Comment: I have claimed that when one applies the American Psychiatric Association's symptoms for Delusion Disorder it applies to religious beliefs. Here is a reaction I received and my answer to that rebuttal. It is it long, but I hope you read it to the end. I love to hear your reaction."
Here is my opinion to your rebuttal. I hope you read it to the end as well since it is very lengthy and I think it might actually be longer than your OP. Respectfully submitted. Even though your post can't be responded to (I just tried) I figured/assumed/hoped that my response would still be permissible. Thanks.
I’m taking the time to read the article and respond as I read it and reading it all the way through so I want to put that out there.
1-“Take the simple case of belief in Santa Claus, "He sees you when your sleeping, he knows when you awake, he knows when you are bad or good, so be good for goodness sake". This parody on the Christian god, historically invented to control behavior, based on the actual mixture of several cultures is an example of a delusion believed by many children.” First, Santa Claus is not the Christian God, he’s an acknowledged fairy tale that millions see no harm in believing in. So you’re assertion that Santa Claus is the Christian God is unfounded. If you DO assert that, where is Santa in the bible? The bible doesn’t speak of a Santa, but a Savior and Redeemer, big difference.
My reply: Santa is partially based on St Nicholas, a Catholic Bishop who is still “Sinterklaas” in the Netherlands. I also did not state or assert that he is the Christian God but the parallel is unmistakable and I only used him as an example of a child’s delusion and nothing else. There are other child delusions in Germany, an invisible friend is also often a child delusion and I only used it as an example that the child outgrows delusions at the approx. age of 8. Of course Santa has nothing to do with Christianity, even Muslims children I know believe in Santa.
2-“because the child starts questioning such thing as flying reindeer and bringing gifts to every child in one day, so they shed their delusional beliefs. A person who cannot do that and keeps believing in Santa would indeed suffer from a clinical case of DD. The parallel with religious beliefs is astonishing.” I agree that “A person who cannot do that and keeps believing in Santa would indeed suffer from a clinical case of DD”, but will only stipulate it’s possible since I’m not a clinical psychiatrist. My only background in psychiatry is weak (at best) relating from helping veterans with PTSD as a medically retired Marine. Unless you’re a clinical psychiatrist as well, you can’t factually assert that without the proper training, but you can state an opinion, which is different than a clinical fact.
My reply: Any child that keeps believing in their child hood fantasies would be suffering of a Delusional Disorder, Check with a psychiatrist
3-Dogma can be defined as – “a principle or set of principles laid down by an authority as incontrovertibly true.”
Delusional – “characterized by or holding idiosyncratic beliefs or impressions that are contradicted by reality or rational argument, typically as a symptom of mental disorder.”
In order for Christianity (or other religions) to be confirmed and concluded as factually wrong would mean that everyone (over a million) people that eye witnessed the events of Jesus, his life, death, resurrection would have ALL the same delusions about the SAME person. Continuing….
My Reply: Many biblical scholars, religious as well as non-religious ones have stated that none of the people who wrote the new testament were eyewitnesses but wrote “eyewitness reports”. “Over a million people ”witnessed the event of Jesus? You might not be aware that many scholars question that he is an actual historical figure but a compilation of older myths such as the “Horus” myth of Egypt and also that the resurrection is a repeat of older tales. The whole New Testament is a “hear-say” report, and is a compilations of mythical older stories. Believing those as being actually true could also be called a delusion.
4-Idiosyncratic - relating to idiosyncrasy; peculiar or individual.
Idiosyncracy – “a mode of behavior or way of thought peculiar to an individual.” Again, millions of people exhibit that same behavior and usually it refers to a negate behavior, but I DO concede the general blanked of ANY behavior, good or bad.
My reply: There is indeed reason to believe that we have the capability of creating delusions in our genes and that it was an advantage in the evolution of small tribes to counter the uncertainty of the not- understood happenings by having a God in charge and that humans, by making rituals and offerings could influence nature in some way. (again I cannot write book here but you can find a lot of information if you seriously want to question your belief) so indeed we are all prone to delusions, some slightly, some greatly.
5-“Christianity does not burn witches any more”. Christianity never did burn witches. A serious lack of interpreting of scriptures prompted a devastating belief that witches HAD to be burned at the stake (i.e Salem witch trials). There are GROSS atrocities carried out by Christians and while I’m not proud to admit that, I refuse to insult anyone’s intelligence (including my own) in arguing against it when there’s clear documentation (regardless of how old it is) that the witch trials DID indeed occur. That should show my objectivity and at least a bit of my lack of bias.
My reply:Have you studied the Christian inquisition of the Middle Ages in Europe? You mentioned a “serious lack of interpreting of the scriptures”, thanks for admitting that it has happened at least once. It has happened many times and is still happening, that’s why there are so many divisions and denomination in Christianity.
6_….the rest of the above quote continues, “benign, compared to Islamic extremists, but still is delusional.”
Benign - gentle; kindly.
Delusional – “characterized by or holding idiosyncratic beliefs or impressions that are contradicted by reality or rational argument, typically as a symptom of mental disorder.” I mention it again since it’s used. In order to assert/conclude that Christianity is delusional, you’d have to provide evidence (scholarly) that Christianity is indeed holding to the idiosyncratic beliefs contradicted by reality. Since this is your assertion, you would have to prove that the events in the bible did not take place. Jesus did not exist, minister, die and rise on the 3d day. If your assertion could possibly be proven, then you might be able to assert a delusional conclusion, but ONLY if you’re qualified clinically to do so. A mere rejection of events or words spoken is nowhere NEAR a clinically proven diagnosis. If you were to prove that in one person, you would have to prove that for the remaining population that also witnessed the events and documented their eye witness accounts for hand.
