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  1. #21
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    Re: Are Theists Delusional?

    Quote Originally Posted by mican333 View Post
    I have to assume that that is a joke instead of a sincere rebuttal.

    I assume my point is taken?
    You assume correctly.
    abc

  2. #22
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    Re: Are Theists Delusional?

    Quote Originally Posted by Talthas View Post
    Read it again... I assure you, my reasoning is *not* circular. I will spell it out for you a little more explicitly:

    1) In order for a person to be considered delusional, one must persist in maintaining a delusion.

    2) In order for theists to be considered "delusional" for believing in God, one must establish that theism is a delusion.

    3) A delusion is defined as "persistent strong belief despite the presence of contradictory evidence"

    4) Since there exists no evidence to contradict the proposition that God exists, theism cannot be a delusion.

    5) Therefore, theists are not delusional because of their belief in God.

    Is this any clearer?
    If for some reason this debate continues, let me add that there is evidence to contradict the proposition that Santa exists. The Santa-and-God comparison is a false analogy. Just in case it didn't get spelled out more explicitly.
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  3. #23
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    Re: Are Theists Delusional?

    Why not change it to Christians? There is certainly evidence to the contrary for that.

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    Re: Are Theists Delusional?

    "Contrary evidence" means there is actual evidence that disproves. Christianity is as similarly unsupported as any other religion... but there is no contrary evidence that proves it untrue.

    There is evidence against Santa.
    The Signature Religion is the one true religion. I know this is true, because it says so right here in this signature.

  5. #25
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    Re: Are Theists Delusional?

    The fact is that only about 3% of the world's population are atheists and that most humans have been religious, to some extent, from their earliest recorded history.

    This indicates that belief in God, gods or some other higher power than humanity is not only 'sane', but an inherent and fundamental aspect of human nature.

    It would follow that if any group of humans could be considered to have an 'abnormal' thought process in this regard, it must be atheists.

    - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_atheism

  6. #26
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    Re: Are Theists Delusional?

    Quote Originally Posted by MyXenocide View Post
    Delusion: Psychiatry A false belief strongly held in spite of invalidating evidence, especially as a symptom of mental illness: delusions of persecution.

    So are theists delusional? I think the belief in God does fit perfectly into this definition of delusion. If this is correct, that would mean that theists have a mental illness, so why aren't they in an institution? An even more troubling thought is that the vast majority of the human race is delusional. What could possible cause such mass delusion? Is it a serious concern or is theism a fairly non-threatening or maybe even healthy delusion?
    So according to your definition, " false belief strongly held in spite of invalidating evidence". on ecould argue that love can not be validated , simply by pointing out the many examples in the world where hate is promiment. So, would that make one who believes they in love, delusional?

    "Invalidating eviidence", that there is no God? Really? How can one prove there is not?

    Proof for one, is not necessarily proof to another.

    Simply because one can not prove a God to you, does not mean that the burden of proof as to a Gods existance has not been met for another. Disagreeing, or even if some one is wrong in your opinion, is not delusional.


    As to why : "What could possible cause such mass delusion"?

    Belief in a God is not delusional, but it would be valid to ask why so many do believe.

    I find it quite facinating how so many have similiar beliefs. I see many common themes in very different religions.

    Some call it a " God Spot" on our brains. Then there is the doctrine of Innatism /nativism , or even Jungs collective sub councious.

    Innatism is a philosophical doctrine that holds that the mind is born with ideas/knowledge, and that therefore the mind is not a 'blank slate' at birth, as early empiricists such as John Locke claimed. It asserts therefore that not all knowledge is obtained from experience and the senses.

    Innate Ideas
    Analysts sometimes divide the philosophy of innatism into two areas:


    1.Knowledge innatism - this doctrine asserts that humans have access to knowledge that is possessed innately.
    2.Idea innatism (also known as concept innatism) - this doctrine asserts that humans have access to certain inborn ideas.
    ēKnowledge innatism seems to entail idea innatism.
    ēIdea innatism does not necessarily entail knowledge innatism, although this is debatable.
    An innatist might endorse an innatist account of ideas, or of knowledge, or of both ideas and knowledge

    The difference between innatism and nativism
    In general usage the terms innatism and nativism are synonymous as they both refer to notions of preexisting ideas present in the mind. However, more correctly innatism refers to the philosophy of Plato and Descartes who assumed that innate ideas and principles are placed in the human mind by a God or an equivalent being or process.

