I don't necessarily mean to speak for Alzael, but, well, I guess that's what I'm about to do so I'll simply ask Alzael for forgiveness if this comes off rather incorrectly. I think that Alzael believes his point to be rather self-evident: your beliefs do not appear to coincide with the operations of reality. Delusions are a form of insanity. A delusion is a belief irrespective (or in contrast to) reality. Ergo, you appear insane. Unfortunately, the word 'insane' carries quite a bit of semantic baggage along with it - I know that when *I* picture insane, it is an extreme version of what could be labeled as 'not sane' (e.g. Daffy Duck in the Bob Clampett days). But the softer version of 'not sane', the part about believing things despite reality indicating otherwise, is the type that Alzael is pointing you towards. He's even softened it with saying that your beliefs were insane, and not you, as a person, are insane. I assume this was to eliminate the emotional and semantic baggage associated with the word insane.
I'm in agreement with Alzael here insofar as your beliefs do not appear to be compatible with objective reality. Focus on that part. Focus on the concept that Alzael and likely many of us posting on this topic think that some of your beliefs are not compatible with reality and therefore unreasonable. Ignore the baggage with the word 'insane', and focus on explaining why those beliefs (the 'god exists' belief is the primary one in question) are reasonable.
What you've done in your response to Alzael is to give reasons why you yourself would not be considered an insane person. And I think we get that - you're a functional human being. It's the belief 'god exists' that is the subject of contention here. Alzael's point is that your belief in the existence of god looks very much like a delusion - that is, your belief in the existence of god does not appear to be predicated on anything in objective reality, and is therefore indistinguishable from a belief made up in one's own head.
Alternat ively I have completely mis-characterized Alzael's point, and if this is the case, I apologize to him.
Hey jdawg70. I totally understand where you're coming from. In a technical sense, yes, there is no proof that 'god exists'. It's a sticking point that has been the achille's heel of religion. So, I'll agree to surrender that point - I believe there is no clinical proof that God exists.
Insofar as objective reality, I've been trying my hardest to explain WHY theists don't need evidence to incorporate God into their objective reality. God is an important part of millions of people's lives and probably the first person they turn to in the most critical times of their lives. There is definitely an amount of fear in place with going to God first, but for many, there is incredible comfort knowing that there is a supportive force that is with them in what may be their last breathe on this earthly plane. I don't know what the atheist equivilent would be, but if a theist and an atheist were in the WTC on 9/11/01 facing their impending doom, the theist will have God to help them through, even though it may only be in his mind, while the atheist has ???
So, might delusional be a judgement call? And yes, while technically "correct", does it warrant the lack of understanding that most atheists give toward theists?
YY, this is why I think the claim of delusional is correct, technical or otherwise.
And it absolutely does warrant the lack of understanding by the absolute fact that there is no basis to *have* understanding. I'll try to clarify as that is, admittedly, pretty vague.
You've made a claim that 'the theist will have god to help them through'. Well, if god does not exist, then, well, no, they will emphatically *not* have god to help them through, as the entity's non-existence makes it rather difficult for it to have any kind of effect. Let's go down the 'god does not exist' route for a moment; if this is the truth of reality, then the theist merely has a comforting idea to help them through, rather than an actual entity to help them through...
...and that can be important. I'm going to change the scenario on you a bit to illustrate - a theist and an atheist on 9/11/01 at WTC. Both are about to experience impending doom. Now, in this change-up, the theist that *I* am now talking about is the one on one of the planes - let's say the first one for clarity's sake. If we go down the 'god does not exist' route, then the theist has a comforting idea to help them through this, mainly, that his goal of murdering several hundred people is good in the name of this comforting idea. Now I get to speculation part - the theist on this plane? Maybe not a big fan of murdering innocent people. In my experience, most people have an issue with killing those who do not deserve to be killed. He is not only being comforted from the horror of his own death, but comforted that he is doing the right thing by killing those that deserve to die.
However, notice the difference between your theist (presumably one in the building and about to be murdered) and my theist (the one in the plane that is about to commit murder). Both of them are comforted. Your theist is comforted with something along the lines of 'god will save me', 'god will save my soul when I die', etc. My theist is comforted with something like 'god told me to make these people die', 'these people are enemies of god and deserve to die', 'I am doing god's will', etc.
But none of that has anything to do with truth. Just with 'feeling'. And one of the above people are going with that 'feeling' and making a lot of innocent people suffer and die. That 'feeling' is what allowed my theist to forgo his own sense of morality by assigning innocent people as evil and worthy of suffering and death. Now, let's do another change-up and go the 'god exists' route. Is your theist and my theist being comforted by the same god? How can they tell? According to my theist, your theist is an evil entity against god that needs to be exterminated. According to your theist, s/he is going to be (in some form or another) saved, comforted, and/or protected by god. These seem mutually exclusive to me, and one of them must be wrong. Outside of objective reality (say, by asking god what the correct truth is), there is NO WAY FOR THEM TO DETERMINE IF THEY ARE RIGHT. If my theist were actually an atheist, he could begin constructing logical arguments for why your theist needs to die - they are representative of western evils, their suffering will lead to the greater good of my people, etc. But they have some basis IN REALITY to make that distinction.
As a theist, he's got the 'god said do this' thing that he can go back to. If he somehow discovers mid-flight that the people on the plane and in the buildings are, in fact, not evil and not deserving of death, well, as an atheist he may go 'oh crap I don't want to murder lots of innocent people, maybe I should turn this plane around and give up'. He doesn't have that as a theist. He can *never* come to the conclusion that these people are innocent and don't deserve to die - god said 'make them die' and that's that.
That's where the lack of understanding comes from, at least for me - for the life of me, I cannot understand making decisions that can help or hurt people based a belief structure that I cannot determine the validity of.
Oolong the Great exists. Oolong the Great says that all white people are to corruptions of the first great creation and deserve to be killed. I have no evidence of this. I just know that it is true. Now, in my experience, most white people, in fact, do *not* deserve to be killed. If I simply assume that Oolong the Great exists, then my experience is irrelevant at this point. Oolong the Great says they deserve to be killed. Ergo, white people deserve to be killed.
Wouldn't it be better if I at least try to verify the actual validity of Oolong the Great's existence before I go about murdering white people?
As an aside, the atheist, perhaps, has the whole 'well I've lived my life in the attempt to better myself and my fellow human, and, crap, I really really don't want to die, but I can't really do anything about it' thing going on. I really wouldn't be able to speak intelligently as to what other people would find comforting at those last horrifying moments, but hopefully s/he does have something so that his/her last moments of existence do not entail simply fear and terror.
Anyway, just thoughts.