Is there a way to tell when you are deluded?

Discussion in 'General Philosophy' started by Magical Realist, Dec 9, 2013.

  1. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

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    The purpose for which we use something is connected to that we believe about the purpose of existence of said thing.


    Like I already said:

    IOW, you hold that material conveniences eixst so that you, other people, other beings can consume them; and more than just consume them - enjoy them.

    Of course, given that you probably resent that things can be stolen from you, and probably resent power shortages, rising prices of gas and electricity etc., this would suggest that you in fact think that those material conveniences should exist so as to please you (and not the thief or people with lots of money who can readily afford higher prices).
     
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  3. Tridimity Registered Member

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    Contemporary society requires that we each as individuals trust in our fellow citizens to provide reliable knowledge with regards fundamental academic principles and the resulting material or logistical outcomes e.g. not only do we rely on physicists to provide the underpinning knowledge required to safely fly an aeroplane, we also rely on the engineers to correctly design the aircraft, and on manufacturers to correctly assemble the kit, and on the pilot and air traffic control to handle the logistics of our particular flight. Any time any one of these interconnected webs of knowledge fails, people lose confidence in the collective pursuit of knowledge acquisition and so may tend to trust more in their own (oftentimes fallacious) beliefs relative to that of others. Thus, perhaps one of the reasons why people hold onto beliefs that are contrary to available evidence, is because they were not personally involved in the generation, analysis and interpretation of said evidence, and so feel it is safer to hold onto their own beliefs that may be based on 'gut instinct' or appeal to authority, tradition or faith. Maybe, then, it could be possible to counter delusion by training any individuals who suspect themselves of being delusional, in how to think scientifically and how to approach questions in a scientific manner so as to produce reliable results. A second point of interest is that, often a delusional person (e.g. one suffering paranoia) openly acknowledges on an intellectual level that their fear response is unjustified and irrational - and yet they cannot break free of the delusion, or do not feel safe to do so, since it is safer to assume the worst and protect oneself from any possible harm than it is to take (what most would consider to be) appropriate risks in everyday life. I'm not sure how the second point could be addressed.
     
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  5. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    Wrong again. That was LG's claim, not mine. Keep up with the thread. I'm the one saying that just because we enjoy material conveniences does NOT mean that's why they exist. We are simply reappropriating materials that were here long before we existed. So there's no way that our own enjoyment could be the reason why they exist.
     
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2013
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  7. lightgigantic Banned Banned

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    On the topic of keeping up with the thread ...

    The core of this problem lies in what one ultimately thinks the purpose of this material world is ... or what one thinks is the ultimate relationship between this world and the living entity. . For as long as one thinks this world serves no higher purpose than a tool meant for one's enjoyment one will continually be tasked with the problem of seeking an arrangement that this world simply does not provide.


    ....


    Magical Realist : Why must one think the material world as any purpose at all?


    Wynn : Because one uses it, consumes it, interacts with it; and because humans are beings that have volition.


    .....


    Magical Realist :I use and interact with all sorts of natural resources without assuming they exist for me.


    Wynn : And yet the only way in which you use all these resources is to please yourself.

    Indeed, you may not believe that they exist just to please you, but you use them only for your pleasure.


    ....


    Magical Realist : I use and interact with all sorts of natural resources without assuming they exist for me.

    LG : We are not talking about ideas on the cosmic manifestation of the phenomenal world.
    we are talking about ideas of how an individual ultimately interacts with the environment they are in.
    ..... However we are discussing schemata arising from volition, not teleology.


    ......

    If you can't fathom how issues of the individual and the environment play a key role in understanding the nature of delusion, you can't even begin to discuss anything on this subject.
    If you disagree, feel free to discuss anything of one's needs, interests and concerns that doesn't in any way approach the question of what one expects/one's attitude from/is to the environment they are in.