    Nativism represents an adaptation of this, grounded in the fields of genetics, cognitive psychology and psycholinguistics. Nativists hold that innate beliefs are in some way genetically programmed to arise in our mind, that is to say that innate beliefs are the phenotypes of certain genotypes that all humans have in common.
    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Innatism

    I subscribe to a combination of both, but with an added twist.

    I think, we existed prior to our conception in Spiritual form. Some of what we knew then, stays with us when we are born in physical form.

    This is how I explain to my self, the great similiarities between so many different religions. I think, they are simply branches of what we knew when we were with God prior to our physical being. This is why, I think, so many myths and legends are shared amongst all Religions.

    Is it delusional, to think and believe stuff that can not be proved to another?

    Of course not.

    What is delusional, is expecting all to think and be the same.

  7. #27
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    Re: Are Theists Delusional?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dr Gonzo View Post
    "Contrary evidence" means there is actual evidence that disproves. Christianity is as similarly unsupported as any other religion... but there is no contrary evidence that proves it untrue.

    There is evidence against Santa.
    What is the evidence against Santa?

    As for the evidence against Christianity, that is simple enough. All one has to do is find a claim in the Bible that contradicts with scientific facts then use Modus Tollens to make evidence against.

    1. If the Bible is true, then claim X is true.

    2. Claim X is not true as validated by science.

    3. Therefore, the Bible is not true.

    An example:

    After the suggestion in one of this siteís comments stating that it required more faith to be an atheist than a theist, because the non-existence of a deity can never be proven, I thought it would be fun to see if we can logically disprove the existence of ďGodĒ. I picked the Christian God because I am more familiar with the Christian faith than any other, Iíve read the bible and have previously lived with devout Christians. I feel qualified. So letís see where this goesÖ

    For this to work, we have to agree on the following two statements, and accept that Christians believe them to the true: -

    * God is infallible
    * The Bible is the true word of God

    These arenít outrageous statements, and in fact, have been echoed on this very blog numerous times in the comments.

    The two statements above are clearly interdependent. The Bible tells Christians that God is infallible, and Christians believe the Bible because they believe it was written by an infallible deity. Almost a self-fulfilling prophecy, almost. So the start of our logical deduction must be the Bible, so letís concentrate on that.

    Letís take the Christian Godís greatest act, creating the world and all who live on it (indirectly). The start of all this, on Godís own words: ďFor in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh dayĒ. Using genealogy, we can roughly estimate the age of the earth, as stated by the Bible, to be 6500 years. The very top estimate would be close to 10,000 years, but thatís a stretch. Science has proven that the earth is closer to 4.5 billion years old. Radiometric dating has shown us this, and has remained consistent with lunar and terrestrial samples. In other words, we havenít just tested this once in one situation, itís been extensively tested. This isnít a guess, or a hunch, thereís a substantial amount of evidence to back this up.

    And thatís the geological age of the earth. What about the creatures on the earth? We, as human beings, were created 6500 years ago, according to the Bible, starting with Adam and then Eve. The oldest discovered human fossil is approximately 1,300,000 (1.3 million) years old. That would have meant that humans lived on earth before God created either humans or the earth. In fact, depending on how much evidence you consider to be acceptable, and how you define us as a species, you could place humans at between 1.8 million and 130,000 years old. No one could sensibly claim that humans are less than 130,000 years old. There is simply too much evidence available for our inspection. Either way, much older than the Bibleís claims.

    Letís take another example. God decided that the earth needed cleansing, so he instructed Noah to gather up two of ever species to save. Everything other than Noah, his family (or part of his family) and the animals he chose to save would be killed. There are around 10 MILLION known species of animal on our planet. Male and female, that would be 20 million animals Noah saved. Iíve never seen a boat that big, even with modern engineering techniques. Noah also would have had to travel to different parts of the earth to collect the various animals. You rarely see a penguin and a scorpion living in the same location (zoos donít count). He then, after the waters had receded, would have had to return them to their original locations. You also have to question to environment on board Noahís Ark, an environment that could sustain animals that require intense heat and animals that require intense cold, as well as Noah and his family that required a more moderate climate. Impossible.

