God as a Delusion

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God as a Delusion

#1  Postby theidiot » Mar 07, 2010 6:16 pm

It's often said by atheist that God beliefs are a delusion, this a positive claim, in order for those making it to be taking seriously, they have to possess knowledge of the nature of people's beliefs, as well as their own, to project their views as true to reality, and the others as delusions of it.

Now, a delusion is different than a mistaken belief. If someone mistakingly believes that Richard Dawkins is the author of the End of Faith, he's not delusional, he's just mistaken. If he was delusional about this, it means that if we were to point out to him that he is not the author, but Sam Harris is, he couldn't process these facts, that he live in denial of the reality, of this truth, which he can't process in light of emotionally held fiction.

The symptoms would be cognitive dissonance, and confirmation bias. But those who make such claims against this person, have to posses a true understanding of reality in order to claim that someone else has a delusional understanding of it.

In order to say God is a delusional belief, the person saying it is also claiming 'there is no God' is a truth claim, for which he would have to support as well. He'd have to show that this theist can't process what he himself can process, that the theist lives in cognitive dissonance of reality, and that he posses a true understanding of it.

It means that this atheist possess a true understanding of the nature of belief, that he can diagnose it as delusional. If he has no evidence for their being no God, he has no stake in a claim that individuals who do believe in God are delusional. He's just mouthing incoherent nonsense.

I'll point to a common vulgar counter, like that of the FSM. I'd claim that those that literally believe in the FSM are delusional, because it can be shown that FSM was a creation of a parody, and perhaps that those that do literally believe in such a being are suffering from a mental illness, or some sort of detachment from reality.

If I claim that the FSM is a delusional belief, I'm making a positive claim, which I have to support with evidence in order to be taken seriously.

I believe in God. I'm an orthodox believer in Christianity.

You can say: "I don't believe in the Christian God, and we can agree to disagree".

Or you can say that, I'm mistaken, and you can present the case for why that is so, and if I am merely mistaken I should be able to process these arguments, and reach a true conclusion.

Or you can say that this belief is delusional, and then be able to point out the confirmation bias, and cognitive dissonance that present themselves in my thought process.

I'll be an open book, and allow you to choose which torch you want to use.
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Re: God as a Delusion

#2  Postby chairman bill » Mar 07, 2010 6:23 pm

The belief that the God character protrayed in the OT is a god of love would surely be a delusional belief - assuming the individual had read the OT & noted just what an evil bastard this God fellow is. The facts (as written in the OT) do not accord with the claim.
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Re: God as a Delusion

#3  Postby aspire1670 » Mar 07, 2010 9:59 pm

theidiot wrote:

If I claim that the FSM is a delusional belief, I'm making a positive claim, which I have to support with evidence in order to be taken seriously.

I believe in God. I'm an orthodox believer in Christianity.


Therefore you make a positive claim and in keeping with your stricture regarding the necessity of evidence I simply ask you to provide some to support your assertion for the existence of your god. Failure to provide proper evidential support possibly renders your assertion susceptible to a psychiatric diagnosis as a delusional belief as it satisfies the criteria of :

certainty (held with absolute conviction)

incorrigibility (not changeable by compelling counterargument or proof to the contrary)

impossibility or falsity of content (implausible, bizarre or patently untrue)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Delusion
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Re: God as a Delusion

#4  Postby Arcanyn » Mar 08, 2010 4:44 am

In order to say God is a delusional belief, the person saying it is also claiming 'there is no God' is a truth claim, for which he would have to support as well. He'd have to show that this theist can't process what he himself can process, that the theist lives in cognitive dissonance of reality, and that he posses a true understanding of it.

It means that this atheist possess a true understanding of the nature of belief, that he can diagnose it as delusional. If he has no evidence for their being no God, he has no stake in a claim that individuals who do believe in God are delusional. He's just mouthing incoherent nonsense.


In order to say that thinking that the CIA has implanted a undetectable microchip in your brain in order to read your thoughts is a delusional belief, the person saying it is also claiming "there is no CIA conspiracy to read people's thoughts using microchips" is a truth claim, for which he would have to support as well. He'd have to show that this CIA conspiracy believer can't process what he himself can process, that the person who thinks the CIA is reading their thoughts lives in cognitive dissonance of reality, and that he possesses a true understanding of it.