    Once again, just in case you persist with criticisms of ideas that no one has brought up except yourself, this has nothing to do with teleology. Whether one thinks that the phenomenal world arises from divine interaction or chance events has absolutely nothing to do with what one thinks the ultimate relationship between the material world and the fruits it offers and the living entity. If it was otherwise, it would be impossible for a theist to display the behavior of a gross materialist.

    IOW despite all your insistence that you don't think the material world essentially provides things meant for your enjoyment, you have been unable to contextualize the resources you consume from it at literally a moment by moment rate in any other manner except enjoyment.

    :shrug:
     
  8. lightgigantic Banned Banned

    Messages:
    16,330
    On the topic of keeping up with the thread ...

    The core of this problem lies in what one ultimately thinks the purpose of this material world is ... or what one thinks is the ultimate relationship between this world and the living entity. . For as long as one thinks this world serves no higher purpose than a tool meant for one's enjoyment one will continually be tasked with the problem of seeking an arrangement that this world simply does not provide.


    ....


    Magical Realist : Why must one think the material world as any purpose at all?


    Wynn : Because one uses it, consumes it, interacts with it; and because humans are beings that have volition.


    .....


    Magical Realist :I use and interact with all sorts of natural resources without assuming they exist for me.


    Wynn : And yet the only way in which you use all these resources is to please yourself.

    Indeed, you may not believe that they exist just to please you, but you use them only for your pleasure.


    ....


    Magical Realist : I use and interact with all sorts of natural resources without assuming they exist for me.

    LG : We are not talking about ideas on the cosmic manifestation of the phenomenal world.
    we are talking about ideas of how an individual ultimately interacts with the environment they are in.
    ..... However we are discussing schemata arising from volition, not teleology.


    ......

    If you can't fathom how issues of the individual and the environment play a key role in understanding the nature of delusion, you can't even begin to discuss anything on this subject.
    If you disagree, feel free to discuss anything of one's needs, interests and concerns that doesn't in any way approach the question of what one expects/one's attitude from/is to the environment they are in.

    Once again, just in case you persist with criticisms of ideas that no one has brought up except yourself, this has nothing to do with teleology. Whether one thinks that the phenomenal world arises from divine interaction or chance events has absolutely nothing to do with what one thinks the ultimate relationship between the material world and the fruits it offers and the living entity. If it was otherwise, it would be impossible for a theist to display the behavior of a gross materialist.

    IOW despite all your insistence that you don't think the material world essentially provides things meant for your enjoyment, you have been unable to contextualize the resources you consume from it at literally a moment by moment rate in any other manner except enjoyment.

    :shrug:
     
  9. Syne Sine qua non Valued Senior Member

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    3,515
    No, a lack of belief is agnosticism.

    In the popular sense, an agnostic is someone who neither believes nor disbelieves in the existence of a deity or deities, whereas a theist and an atheist believe and disbelieve, respectively. - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agnosticism

    Atheism is, in a broad sense, the rejection of belief in the existence of deities. In a narrower sense, atheism is specifically the position that there are no deities. Most inclusively[including agnosticism], atheism is simply the absence of belief that any deities exist. - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atheism

    As distinguished from agnosticism, atheism is a rejection of belief in a god, which is itself a belief.

    Belief is the psychological state in which an individual holds a conjecture or premise to be true. - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Belief

    An atheist holds the premise that there is no god to be true.

    QED. Atheism is an idiosyncratic belief.

    Rational by what criteria?

    Illustrating the relativity of rationality: if one accepts a model in which benefitting oneself is optimal, then rationality is equated with behavior that is self-interested to the point of being selfish; whereas if one accepts a model in which benefiting the group is optimal, then purely selfish behavior is deemed irrational. It is thus meaningless to assert rationality without also specifying the background model assumptions describing how the problem is framed and formulated. - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rationality

    Obviously, your argument does not frame rationality within the scientific method, as the scientific method makes no assertion based on a lack of evidence. Atheists do generally hold that there is no god, without any supporting evidence, and contrary to the tons of self-reported evidence relied upon in the social sciences.

    The scientific method aside, rationality is largely about congruity.