My reply: I see you do not follow the research by prominent biblical scholars who indeed question the whole reality of the Jesus story and that the writers are not witness of any of the story and that the story resembles many older myth from other past religions. You dismiss that kind of scholarship because of cognitive dissonance. Start you research in Wikipedia, not that ‘Wiki” is always correct but it has a marvelous list of references at the end of each article, It takes a lot of time but if you’re really want to separate facts from fiction and delusions, it is worth it
7-“however the existence of a spirit or soul is also a man-made delusion, which can be traced back in antiquity.” This assertion, again, requires a professional/clinical psychiatrist to assess/conclude that everyone that has this believe is clinically delusional.
“The spirit which enters the baby on it's first breath and leaves the body on it's last breath to rejoin the Great Spirit (the atmosphere) has mistakenly become a delusional entity.” In order to assert/conclude this, you have to acknowledge not only that the ‘great spirit’ existed, but that you have actually assessed ANY ‘great spirit’ or read the scholarly conclusions of another clinical professional to conclude that ANY ‘great spirit’ has mistakenly become a delusional entity. You have to have a clinical conclusion of what a ‘delusional entity’ is as a control to compare my ‘delusion’ to.
My reply: Again I cannot write a book here but spirit is derived from the Latin “Spiritus” is not a coincidence. It means “breath”. Not only the bible is full of statements that “breath” means “Spirit”, God blows his breath in Adams nose, but it is found in many other religions, Native lores even in the Majan culture, an indication of its historical meaning (you can check my website for more explanation. Spirits as “ghost” or other entities are indeed also delusional.
8-“The word "Spiritual" has no real meaning.”
Spiritual – relating to or affecting the human spirit or soul as opposed to material or physical things. This is the meaning found on google. I can quote a meaning from Webster’s dictionary if you like (Webster, named after Daniel Webster, a founding forefather who wrote the very first one that obviously bares his name). So to conclude that ‘spiritual’ has no real meaning would actually show an assertion of bias into the rebuttal, making the rebuttal lose credibility since there shouldn’t be ANY bias in a rebuttal that is supposed to be based on facts.
My reply: I explained before that spirit means breath and gradually got distorted in meaning and understanding that “spirituality” not really has any meaning except of what we think it means, including a vague meaning of reality (you are not going to accept this but I explain that much farther, with references, on my website). The word indeed is so ingrained that of course it is in any dictionary. So is “Telekinesis” and other concepts that don’t exist.
9-“Hallucinations, visual and auditory experience are indeed not symptoms of DD but when one believes that they are real manifestations of a Deity, it is.” So you’re saying that hallucinations are only resulting from manifestations of a deity, THAT is where hallucinations ARE symptoms of DD?? Is that a professional/clinical conclusion??
Hallucinations - an experience involving the apparent perception of something not present. I know many Marines who are NOT Christians and who have NO real manifestations of a deity and that ARE INDEED CLINICALLY concluded to be hallucinating. Example, a Marine hallucinates about a Marine that was killed in Iraq and believes that he actually sees that dead Marine in front of him when he was actually there when that dead Marine was killed, but is convinced that this dead Marine is standing front of him. There is absolutely no reference to ANY deity, but a clinical response has been given thousands of times concluding that this is a hallucination. Nothing Divine about a dead Marine standing in front of a Marine that’s convinced he’s standing there.
My reply: No, you are deliberate distorting my point. Any hallucination is not a DD unless you believe it to be real. There are people who believe they are Napoleon or Hitler. When you recognize that your hallucination is just that, you do not suffer from DD. Yes, a professional/ clinical conclusion. Look it up.
10-“The recent case of a judge who interfered in a jury's deliberation because God told him the accused was not guilty, is a prime example of DD”. Again, without an official/professional/clinical diagnosis from a credentialed professional, this is again, a display of bias because of a disagreement about what the judge said. I’m NOT saying the judge was right, I’m saying you have no grounds to offer a professional/clinical opinion on this specific judge.
“the holding of beliefs or impressions that are contradicted by reality or rational argument".” Again, you assert this, so you have to personally conclude or provide scholarly/professional documentation that every single Christian that holds this belief is ‘delusional’.
My reply: Do you believe God spoke to the judge? I guess you did not read the case although it was all over facebook. Again, ask any professional that if the Judge believed it was really God who spoke to him, whether that qualifies as a delusion.
11-So my assessment of your rebuttal to the article or whatever it was is completely unfounded based not only on bias, but on a lack of understanding of who my Christian God is (with the assertion of Santa being my god) and the lack of professional/clinical evidence to support your ‘conclusion’ which is actually only an opinion because of the bias and lack of understanding of who my God actually is because you apparently think it is Santa, when it’s actually Jesus Christ. You wanted opinions and this is my respectful opinion. No tone inserted, just calmly stated observations. Thank you for your time IF you took the time to read through my post as you requested that others did with yours.
My reply:I appreciate your assessment but before you declare it unfounded and based on bias (which I claim your rebuttal is) you need to do some more reading before you state your Christians beliefs as facts. I was brought up in the Calvinistic Dutch Reformed Church and when I grew up I first questioned “Sinterklaas” and later Jesus. I have put over 60 years in learning about religion, archeology, neuro-science, DNA research and many other disciplines related to religion, and published a book about it. I am not going to advertise it here, you can find it if you want to. My full name is Benjamin Vande Weerdhof Andrews. Google it.