It means that this non-conspiracy theorist possesses a true understanding of the nature of the belief that the CIA is after you, that he can diagnose it as delusional. If he has no evidence of there being no CIA conspiracy to read people's thoughts from microchips in their brains, he has no stake in a claim that individuals who do believe that the CIA is reading their thoughts are delusional. He's just mouthing incoherent nonsense.
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Re: God as a Delusion

#5  Postby gooseboy » Mar 08, 2010 4:46 am

Arcanyn wrote:In order to say that thinking that the CIA has implanted a undetectable microchip in your brain in order to read your thoughts is a delusional belief, the person saying it is also claiming "there is no CIA conspiracy to read people's thoughts using microchips" is a truth claim, for which he would have to support as well. He'd have to show that this CIA conspiracy believer can't process what he himself can process, that the person who thinks the CIA is reading their thoughts lives in cognitive dissonance of reality, and that he possesses a true understanding of it.

It means that this non-conspiracy theorist possesses a true understanding of the nature of the belief that the CIA is after you, that he can diagnose it as delusional. If he has no evidence of there being no CIA conspiracy to read people's thoughts from microchips in their brains, he has no stake in a claim that individuals who do believe that the CIA is reading their thoughts are delusional. He's just mouthing incoherent nonsense.


Well said. :cheers:
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Re: God as a Delusion

#6  Postby theidiot » Mar 08, 2010 5:05 am

Arcanyn wrote:In order to say that thinking that the CIA has implanted a undetectable microchip in your brain in order to read your thoughts is a delusional belief, the person saying it is also claiming "there is no CIA conspiracy to read people's thoughts using microchips" is a truth claim, for which he would have to support as well. He'd have to show that this CIA conspiracy believer can't process what he himself can process, that the person who thinks the CIA is reading their thoughts lives in cognitive dissonance of reality, and that he possesses a true understanding of it.

It means that this non-conspiracy theorist possesses a true understanding of the nature of the belief that the CIA is after you, that he can diagnose it as delusional. If he has no evidence of there being no CIA conspiracy to read people's thoughts from microchips in their brains, he has no stake in a claim that individuals who do believe that the CIA is reading their thoughts are delusional. He's just mouthing incoherent nonsense.


Uhm, for the most part this is exactly what I would be saying if I was claiming that someone is delusional for believing the CIA has planted microchips in his brain. I mean this is no different than how we would argue with Jesus Mythers, or 9/11 conspiracy theorist, the reason we point them out to be cracks, is by holding that their beliefs are held through cognitive dissonance, and confirmation bias.

Either your claim that God beliefs are delusional are based on reality, or they're not. If you accuse a theist of being delusional, it should be clear as to what led you to assume that, what the criteria is in which you make that judgement, what distinguishes it from just a mistaken belief.

I mean I could go around calling everyone who believes in evolution delusional, but it's rather stupid, unless I had some sort of argument to back that up.
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Re: God as a Delusion

#7  Postby virphen » Mar 08, 2010 5:10 am

The evidence, particularly the nature of the biblical texts more than strongly suggests that your god was made up by humans. I consider that evidence to be overwhelming.

That infers your beliefs are delusional.
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Re: God as a Delusion

#8  Postby gooseboy » Mar 08, 2010 5:16 am

@theidiot - can you provide more evidence of the existence of your particular brand of god than the average CIA conspiracy theorist can provide for their conspiracy theories?

My guess is that you cannot. At least the CIA conspiracy theorist can prove that the CIA is a real entity.
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Re: God as a Delusion

#9  Postby Steve » Mar 08, 2010 5:20 am

If god is the same as reality, I have no problem with god. Any other god would, it seems to me, have to be unreal. Using god in the way I do actually removes god from any specific religion. I understand Gandhi claimed god has no religion. My thinking is not that unusual.

There seems to be a lot of baggage with the 'Christian' god. For starters the Christian god is usually male. If god is to be taken seriously god has to be accessible equally and immediately to all people in all cultures.
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Re: God as a Delusion

#10  Postby gooseboy » Mar 08, 2010 5:25 am

Steve wrote:If god is to be taken seriously god has to be accessible equally and immediately to all people in all cultures.