    Rationality is a normative concept that refers to the conformity of one's beliefs with one's reasons to believe... - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rationality


    CONGRUOUS
    1
    a : being in agreement, harmony, or correspondence
    b : conforming to the circumstances or requirements of a situation : appropriate
    - http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/congruous

    Atheism is not congruous in a world significantly dominated by theism.

    Strange how you have provided a link you do not seem to have read.

    Individuals are preoccupied with religious subjects that are not within the expected beliefs for an individuals' background in culture and their education and known experiences of religion. These preoccupations are incongruous with the mood of the subject. - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religious_delusion#Definition

    Also a red-herring, as religious belief is common in the population, thus trivially common any any subset of the population.
     
  10. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    No..to simply lack belief in God is atheism. There are many people who lack belief in certain gods like Zeus, Shiva, Thor, etc. But that doesn't mean they are agnostic regarding their existence.

    If atheism is in the very least the rejection of a belief in God, then it can't very well be a belief also can it? It doesn't follow that because I simply refuse to believe in something that I am believing something in its place.

    Or simply lacks belief in the premise that there is a god.

    "Atheism is not a belief system nor is it a religion. While there are some religions that are atheistic (certain sects of Buddhism, for example), that does not mean that atheism is a religion. Two commonly used retorts to the nonsense that atheism is a religion are: 1) If atheism is a religion then bald is a hair color, and 2) If atheism is a religion then health is a disease. A new one introduced in 2012 by Bill Maher is, "If atheism is a religion, then abstinence is a sexual position."

    The only common thread that ties all atheists together is a lack of belief in gods and supernatural beings."---http://atheists.org/activism/resources/what-is-atheism
     
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2013
  11. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    5,712
    There were periods of history in which the generally accepted view was that the Earth occupied the center of the universe. Your definition suggests that anyone disagreeing with that view must have been delusional, simply because they were disagreeing with the majority opinion.

    In light of that problem, I think that a better definition of 'delusion' might be:

    a belief that continues to be firmly maintained despite having been shown by convincing evidence and rational argument to be false, typically a symptom of mental disorder.

    Even then it's problematic, since identifying what should be 'convincing evidence and rational argument' is likely to be a controversial judgement call in non-clinical normal-life cases.

    Returning to MR's original question, supposing for the sake of argument that a person really is delusional in a strong clinical sense, how could he or she ever become aware that it was so? If the person continues to hold their delusional belief with full force, even in the face of overwhelming evidence and argument to the contrary, then what else is available to convince them that the belief is delusional?
     
  12. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    15,118
    Psychiatric counseling/therapy might be one way to become aware of our delusions. Thru the course of talk therapy we may acquire more and more insight into why we may be so unconsciously fixated on our delusion and become aware of its compensational function in our psyche. For instance a man who thinks he has supernatural powers may come to realize that he lacks a sense of power and accomplishment in his everyday life, which explains why he depends so strongly on that delusion. In my own life I came to realize in retrospect that my former belief in God and of a delusional relationship with Christ was compensating for a lack of self-esteem and ego assertiveness in myself. I have since become wary of ANY sense of grandiosity in myself as a sign that I am slipping back into the same compensational delusional mode that serves to fill a psychological void within me.

    "Research suggests that the severity of the delusions of grandeur is directly related to a higher self-esteem in individuals and inversely related to any individual’s severity of depression and negative self-evaluations. Lucas et al. found that there is no significant gender difference in the establishment of grandiose delusion. However, there is a claim that ‘the particular component of Grandiose delusion’ may be variable across both genders. Also, it had been noted that the presence of GDs in people with at least grammar or high school education was greater than lesser educated persons. Similarly, the presence of grandiose delusions in individuals who are the eldest is greater than in individuals who are the youngest of their siblings.

    Symptoms

    According to the DSM-IV-TR diagnostic criteria for delusional disorder, grandiose-type symptoms include grossly exaggerated belief of:

    self-worth
    power
    knowledge
    identity
    exceptional relationship to a divinity or famous person.

