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.

Harvey. Buy from Powell's.

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.

One Response to “Delusion”

  1. The Old Git Says:

    Thanks for your appreciation and recommendation for my article on religious belief as delusion on God Is For Suckers. However, having visited your site and read your posts, I can truthfully say that I haven’t enjoyed myself so much in a long time. Excellent work, please keep it up.