What? If got is to be taken seriously then it needs to differentiate itself from the tooth fairy and santa claus by showing itself to exist.
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Re: God as a Delusion

#11  Postby Steve » Mar 08, 2010 5:37 am

gooseboy wrote:
Steve wrote:If god is to be taken seriously god has to be accessible equally and immediately to all people in all cultures.


What? If got is to be taken seriously then it needs to differentiate itself from the tooth fairy and santa claus by showing itself to exist.

The tooth fairy and santa serve important cultural roles. You may laugh and reject them, but that is merely you asserting your relationship with respect to them. Supposedly as 'more mature' or something. Have some kids. They are lots of fun and can be taken very seriously.

Use the idea of god as a personification of reality, which is what all the Greek and Hindu gods do, it makes sense of the whole thing. They are tools for exploring our relationship with the world around us. They are metaphors, but at root they stand on the fact of the subjective point of view. They are tools to explore and manipulate the subjective which cannot be put under a microscope and examined.

The Christian god is the same thing dressed for a different culture.
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Re: God as a Delusion

#12  Postby gooseboy » Mar 08, 2010 5:42 am

Steve wrote:The tooth fairy and santa serve important cultural roles. You may laugh and reject them, but that is merely you asserting your relationship with respect to them. Supposedly as 'more mature' or something. Have some kids. They are lots of fun and can be taken very seriously.

You know nothing about me, so please don't make assumptions.

Steve wrote:Use the idea of god as a personification of reality, which is what all the Greek and Hindu gods do, it makes sense of the whole thing. They are tools for exploring our relationship with the world around us. They are metaphors, but at root they stand on the fact of the subjective point of view. They are tools to explore and manipulate the subjective which cannot be put under a microscope and examined.

As much fun as it sounds to personify reality and call it god or santa or the tooth fairy, I think I'll pass.
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Re: God as a Delusion

#13  Postby xrayzed » Mar 08, 2010 5:55 am

theidiot wrote:It's often said by atheist that God beliefs are a delusion...

Would you agree that some God beliefs are delusional?
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Re: God as a Delusion

#14  Postby theidiot » Mar 08, 2010 6:09 am

virphen wrote:The evidence, particularly the nature of the biblical texts more than strongly suggests that your god was made up by humans. I consider that evidence to be overwhelming.

That infers your beliefs are delusional.


Perceptions are never made up, they can be erroneous, but not made up. But I want to hear you continue your point, how are 'gods' made up? What are the 'biblical' writers claiming god is? How about the gods of mythologies? Take a narrative like the Genesis story, what is the writer trying to say about reality? Was he trying to teach individuals how he believed the world literally came to me? Or conveying a perceptions of the reality they find themselves emerged in?

How does that narrative contrast with the babylonian creation narrative that inspires it? Why differing perspectives? Clearly to say that 'god' was made up, means that you understand something about the nature of these beliefs, and what is meant by god concepts.

Do you hold that the Greeks, believed that gods like Dionysus, and Apollo were literal beings like you and I, just with superpowers? Clearly you assumptions requires this sort of understanding, if they don't they're just supremely childish, and sound no less naive than hearing a creationist teach us about science.

Do you hold that archaic religions cared like many moderns do about the mechanics of nature, of how things came to be? Like the Hebrews deeply desired to know how the world was created, and about how natural phenomenon came to be, and that writers of their narratives were trying to provide fulfillment for those curiosities? That bible and other ancient mythologies served to fulfill the longing that you have to acquire scientific knowledge?

I don't hold any of these ancient religions to be made up, but of course you're clueless of the nature of reality they are commenting on, and expressing a view about. These perceptions may be faulty, but they are far from made up. If anyone is making stuff up here, it's our naive atheist, whose views on religions, are as easy to dismiss as the views of creationist concerning science.

But I want to hear more, about our atheist and their delusions, how confidently they express their views on subjects they are as clueless about as I am on quantum mechanics. If you don't even understand the nature of these beliefs, you're going to have a hard time arguing that they are delusional. But I'll give you more room to make your case.

Come on, inform me about the knowledge, on which your assumptions are built on.
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Re: God as a Delusion

#15  Postby theidiot » Mar 08, 2010 6:14 am

xrayzed wrote:
theidiot wrote:It's often said by atheist that God beliefs are a delusion...

Would you agree that some God beliefs are delusional?


Depends on what you mean.