    For example, a patient who has fictitious beliefs about his or her power or authority may believe himself or herself to be a ruling monarch who deserves to be treated like royalty.There are substantial differences in the degree of grandiosity linked with grandiose delusions in different patients. Some patients believe they are God, the Queen of England, a president's son, a famous rock star, and so on. Others are not as expansive and think they are skilled sports-persons or great inventors."---http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grandiose_delusions
     
  13. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

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    Somewhat reminiscent of one's own state of death never being confirmed, or minus evidence from a personal / subjective perspective -- what is absent for consideration or barred from entry can modify neither nothingness or a habitual model (when alive). Such a response to "In the face of overwhelming" reasons could also correspond to Goldblatt's definition of postmodernism at bottom (though I doubt that PoMo abroad, more closely examined, could really be depicted so neatly and succinctly). It's rather staggering that due to a variety of factors -- psychological limitations, cultural conditionings, stage of a society's development [perhaps even sensory disabilities], etc -- that an individual could live an entire lifetime and never apprehend / participate in a so-called "humanist" view of the world.

    Taking considerable liberty with Foucault's idea of "stupidity" (also mentioned in Goldblatt's article), such a persistent maintenance of nescience and lack of critical thought would alone enable a person or persons to reside in a realm radically different from the mainstream. Lightning could hurt them as much as anyone else, but who knows what alien interpretations could replace our own in their alternative or instinctive understandings of such experienced events.

    Mark Goldblatt: Humanists cannot talk to postmodernists. [...] it is necessary at the outset to define the three key terms: humanist, postmodernist, and talk. By a "humanist," I mean a person who believes that human beings can formulate true or false opinions about a reality that exists independently of their thoughts and language--and that the truth or falsehood of such opinions is gauged by their correspondence with empirical evidence analyzed in light of fundamental rational principles. By a "postmodernist," I mean a person who believes that the perception of a reality existing independently of thought and language is illusory, that what the humanist perceives as reality is in fact a linguistic construct of the phenomena of subjective experience that is continually adjusted in response to a fluid social consensus.

    Finally, by "talk" I mean to put forward opinions, or sets of opinions, in such a way that they may be either verified or falsified. Of the two possibilities, verification and falsification, I would lay particular emphasis on falsification since it is less provisional. (Falsification, in other words, is less contingent on evidentiary standards. For example, it only takes one black dove to falsify the proposition "All doves are white"; whereas, the standards of support required to verify the proposition inevitably vary.) To talk, by my definition, is to risk one's continued avowal of an intellectual position, to enter willingly into the so-called "marketplace of ideas" in which logical demonstration is recognized as the final arbiter between opposing viewpoints. My thesis, then, is that no such marketplace of ideas can ever truly exist between humanists and postmodernists because postmodernists neither pursue verification nor risk falsification in their exchanges.
    --Can Humanists Talk to Postmodernists?
     
  14. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    15,118
    Common delusions enforced by religion:

    Delusion of reference--that events have a special meaning just for you. A sign from God, an omen, etc.

    Delusion of control--that your thoughts or words are being influenced by some magical entity. The devil made me do it, God spoke to me, possession, inspiration, glossolalia, etc.

    Delusion of grandiosity--that you are special, have a relationship to a deity, or can magically influence events. Prayer, healing, blessing, protective amulets/symbols/rituals, etc.

    Delusion of persecution--that there is a hidden conspiracy of evil beings out to get you. Demons, the antichrist, Satanists, the Illuminati, etc.

    Delusion of guilt--that bad events are a punishment for your misbehavior. Sin, God's judgment, curses, etc.
     
  15. lightgigantic Banned Banned

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    16,330
    reads more like delusions enforced by atheists who conveniently ignore establishing a key element in their assertions : namely that god doesn't exist.

    If god exists, there is no reason why he cannot manipulate aspects of his creation to direct or communicate to conditioned living entities ... infact it would be absurd to expect him not to.



