Maybe. But society has deemed that type of thinking to be rational, even though it could very easily be objectively classified as a delusion.”
I just found that interesting, that even though religion basically fits the criteria for “delusional thinking”, psychiatrists basically can’t use it in a diagnosis because it’s a type of “delusion” that’s been deemed socially acceptable. I also found it interesting that some people know that type of thinking is possibly delusional… yet they continue to hold onto it.
“The president of the United States has claimed, on more than one occasion, to be in dialogue with God. If he said that he was talking to God through his hairdryer, this would precipitate a national emergency. I fail to see how the addition of a hairdryer makes the claim more ridiculous or offensive.” – Sam Harris, Letter to a Christian Nation
How do we know that Christians are delusional?