Why is God a delusion?

if so, what makes him a delusion?

Posted: August 19th 2010

Blaise www

On the American Psychology Association’s website , I found this definition of 'delusion’:

Delusion – a fixed, false belief that is resistant to reason or confrontation with actual fact.

This means that in order to be a delusion, an idea must a) be a belief, not just a hypothesis or beloved story, and b) be false, as defined by either failing the tests of logic, evidence, or both. I think it’s safe to say that by definition, theists truly believe in a god (as opposed to, say, Santa Clause, which is just a beloved story). So the real question, then, is whether the theist’s god survives either the logic or evidence test. If their god fails either of those tests, and a theist does not immediately change their belief in a god’s existence, they are by definition,deluded.

Starting with the latter test, it seems unlikely whether anything worthy of the term 'god’ could ever be proven or disproven using evidence. The supernatural nature of such a being takes it out of the realm of the real world, so how could evidence in the real world ever convince us one way or the other? Test Result: Inconclusive

So instead, it must come down to the logic test. The hard part of this one is that every god has a slightly different definition and set of attributes, sometimes even to each believer, so each one must be considered separately. In general, though, when someone asks this question, they are referring to the monotheistic creator god of the Jews, Muslims and Christians, who commonly is defined as being omniscient, omnipotent, and omnibeneficient. There are many logical quandaries that cause this generic god to fail the logic test, but the simplest one was proposed by the greek philosopher Epicurus nearly two thousand years ago:

“Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?
Then he is not omnipotent.
Is he able, but not willing?
Then he is malevolent.
Is he both able and willing?
Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able nor willing?
Then why call him God?”

There are of course apologists who quibble over definitions to get around this logical failure. For example, they say free will causes evil, not god, but ignore tsunamis, earthquakes, etc. killing thousands of people in horrible evil ways, despite having no “will” other than the one proposed by the theist. My favorite is the one where they say that a god’s failure to prevent evil isn’t malevolent, but that it has to happen in order to fulfill “HIS” plan. However, since this being is omniscient, it would know for certain all the possible outcomes of any plan it proposed, and being omnipotent, it has the power to form a plan that includes no evil as a prerequisite, so “HIS” plan must by definition require evil.

There are lots of logical failures for the individual religious conceptions of gods as well. For one specific to Christianity, have a look at the answers to the satire question.
Test result: Failed

Posted: August 22nd 2010

See all questions answered by Blaise

Leeta www


I would be happy to answer your question.

In the strictest sense of the word delusion, which is a psychological term, means:

-“an erroneous belief that is held in the face of evidence to the contrary.”

One who believes that a god or other supernatural being is materially real, but which has no material evidence of existence, is considered delusional.

By “material evidence”, I mean evidence which can be tested through scientific means. Supernatural things cannot be tested through natural means. Therefore, there is no evidence for them, and can never be, making beliefs in their existence delusional.

I hope this answers your question.

Posted: August 20th 2010

See all questions answered by Leeta

flagellant www

The way your question is phrased – 'What makes [god] a delusion?’ – indicates that you take god as a given. If you do that, we are entitled to expect sound reasons for your assumption; yet you cite none. This is not, I suggest, because of the brevity of your question, but because there are no reasons to be cited.

I was delighted to see that Richard Dawkins’s book is titled The God Delusion; I had been using the description 'deluded’ to and about believers for many years before the book appeared. They didn’t like the term then and they don’t like it now.

If I am expected to believe anything, I need to have good evidence for doing so. Incidentally, I also think that people who believe in astrology and alchemy are deluded. (And that’s only the 'A’s.)

So, please, read The God Delusion with an open mind and see what we mean.

Posted: August 20th 2010

See all questions answered by flagellant


Theistic belief is delusional because theists have not one evidential leg to stand on. Revelation was the excuse that was used to explain why it was reasonable to think that a being existed when there is no evidence. Neuroscience shows us clearly that revelation is not a means to know anything.

To insist that you do know that something exists without evidence shows that your critical thinking skills have gone by the wayside (for whatever reason), and the only reason why religious believers are not given a harder time regarding their delusion and why they are not given help to learn how not to open their minds so much that their brains fall out, is because of the deferential respect given to religious beliefs.

To believe in a higher power is one thing, and another entirely when you think you are having an exact communication with that being or that being is affecting your reality. Religious people do not have any idea how weird they appear to non-believers, because they have been coddled so long. Growing up in a religious family/community, I was frightened as a child of these weird adults who could not tell a fantasy tale from reality, not to mention deeply disappointed in their inability to be intellectually honest.

Humans have the ability to delude themselves without being insane which is what the majority of religious believers do, with the blessing of society.

Posted: August 19th 2010

See all questions answered by logicel

George Locke

Basically, any false belief satisfies the definition of “delusion”.

See answer to this related question.

Posted: August 19th 2010

See all questions answered by George Locke

Paula Kirby www

Good question. Someone should write a book about it some day, then you could find your answer simply by reading that.

Posted: August 19th 2010

See all questions answered by Paula Kirby

SmartLX www

It’s meant in the most straightforward way possible. God is something for which there is no good evidence and which in all probability does not exist, but which people nevertheless believe in for reasons born of their own minds.

Posted: August 19th 2010

See all questions answered by SmartLX


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