    If god exists, there is no reason why he cannot manipulate aspects of his creation to direct or communicate to conditioned living entities ... infact it would be absurd to expect him not to.

    If god exists, there is no reason why he cannot manipulate aspects of his creation to direct or communicate to conditioned living entities ... infact it would be absurd to expect him not to.

    If god, the epitome of enlightenment, exists, there is no reason to expect that the diametric opposite, namely illusion or entering more deeply into conditioned existence .... infact it would be absurd to expect there not to be.


    If god exists, there is no reason why one would expect reward to somehow exist in the absence of punishment in lieu of there being a directive force in the universe ... infact it would be absurd to expect there not to.


    No doubt you will say something to the effect "but god doesn't exist".

    My point is that is all you can say, and padding out your claim with a wider spread of mental speculation doesn't somehow magically render more authority to your opinions

    :shrug:
     
  16. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    And if monkeys flew out of my butt...etc etc...
     
  17. lightgigantic Banned Banned

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    16,330
    For as long as you are trying to establish an absolute negative on the authority of atheism,its not a question of "if ..."

    :shrug:
     
  18. Syne Sine qua non Valued Senior Member

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    Any premise held to be true is a belief, even if that premise is that belief in a god is false, delusional, etc..

    But let us examine your description of atheism, solely from the perspective of whether your definition is congruent with your actions (i.e. rational). Your above description seems to agree with this:

    Logically speaking, mere disbelief in the truth of a proposition cannot be treated as equivalent to the belief that the proposition is false and that the opposite is true. If you make a claim and I disbelieve it, I am not necessarily saying that your claim is false.
    ...
    This describes the most basic level of disbelief: you don’t actively believe my claim, but you don’t deny it either.
    ...
    Because the evidence to warrant rational belief is lacking, the atheist does not adopt the belief — but the atheist also does not necessarily deny the claim due to a similar lack of contrary evidence.
    - http://atheism.about.com/od/atheismquestions/a/beliefdisbelief.htm

    By your actions, you do not fit your own definition of an atheist. You claim a lack of belief, but then you argue as if you are actively denying the existence of a god. So since rationality is the conformity of one's beliefs with one's reasons to believe, and delusion is contradicts rational argument, you may be delusional. Congratulations, now you know.

    The only feasible way that this is not the case is that either atheism is an active rejection (hence a belief there are no gods) or your arguments are simply anti-religious (so your atheism is irrelevant and you should be arguing what specific actions people should not do, rather than what they should not believe).

    Atheism, defined as a lack of belief, is no grounds for asserting a prescriptive "ought".


    These delusions are not "enforced" by religion. These are garden-variety delusional themes (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Delusion#Themes) that are prone to take on aspects of anything prevalent in society, whether religious or secular. These can also focus on things like aliens, governments, etc..
     
  19. Capracus Valued Senior Member

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    But the rational context of our discussion is defined, it relates to the rationality of the arguments for the existence of gods.

    Applying the scientific method to our commonly perceived reality could conclude that a failure to detect expected evidence of a god within the scope of our perception would support a conclusion of non existence by an atheist.

    But as in the previous definition you quoted, the context of the belief and associated reasons must be defined. As for belief in evidence for the existence of gods, the reasons conforming to the belief would have to be consistent with the believer’s personal knowledge and understanding of the relevant evidence for and against in order to be considered rational. In simpler terms it’s rational for an idiot to believe in idiocy.

    There's less congruousness among different theists than between atheists and theists.
     
  20. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    I lack a belief in God. In other words, I have a DISBELIEF or doubt that God exists. Since disbelief is not belief but is in fact the opposite of belief, it is the case that I lack a belief in God precisely because I disbelieve in him. Hence my definition stands.

    dis·be·lief [dis-bi-leef]
    noun
    1. the inability or refusal to believe or to accept something as true.

    The fact that so many religious people have so many of these delusions can't be just a coincidence. Something must be enforcing them or in the very least enabling them. Since religion is the common thread, it is likely that is the factor enabling them.
     
