Have you ever seen Harvey, starring James Stewart? In the film, Stewart plays Elwood P. Dowd, who has an invisible friend, a tall, anthropomorphic rabbit. Nobody else can see the rabbit, so they are convinced that Dowd is a looney.
I was, of course, struck by the amazing similarity between Harvey and God. So why is it that Dowd is delusional but theists are not? Apparently the majority get to write the definitions.
I once asked a psychologist if someone who had an invisible friend was delusional. She said yes. I then asked if that made theists delusional. She weaseled a little, but admitted that in some ways you might be able to make that argument.
Scroll down to my article of December 31st, FSTDT: December 2006, and look at the heading “Bizarre Creationist Assertion of the Month”. Hover your mouse over the “delusional fantasies” link. You should see the following tool tip appear:
Wikipedia article. Read the original definition. Note how the modern definition includes cultural context. Cop-out! The first definition is more accurate.
(That link points to this Wikipedia article about delusion.)
I’ve been planning to expand the above comment into a larger article, but it looks like God is for Suckers! beat me to the punch. It’s an excellent article, and I recommend that you run over there and read it.
I was planning to excerpt some choice paragraphs, but it’s a short article, and every single paragraph is concise, well-written, and contributes significantly to the whole. It’s actually a good model for good writing everywhere, blog or not.
I’ll quote just this one small piece:
Thus, religious beliefs can properly be described as a delusion, irrespective of the fact that they may be culturally sustained.
Now go on over to God is for Suckers! and enjoy a good read.