The amount of self-delusion it takes to be a Christian is mind-numbing. But when self-delusion becomes falsehood, and the lies do harm, it’s time to have the courage to stand up and say NO. Mark Twain wrote, “A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.” Delusion and fiction find their power in the innate desires of humans. Desires are such, only because an individual feels there is something missing. None of us have the perfect life, or everything we want, so promises of having those things are seductive. Delusion allows us to forget what an often harsh reality offers, and this is the power of religious falsehood.
Delusion can stem from simple escapism, and may take many forms. It appears when people read novels, watch television, or go to movies—they become engrossed in another reality, and this allows them to escape their own. It’s exemplified when a stressed young woman takes Valium or smokes pot, while her boyfriend or husband can’t wait for the weekend, so he can go “get his drunk on”...when teenagers wear headphones around all day, play virtual reality games, join Sims communities; when otherwise practical adults spend hours playing Farmville on Facebook.These behaviors are all to be expected to a certain degree, but when they become severe and numerous or prolonged, they can fall into a psychological category of Escapism that is quite dangerous. Personality disorders, hoarding, stalking, and even killing, can be the result. Religion is the ultimate escapism. It’s a virtual world in the sky. It’s a group of like-minded people making overt efforts to be kind and supportive, it’s a guidebook, and someone to tell you what that guidebooks says and what it means, and how you should feel about it.