Now, I know that the only thing we technically have in common is that we are rejecting unfounded assertions concerning a supreme being who transcends the observable laws of nature, but atheism for me is more than a disgust for a God who murdered his own son to save us.

For me it is about defining the universe in terms that can be proven through observation. To accept knowledge without evidence is the start of delusion.

Some atheists are under the idea that some people require delusion...that they gain some tangible benefit from defining the universe in false or misleading ways.

So is it better for a rape victim to deny the event or to face her attacker? Is it better for a widow to hope to meet her husband again or to accept the finality of existence inherent in life? Is it better for an athlete to believe his victory was a gift from a God, and not purely the result of his genetics and training? Is it better to believe your ex-girlfriend really loves you and would come around if you could say the right thing, or to accept that her rejection was simply that? Can we accept our suffering without lies?

I can understand that emotional comfort can be derived by softening the blows of the cold universe, but I am not so sure that that comfort is helpful in the long run. Making decisions with reality as your only guide will lead to decisions that will not conflict with reality. Making decisions under a delusion will sooner or later conflict with reality, time and time again.

These conflicts, in my opinion, are more harmful than the one the delusion was originally created to avoid. Each time you are forced to maintain your delusion in the face of evidence, the void widens, and from that void I don't think anything good comes.

Often those who finally drop their delusions feel 'liberated', and I believe this is feeling comes from bridging the gap, and closing the void, between our understanding of the universe, and what the universe reveals to us in everyday life.

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"Ignorance is bliss"
I don't think humans as a group, can function without a little delusion.

The value of money is based on a shared delusion that ink printed paper is more valuable than the same piece of paper without any ink on it. Now I know that's a gross simplification, but the basic idea is there. We all agree that money is currency to buy something, and true it is backed by governments, but currency is a delusion that all countries all agree to honor.

My question is more how much delusion do you want to put up with in your life.
Theres a lot of current psychology research devoted to the area of unrealistically positive self serving illusions. For example most people believe they are a better driver than the average driver - which is not possible (more than 50% cant be above the mean!). Likewise we overestimate how good looking we are & how great our future will be.
Apparantly this rosily-distorted view of ourselves is actually good for us (motivates us and wards off depression) but only if it is not too far removed from reality. So the jury is still out re speaking with invisible people living in the sky.
Is delusion useful?

Of course,humans as a species are delusional about a lot of things,perhaps starting with the notions that we are "objective" and "rational" in any consistent way.

Are religious beliefs useful? My position is that of structural functionalism so argue that all human institution and organisations serve some function(s). I also argue that generally speaking, religious beliefs are rational,and logically valid in context. (but mistaken)

'Logically valid' and 'true' are by no means necessarily the same. An argument based on a false premise or on incomplete evidence can be perfectly valid but the conclusion false.

EG: Fred Mogg 10,000BCE hears thunder for the first time : "SHIT! What the fuck was THAT?"

Fred then sees lighting for the first time: "WOW! What THAT? Oh look,it just hit Bill Ogg,he's gone all crisp and kinda dead. Mmm it's not A B C---Z .Therefore it MUST be an angry god!" That's called "inductive reasoning" so beloved of Sherlock Holmes.

When Bill Ogg becomes Bill The Plumber ,and begins arguing about Aliens in UFO's and diverse conspiracy theories,we feel all intellectually superior and call him delusional when in fact he's probably only ignorant..




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