  21. Syne Sine qua non Valued Senior Member

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    You did not answer the question. What criteria? The scientific method? Heuristics? Simple pragmatism?

    No, the scientific method makes no assertion based on a lack of evidence, and you have even failed to show why any of your supposed "expected evidence" should be necessary to a god's existence. This is called bias, not science.

    Evidence of absence relies on modus tollens: P implies Q, but Q is false, therefore P is false. P must be a necessary aspect of Q for the absence of P to imply the absence of Q. You have not established this relationship, so you are making an argument from ignorance.

    What relevant evidence are you supposing needs understanding? Oh, you mean the complete lack of evidence either way? There is no special knowledge necessary for understanding nothing.

    And many well-educated and high IQ people believe a god exists, so it seems you are trying to make a hasty generalization.

    This sentence is incoherent.
     
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2013
  22. Syne Sine qua non Valued Senior Member

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    So do you agree that disbelief is not equivalent to denial, as per http://atheism.about.com/od/atheismquestions/a/beliefdisbelief.htm? Or are you just avoiding that to quell cognitive dissonance?

    Or better yet, just answer this simple question. Do you think it is true that belief in a god is delusional or false?

    Common delusions enforced by secular society:

    Delusion of reference--
    Persons with ideas of reference may experience:

    • Believing that 'somehow everyone on a passing city bus is talking about them, yet they may be able to acknowledge this is unlikely'.
    • A feeling that people on television or radio are talking about or talking directly to them
    • Believing that headlines or stories in newspapers are written especially for them
    • Believing that events (even world events) have been deliberately contrived for them, or have special personal significance for them
    • Believing that the lyrics of a song are specifically about them
    • Seeing objects or events as being set up deliberately to convey a special or particular meaning to themselves
    • Thinking 'that the slightest careless movement on the part of another person had great personal meaning...increased significance'.
    • Thinking that Facebook posts or Internet blogs have hidden meanings pertaining to them.
    - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ideas_of_reference#Examples

    Or just general paranoia about aliens, government conspiracies, etc..​

    Delusion of control--that your thoughts or words are being influenced by some unconscious stimulus/response mechanism or compulsion determined by your environment, some pseudo-scientific mind-control "waves", by aliens, etc..

    Delusion of grandiosity--that you are special, famous, genius, possess some superior quality, etc.. Evince how may pseudo-scientists post to SciForums.

    Delusion of persecution--that there is a hidden conspiracy of government agencies, aliens, etc. that are "out to get you".

    Delusion of guilt--
    This is a false feeling of remorse or guilt of delusional intensity. A person may, for example, believe that he or she has committed some horrible crime and should be punished severely. Another example is a person who is convinced that he or she is responsible for some disaster (such as fire, flood, or earthquake) with which there can be no possible connection. - http://www.minddisorders.com/Br-Del/Delusions.html



    But here are some statistics about religion and delusion that directly refute your claim that religion is a primary factor.

    In the United States, a number of studies have examined religious delusions in patients with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. The first of these reported results of a small study of 41 psychotic patients in New York City, finding that 39% of those with schizophrenia and 22% of those with mania had religious delusions (Cothran & Harvey, 1986). In a much larger study of 1,136 psychiatric inpatients in the mid-western and eastern United States, 25% of patients with schizophrenia and 15% of those with bipolar disorder had religious delusions (Appelbaum et al., 1999). - http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?pid=S0101-60832007000700013&script=sci_arttext&tlng=en

    Religious themes in delusions are much less than the religious prevalence in the society for the very good reason that delusion is typically idiosyncratic.
     
  23. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    I'm merely reestablishing what I said, that atheism is a lack of belief in God. However you wanna twist that around is your choice. I'm not wasting my time playing your childish semantical games.

    Yes..belief in God is an example of a delusion. Just like if an adult still believed in Santa Claus. A being for whom there's actually more evidence than for God! lol!
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2013

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