I don't believe that the greeks, or the aztecs beliefs in their deities, like Dionysus, or Tezcatlipoca, are delusional beliefs. I may find what these religious narratives and mythologies claim about reality to be false, but not delusional.
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Re: God as a Delusion

#16  Postby xrayzed » Mar 08, 2010 6:14 am

theidiot wrote:
xrayzed wrote:
theidiot wrote:It's often said by atheist that God beliefs are a delusion...

Would you agree that some God beliefs are delusional?


Depends on what you mean.

I don't believe that the greeks, or the aztecs beliefs in their deities, like Dionysus, or Tezcatlipoca, are delusional beliefs. I may find what these religious narratives and mythologies claim about reality to be false, but not delusional.

What about people who believed these gods spoke to them or through them?
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Re: God as a Delusion

#17  Postby Steve » Mar 08, 2010 6:17 am

gooseboy wrote:
Steve wrote:The tooth fairy and santa serve important cultural roles. You may laugh and reject them, but that is merely you asserting your relationship with respect to them. Supposedly as 'more mature' or something. Have some kids. They are lots of fun and can be taken very seriously.

You know nothing about me, so please don't make assumptions.

You are asserting your relationship to them. The rest was prefaced with supposedly. You are being very sensitive here. The point was they CAN be taken seriously. Tooth fairies help kids deal with the frailty of their body - a bit just fell out and that can be scary. They will not be rational when they are full of doubt and fear. But in a day or so they will be less distracted and can consider the realities of the situation.

gooseboy wrote:
Steve wrote:Use the idea of god as a personification of reality, which is what all the Greek and Hindu gods do, it makes sense of the whole thing. They are tools for exploring our relationship with the world around us. They are metaphors, but at root they stand on the fact of the subjective point of view. They are tools to explore and manipulate the subjective which cannot be put under a microscope and examined.

As much fun as it sounds to personify reality and call it god or santa or the tooth fairy, I think I'll pass.


Non fiction only, eh? Never learned a thing about life from a good story? Good fiction requires us to suspend our disbelief so it can work. Ever wonder how that process works, and how far you could push it?

I am not advocating suspending rational skepticism. I am merely interested in exploring the subjective. I do not think it is even possible to discuss the subjective except through metaphor. I am not sure it is even possible to become a rational person except by using the tools of metaphor.

The process is we suspend our disbelief, changes happen in how we look subjectively at the world, then we resume our rational skepticism, but we are now a different person. This process is available to us until we die. Some of these changes can change the way we subjectively relate to death.
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Re: God as a Delusion

#18  Postby virphen » Mar 08, 2010 6:19 am

theidiot wrote:
Come on, inform me about the knowledge, on which your assumptions are built on.


No. I gave you a civil response, you replied with a spiel of nonsense calculated irritate and provoke an angry response. I will not respond to trolling.
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Re: God as a Delusion

#19  Postby xrayzed » Mar 08, 2010 6:26 am

theidiot wrote:Perceptions are never made up, they can be erroneous, but not made up.

What about Scientology? Wasn't Xenu "made up"?

Do you hold that the Greeks, believed that gods like Dionysus, and Apollo were literal beings like you and I, just with superpowers? Clearly you assumptions requires this sort of understanding, if they don't they're just supremely childish, and sound no less naive than hearing a creationist teach us about science.

There are Hindus today who believe their gods are literal beings. Is there any reason to believe that the Greeks, who also had a pantheon of divinities, never believed they were literal beings?
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Re: God as a Delusion

#20  Postby theidiot » Mar 08, 2010 6:27 am

xrayzed wrote:
I don't believe that the greeks, or the aztecs beliefs in their deities, like Dionysus, or Tezcatlipoca, are delusional beliefs. I may find what these religious narratives and mythologies claim about reality to be false, but not delusional.
What about people who believed these gods spoke to them or through them?


Well, other then cases of individuals suffering from mental illness the answer is no, they are not delusional beliefs. Our silly atheist has trouble understanding the difference between the mentally sick individual who hears voices in their head, and what commonly being said when a believer says that "god led him to this decision", or that "this is not what god wants him to do".

These statement are more akin to someone who after some contemplation believes that the decision he is making is the right one, or a person saying he has a good feeling about this. Believing that these individuals here voices in their head like mentally sick individuals do, is the delusional beliefs that atheist like to peddle, but are dimwitted assessments of reality.
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