    Just so weíre clear, Iím establishing that that the Bible is inaccurate. Not just inaccurate, but massively inaccurate. There are more examples of course, some which make it clear that the author of the Bible thinks the world is flat, some which make it clear that the author thought the world did not move and then there are more considered examples, such as the value of pi being unknown at the time (surely God would have known it!?!).

    So this is my statement, logically derived from the above.

    ďThe Bible is inaccurate Ė therefore God is fallible Ė therefore the definition of God is incorrect Ė therefore God does not exist.Ē


    To add a touch of justification to this, letís break it down. We know the Bible is inaccurate, in fact the Bible is contradictory within its own pages. The Bible is the only place that defines God, and God is defined as being infallible. The Bible is also stated as being of Godís word (albeit written by man, see below). Seeing as we know the only source that defines the Christian God is inaccurate, and at least part of the definition is inaccurate (infallible), we can not trust the remainder of the definition. Therefore the definition of God in invalid and God does not exist.

    There will come arguments from Christians that while God is infallible, and the Bible is the true word of God, the Bible was in fact written by man, who is fallible. This does not hold up when you examine the scale and volume of inaccuracies held within the Bible. I can understand man rounding down the value of pi, for example, but to get the entire creation story wrong is a bit of a stretch. Likewise, given that God is all powerful, he surely would not have left an obviously inaccurate account of his greatest work go to press, or was that just another sign of his fallibility?

    I think Iíve made a stronger argument, based on Christian beliefs, for the non existence of God than there ever has been for the existence of such a deity.

  8. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by dunrich View Post
    What is delusional, is expecting all to think and be the same.
    Nice.

    I find this question rather played out myself.

    Is the 'hardcore' atheist delusional for his belief that there is no God.. ?
    "We are the paradox to unite all duality.." ~Unknown

  9. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Soren View Post
    Why not change it to Christians? There is certainly evidence to the contrary for that.
    I don't agree with that statement, but I will say that imo king James onlyist's and those who hold the bible as inerrant, are.
    "We are the paradox to unite all duality.." ~Unknown

  10. #30
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    Re: Are Theists Delusional?

    Quote Originally Posted by Soren View Post
    As for the evidence against Christianity, that is simple enough. All one has to do is find a claim in the Bible that contradicts with scientific facts then use Modus Tollens to make evidence against.

    1. If the Bible is true, then claim X is true.

    2. Claim X is not true as validated by science.

    3. Therefore, the Bible is not true.

    An example:
    This is a very weak argument for several reasons:

    1) The Bible is interpreted in many different ways, and not all of them are literal. Something that is not factually true may have been intended to represent a moral truth that does not base its intrinsic value in the factual events that are used to expand upon it.

    2) Not all Christian denominations recognize that the Bible is totally inerrant in every part and particular, and almost none of them would ever acknowledge the preposterous position that every single literal word in the Bible must be factually true in order for the work to be the inspired Word of God. Also, which translation are you working from when you are getting your material for assertions? Translation may have altered the meaning or even the intent of the words used to describe an event.

    3) The people in the time period described by the Bible had very limited understanding of science and the physical world. Their descriptions of events are frequently metaphoric or figurative, and when they describe physical events, they are limited in their vocabulary by the practical experiences and understanding of the time.

    I could go on, but these three are enough. In short, you totally lack the necessary requirements to "prove Christianity is false" simply by disproving a single element of the Bible.

    Furthermore, this only focuses on the Christian god as you understand that people believe in Him. The OP is about "theists" in general.
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  11. #31
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    Re: Are Theists Delusional?

    Quote Originally Posted by Soren View Post
    What is the evidence against Santa?

    As for the evidence against Christianity, that is simple enough. All one has to do is find a claim in the Bible that contradicts with scientific facts then use Modus Tollens to make evidence against.

