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Is God a delusion?

Posted: July 26th 2010

Blaise www

Yes.

Posted: August 1st 2010

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brian thomson www

I presume your question is related to the title of Richard Dawkins’ book. I looked in to the word, and am satisfied he chose it carefully, and that it’s the right word. If you read the book, you’ll find Dawkins referring to the various conceptions of gods that appear in different parts of the world e.g. “the God of the Bible”. The Judeo-Christian version you’re thinking of is just one of many such god-like beliefs.

“God” isn’t a delusion in itself – how could that be? We don’t think that your “God” even exists, so it can’t have any attributes or qualities. It’s the belief in one or more gods – yours or anyone else’s – that is the delusion here.

Posted: July 27th 2010

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SmartLX www

Something which doesn’t exist, and doesn’t appear likely to exist, and yet a person believes is there, is a satisfactory example of a delusion.

Most believers take issue with the word because it literally implies that they are delusional. While this is strictly true (from an atheist perspective) in that they have a delusion, it does not imply the full modern meaning of “delusional”, i.e. that they are insane or even hallucinating. Not at all; they’re just likely to be wrong about this one thing.

Posted: July 27th 2010

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George Locke

Merriam-Webster defines a delusion as “something that is falsely or delusively believed or propagated” (to delude is “to mislead the mind or judgment of”). The dictionary goes on to differentiate the specific sense of the word delusion:

Delusion, Illusion, Hallucination, and Mirage mean something that is believed to be true or real but that is actually false or unreal. Delusion implies an inability to distinguish between what is real and what only seems to be real, often as the result of a disordered state of mind . Illusion implies a false ascribing of reality based on what one sees or imagines . Hallucination implies impressions that are the product of disordered senses, as because of mental illness or drugs . Mirage in its extended sense applies to an illusory vision, dream, hope, or aim .

Delusion, illusion, and mirage all seem appropriate to god-belief.

Posted: July 26th 2010

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