Is Believing in God a Delusion?

September, 2021 Barak Lurie

Today, you hear a lot about people claiming that believing in God is a delusion. In fact, there is a title of a book called The God Delusion. But indeed, is it a delusion? Let’s talk about delusions, first of all, and see whether or not they’re actually healthy.

If you had a friend who said that she was the Queen of England, and she’s not the Queen of England, you would say, that’s not very healthy for you. Bad things are going to happen to her in terms of not being able to work — in terms of not being able to have relationships or a family for that matter. It’s unhealthy.

Likewise, if someone thought that he still had a job that he doesn’t have… he’s been fired a long time ago. He’s not moving on with his life and that’s unhealthy for him as well.

Or a guy thinks that he’s still with his girlfriend and he’s chasing her and even stalking her. That’s not healthy for him nor for her. They both need to move on.

These are delusions. We understand that, right?

Yet people call believing in God a delusion. But this particular delusion is an interesting one. Isn’t it? Because it turns out that by believing a God, a great number of wonderful things happen, right? You have a sense of purpose. Your health seems to improve quite a bit. In believing in God, you end up having a stronger family. You’re less engaged in the issues of worry and fear. You are not obsessed with drugs or alcohol. It’s far more likely that you won’t engage in crime, for example.

A lot of positive things flow from a belief, a sincere belief, in God and going to church or a synagogue as the case may be.

These are healthy things.

What’s not healthy is a belief in something that doesn’t exist. So if you believe that elephants are about to give all sorts of gifts to you from the sky, that’s not healthy. It’s not living in a world of reality. And that’s the question. If you accuse somebody of believing a God as believing in a delusion, you have to ask yourself:

Is this delusion the same as all the other delusions we talked about?

I put it to you that they’re not at all the same. To believe in God with all the positive consequences that flow from that, may suggest that there really is a God. That fulfills our sense of purpose. Our sense of meaning in a world where we need that meaning. Where we have that sense of ambition. That sense of making the world a better place. Without God, we don’t have that sense. At least, logically we don’t.

So I put it to you, perhaps NOT believing in God is the real delusion.