    1. If the Bible is true, then claim X is true.

    2. Claim X is not true as validated by science.

    3. Therefore, the Bible is not true.

    An example:
    To piggyback on what Talthas said, there are a few more issues:

    1. The logic of True-Bible-True-Claim doesn't stand. The claim can be true in the face of an errant Bible. The claim can also be false in the face of an inerrant Bible.

    2. "Claim X" has never been invalidated. That's the entire point. It's never been validated, but it has never been invalidated either.

    3. The conclusion "Therefore the Bible isn't true" doesn't even follow from your original premise, "if the Bible is true then claim x is true." It's kind of like you said "all dogs are black, and that table is black (based on no evidence), therefore that table is a dog."

    I firmly believe Christianity to be a load of bunk, and I believe the jury is still out on the whole God thing... but poorly constructed logic -- even if I agree with the conclusion -- is still poorly constructed logic. The conclusion does not match the premise, nor the support.
    Last edited by Dr Gonzo; February 11th, 2011 at 01:10 AM.
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  12. #32
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    Re: Are Theists Delusional?

    Quote Originally Posted by MyXenocide View Post
    Challenge to support a claim.What criterion, that can be applied to God, makes him part of reality?
    A well documented history captured in the Bible which many Christians believe is the word of God.

    No other fictional character that people might believe in will have a book like the Bible to back it up with.

    So no, Christians/Theists in this case is not delusional, they simply have faith and it certainly will not be right to lock them up because they have faith.
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  13. #33
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    Re: Are Theists Delusional?

    As for the evidence against Christianity, that is simple enough. All one has to do is find a claim in the Bible that contradicts with scientific facts then use Modus Tollens to make evidence against.

    1. If the Bible is true, then claim X is true.

    2. Claim X is not true as validated by science.

    3. Therefore, the Bible is not true.

    An example:

    After the suggestion in one of this site’s comments stating that it required more faith to be an atheist than a theist, because the non-existence of a deity can never be proven, I thought it would be fun to see if we can logically disprove the existence of “God”. I picked the Christian God because I am more familiar with the Christian faith than any other, I’ve read the bible and have previously lived with devout Christians. I feel qualified. So let’s see where this goes…

    For this to work, we have to agree on the following two statements, and accept that Christians believe them to the true: -

    * God is infallible
    * The Bible is the true word of God

    These aren’t outrageous statements, and in fact, have been echoed on this very blog numerous times in the comments.

    The two statements above are clearly interdependent. The Bible tells Christians that God is infallible, and Christians believe the Bible because they believe it was written by an infallible deity. Almost a self-fulfilling prophecy, almost. So the start of our logical deduction must be the Bible, so let’s concentrate on that.

    Let’s take the Christian God’s greatest act, creating the world and all who live on it (indirectly). The start of all this, on God’s own words: “For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day”. Using genealogy, we can roughly estimate the age of the earth, as stated by the Bible, to be 6500 years. The very top estimate would be close to 10,000 years, but that’s a stretch. Science has proven that the earth is closer to 4.5 billion years old. Radiometric dating has shown us this, and has remained consistent with lunar and terrestrial samples. In other words, we haven’t just tested this once in one situation, it’s been extensively tested. This isn’t a guess, or a hunch, there’s a substantial amount of evidence to back this up.

    And that’s the geological age of the earth. What about the creatures on the earth? We, as human beings, were created 6500 years ago, according to the Bible, starting with Adam and then Eve. The oldest discovered human fossil is approximately 1,300,000 (1.3 million) years old. That would have meant that humans lived on earth before God created either humans or the earth. In fact, depending on how much evidence you consider to be acceptable, and how you define us as a species, you could place humans at between 1.8 million and 130,000 years old. No one could sensibly claim that humans are less than 130,000 years old. There is simply too much evidence available for our inspection. Either way, much older than the Bible’s claims.

    Let’s take another example. God decided that the earth needed cleansing, so he instructed Noah to gather up two of ever species to save. Everything other than Noah, his family (or part of his family) and the animals he chose to save would be killed. There are around 10 MILLION known species of animal on our planet. Male and female, that would be 20 million animals Noah saved. I’ve never seen a boat that big, even with modern engineering techniques. Noah also would have had to travel to different parts of the earth to collect the various animals. You rarely see a penguin and a scorpion living in the same location (zoos don’t count). He then, after the waters had receded, would have had to return them to their original locations. You also have to question to environment on board Noah’s Ark, an environment that could sustain animals that require intense heat and animals that require intense cold, as well as Noah and his family that required a more moderate climate. Impossible.

    Just so we’re clear, I’m establishing that that the Bible is inaccurate. Not just inaccurate, but massively inaccurate. There are more examples of course, some which make it clear that the author of the Bible thinks the world is flat, some which make it clear that the author thought the world did not move and then there are more considered examples, such as the value of pi being unknown at the time (surely God would have known it!?!).

    So this is my statement, logically derived from the above.

    “The Bible is inaccurate – therefore God is fallible – therefore the definition of God is incorrect – therefore God does not exist.”

    To add a touch of justification to this, let’s break it down. We know the Bible is inaccurate, in fact the Bible is contradictory within its own pages. The Bible is the only place that defines God, and God is defined as being infallible. The Bible is also stated as being of God’s word (albeit written by man, see below). Seeing as we know the only source that defines the Christian God is inaccurate, and at least part of the definition is inaccurate (infallible), we can not trust the remainder of the definition. Therefore the definition of God in invalid and God does not exist.

    There will come arguments from Christians that while God is infallible, and the Bible is the true word of God, the Bible was in fact written by man, who is fallible. This does not hold up when you examine the scale and volume of inaccuracies held within the Bible. I can understand man rounding down the value of pi, for example, but to get the entire creation story wrong is a bit of a stretch. Likewise, given that God is all powerful, he surely would not have left an obviously inaccurate account of his greatest work go to press, or was that just another sign of his fallibility?

    I think I’ve made a stronger argument, based on Christian beliefs, for the non existence of God than there ever has been for the existence of such a deity.
    Sorry, I could not find where your quote came from.

    Some how the argument has gone from belief in a God is dillusional, to a description assuming all Christians believe that the Bible is inerrant and infallable, and that any mistakes in the Bible, negates every thing in it.

    First off, I do not believe the Bible to be inerrant, nor infallable, nor " written by God'.

    I am reminded of Vincent Bugliosi the Prosecutor againt Charles Manson, and author, and how he instructed Jurrors on how to view circumstancial evidence.

    One can not view it as one does a chain, where if one link breaks, all of it flies apart. One must view it as a rope, if the Prosecuation fails to convince a jury of one piece of evidence as being truth, that does not mean all other circumstancial evidence is also lacking truth.

    When viewing it as a rope, a few strands break, but it can still pull a load.

    When I read Pattons , A Soldiers Strory, I as a Canadian whose Father served , could spot many innaccuracies in his story, But does this mean, every thing he said, was a lie? No, of course not.

    I am not a Hindu, but find truth in the Veda and Bhagavad Gita, I not a Muslim but find truth in the Quoran. I do not view the Bible at all as do many of my fellow Christians. But I still find truth in what I think is a very flawed work.

    At my Grand Dads funeral, I was ammused at how some of my cousins, had mixed in stories he had told as a joke, as being real and how some stories he had related had "grown". But does that mean my naive cousins were delusional for thinking the jokes he had told, were the truth?

    No, I can view them as naive, lacking his sense of humour, not being able to tell when he had been pulling their leg, but that does not make one delusional.

    So, even though I disagree with many Christians about the Bible, I can not call them delusional. Any more than one can call me delusional for believing as I do, or , an Athiest delusional for what they think.

    Also, proving that a book followed by some theists, is inaccurate, does not address the claim of this thread that assumes all Theists are delusional.

    So, is cliaming that the Bible has inacuracies, proof that all Theists are delusional?

    I am not sure how I would diagnose that assumption.

    This assumption is based on many other assumptions.

    -that all Christians do believe the Bible is inerrant and inallable

    -that because one book has innacuracies, all theists of every religion are also dellusional

    - that because there are some errors in the Bible, that one must throw it all out

    There is no validity or logic to that argument at all.

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    Re: Are Theists Delusional?

    Quote Originally Posted by Soren View Post
    What is the evidence against Santa?

    As for the evidence against Christianity, that is simple enough. All one has to do is find a claim in the Bible that contradicts with scientific facts then use Modus Tollens to make evidence against.

    1. If the Bible is true, then claim X is true.

    2. Claim X is not true as validated by science.
    How has science validated that claim X is not true?

    Or are you saying that that which science has not validated at true is not true? If so, that's a huge fallacy. There are plenty of things that science could not validate in the past that we know are true today. Likewise, if God exists, science could validate God's existence in the future.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Aspoestertjie View Post
    A well documented history captured in the Bible which many Christians believe is the word of God.

    No other fictional character that people might believe in will have a book like the Bible to back it up with.

    So no, Christians/Theists in this case is not delusional, they simply have faith and it certainly will not be right to lock them up because they have faith.
    It almost sounds as though you are suggesting that theists without a text to call the 'word of God' are somehow invalid in their beliefs and in jeopardy of being considered delusional..

    Is that the only factor you can choose that apparently makes God a part of reality?

    To me it was an odd question to begin with since a massive part of reality is perception anyway..
    "We are the paradox to unite all duality.." ~Unknown

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    Re: Are Theists Delusional?

    Quote Originally Posted by Aspoestertjie View Post
    A well documented history captured in the Bible which many Christians believe is the word of God.

    No other fictional character that people might believe in will have a book like the Bible to back it up with.

    So no, Christians/Theists in this case is not delusional, they simply have faith and it certainly will not be right to lock them up because they have faith.
    So your criteria for something being a part of reality and not fantasy is the following?

    1. An old book that describes said entity.

    2. Many people believe in said entity.

    Santa has been around as long as the bible and many people, granted children, believe that he exists. Therefore by your criteria Santa is part of reality and people would not be delusional to believe in him.

    ---------- Post added at 09:41 PM ---------- Previous post was at 09:40 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by Shakti View Post
    To me it was an odd question to begin with since a massive part of reality is perception anyway..
    ahh, good point.
    abc

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    Re: Are Theists Delusional?

    Quote Originally Posted by MyXenocide View Post
    Santa has been around as long as the bible
    If you really believe this, it's no wonder that you are still harping on about the rest of this topic. Do you even understand what was written previously? Are you familiar at all with the history of the Bible, or of Santa Claus, for that matter? And you're basing your argument on the beliefs of children. I'm not sure I want to continue trying to get through to you.
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    Re: Are Theists Delusional?

    Quote Originally Posted by MyXenocide View Post
    So your criteria for something being a part of reality and not fantasy is the following?

    1. An old book that describes said entity.

    2. Many people believe in said entity.

    How do you define existence?

    Sense-perception, logical existence, rational/reasoned existence are some of the ways. However, it's tricky to define in a precise sense. (http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/existence/)

    I submit that, based on the assumption that the universe operates upon a consistent set of principles, that existence is predicated on compliance with universal principles. Said universal principles must necessarily be discoverable.

    So, in other words, for a deity to exist, he must logically be a part of the natural ordering of the universe. He cannot operate outside of the natural laws of the universe unless the natural operation of the universe is subjected to said deity's whims.

    If this is true, then either A) nothing is scientifically testable because God (whatever that means) can change the results whenever He wants, or B) God (whatever that means) is a testable, provable entity that science will eventually quantify the nature and properties of in due course.

    I'm not sure there's really any other options.

    However, Talthas' whole argument misses the fact that there is an overwhelming lack of evidence that a deity exists. So, his third and fourth supposition of, "A delusion is defined as 'persistent strong belief despite the presence of contradictory evidence'," and "Since there exists no evidence to contradict the proposition that God exists, theism cannot be a delusion," fails to appreciate that "contradictory evidence" also includes a preponderant lack of evidence substantiating the delusional claim.

    It's like Ricky Gervais said, I'm not going to run around screaming, "Prove I can't fly! Prove I can't fly!" Everyone is going to look at me and tell me to prove I can fly. At this point, the burden of proof really is upon the theists to provide something more substantial than vague hand-waving that a deity exists.
    "... freedom is not, as we are told, a liberty for every man to do what he lists but a liberty to dispose, and order as he lists, his person, actions, possessions, and his whole property, within the allowance of those laws under which he is, and therein not to be subject to the arbitrary will of another, but freely follow his own." -- John Locke, Second Treatise on Government

  19. #39
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    Re: Are Theists Delusional?

    Quote Originally Posted by KevinBrowning View Post
    The fact is that only about 3% of the world's population are atheists and that most humans have been religious, to some extent, from their earliest recorded history.

    This indicates that belief in God, gods or some other higher power than humanity is not only 'sane', but an inherent and fundamental aspect of human nature.

    It would follow that if any group of humans could be considered to have an 'abnormal' thought process in this regard, it must be atheists.

    - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_atheism
    Going by this line of reasoning, if most people believed the Earth was flat, those who think it's spherical would be rightly accused of having an abnormal thought process. Equally, if most people believedn in werewolves and vampires, those who don't would be rightly accused of having an abnormal thought process.

    I entirely disagree with your claim, KB.

    By the way, of the 7 billion folks on Earth, the majority don't believe that Jesus Christ is a deity (only 2 billion do). That would suggest, by your own standards, that thinking that Jesus is a deity is in fact abnormal.

    ---------- Post added at 06:28 PM ---------- Previous post was at 06:10 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by Talthas View Post
    Read it again... I assure you, my reasoning is *not* circular. I will spell it out for you a little more explicitly:

    1) In order for a person to be considered delusional, one must persist in maintaining a delusion.

    2) In order for theists to be considered "delusional" for believing in God, one must establish that theism is a delusion.

    3) A delusion is defined as "persistent strong belief despite the presence of contradictory evidence"

    4) Since there exists no evidence to contradict the proposition that God exists, theism cannot be a delusion.

    5) Therefore, theists are not delusional because of their belief in God.

    Is this any clearer?
    This is true only to the extent that theism per se is not a delusion.

    However, insofar as many theists are concern, their theism is in fact a delusion.

    As an extreme example, take a schizophrenic patient who claims to know that God exists based on the way the hot shower functions. You turn the hot water knob and hot water comes out. Bingo, that's a miracle, it's evidence for God. Clearly this is a delusional thought process. And yet, there are many patients who do hold such (and similar) view/s.

    But then let's move to a slightly less obviously crazy example and onto a much more common one. There are millions of people who claim to know that God exists based on their belief that those who pray for healing have an increased chance of being (miraculously) healed. This is delusional because it involves a congnitively flawed process. It's very similar in fact to the above example of the schizophrenic patient.

    While there certainly do exist many cases of unexplained (by doctors) recovery in patients, there is absolutely no evidence as to how many of those have been prayed for. Without this evidence, one cannot rationally assert that prayer in any way increases one's odds of recovery. Anyone's claim of the "my auntie was sick and she prayed and got better, against all odds" type, while so common, is just as irrational as the schizophrenic's reasoning in the above example. Note that I deliberately chose not to complicate things by adding in the placebo factor. It's not necessary for the discussion.

    Are these examples of delusional behaviour, as per the OP's definition? Well, that depends how we go about interpreting the term "evidence to the contrary".

    But whether technically delusional or not, both claims appear to involve a cognitive distortion of some kind. They involve a serious error in perceiving the world and coming to conclusions.
    "I am against religion because it teaches us to be satisfied with not understanding the world" - Richard Dawkins

    "If you could rationalize with Religious people there would be no more Religious people" -Gregory House

  20. #40
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    Re: Are Theists Delusional?

    The best evidence against the proposition "God X exists" is the complete lack of evidence in support of that proposition.

    Any positive description of a state of affairs in the world that is entirely unevidenced is almost certain to be false. This is because the number of ways that the world might be but isn't, vastly outnumbers the one way the world actually is.

    Take my attire at the moment, for example. I might be wearing a red shirt or a blue shirt or no shirt or a green pajama top or a coat of armor or any one of a large number of other possibilities. But the fact is, I am dressed at the moment only the way in which I am dressed at the moment and in no other way.

    Only evidence for one of the propositions that describe my current attire can make that proposition any more likely to be true than any of the other of the many possibly true propositions that can be generated to describe that same state of affairs. Without evidence, the probability that any possibly true, positive description of the world is actually true, is one divided by a very large number -- IOW, not very probable at all.

 

 
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