Still sniffling and sneezing, but felt like sharing this today anyway.
Someone was unhappy that I said “Christians are delusional” in a recent post. For the time being, I deleted that sentence. But I’d like to explain why I think Christians are delusional, and not just the fundamentalists, either.
Here are a few things that Christians believe that count as delusions in my book. (Please note that these items cover most sects or denominations of Christians, including the mainline or liberal Protestant denominations.)
- The Bible is “God’s Word” (Virtually all denominations and sects, including mainline/liberal Protestants)
- The Bible is infallible; God wrote it himself and every single word is the absolute truth (Fundamentalists, many Evangelicals, Pentecostals, etc.)
- The Pope in infallible, even though some Popes overturn what previous Popes said (Catholics)
- Jesus’ mother was a virgin, Jesus came back from the dead (99% of Christians in all groups, including mainline/liberal Protestants)
- God created the universe in 6 days and the earth is, at most, 10,000 years old (Fundamentalists)
- God created the universe in 6 metaphorical days (many Evangelicals and other groups)
- Dinosaur fossils are fake and they were put in the ground by God to test our faith OR people lived along side dinosaurs about 6,000 years ago (Fundamentalists)
- God gives you the ability to speak in “heavenly” languages in prayer and sometimes someone else can translate your words into a message from God for the church (Pentecostal and related groups)
- Telletubbies are gay and “God hates fags” (wackjob Fundamentalist extremists)
- American and Polynesian peoples descended from a single Israelite (Mormons)
- Satan, or the devil, is a real being who can hurt you (Fundamentalists, Evangelicals, Catholics and many others)
- When you eat dry bread in church, it turns into the flesh of Jesus in your stomach (Catholics)
- The Bible describes appropriate moral behavior (most Christians in all groups, including mainline/liberal Protestants)
- Some people will go to heaven and others will go to hell after they die (99% of Christians in all groups, including mainline/liberal Protestants)
- Miracles include God healing cancer, warts, and other physical ailments (Pentecostals, Word of Faith groups)
- Miracles include Jesus and Mary appearing in toast and making statues cry (Catholics)
- The Trinity: that is, there is one God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, a unity of three (large numbers in all groups, including mainline/liberal Protestants)
- Magic underwear will protect you from harm (Mormons)
- Lying to kids about contraception and safe sex is a good idea (Fundamentalists, Evangelicals, Catholics, and others)
- Jesus will come back and take all the Christians to heaven in The Rapture, leaving all the rest of humanity here to suffer in a thousand year period called The Tribulation (Fundamentalists, Evangelicals, many other groups)
- You can talk to God and he listens to you and, sometimes, answers you (99% of all Christians)
- God sends messages to you through scripture, dreams, or “a still, small voice” that will help you make decisions and decide if you are in “his perfect will” for your life (high percentages of all Christian groups)
- All humans are sinful because a talking snake convinced Eve to eat an apple, and we need salvation because of our innate spoiled nature (Original sin and the need for salvation is a basic belief of all Christianity, although the talking snake and apple part may not be taken literally by all groups)
Shall I go on? Not right now… I think you get the point. There is absolutely no evidence for any of these claims. (I made up the 99% but I think it’s fairly accurate. Substitute some other reasonably high percentage if you prefer.)
Granted, there are some Christians, such as John Shelby Spong, who don’t believe in the divinity of Jesus, the virgin birth, the physical resurrection, miracles, and so forth. Many of these Spongite Christians are even non-theists, who define “God” as “the source of all love” or “the ground of being” (whatever that means). I think these people are delusional to think that they are Christians, since they don’t believe in any of the tenants of that faith from any denomination or sect. I think the word Christian means more than just being in Jesus’ fan club.
I’ll grant you that not all Christians are the bigoted, hate filled nut jobs that are portrayed in the media. Most Christians are nice people and they want to do good in the world and they see their Christianity as a way to do that good. Progressive or liberal Christians also are accepting of gays, and place a strong emphasis on social justice, instead of using their time to condemn others. This is to be commended. But they almost all believe in some form of supernatural mumbo jumbo that, in my book, qualifies as a delusion.
So, does that cover the bases?
PS. A definition from the Merriam-Webster online dictionary. The issue was that I was not using “delusional” in the correct way. I think I was. I’ve bolded the definition that is most closely related to my use of the word.
1: the act of deluding : the state of being deluded 2 a: something that is falsely or delusively believed or propagated b: a persistent false psychotic belief regarding the self or persons or objects outside the self that is maintained despite indisputable evidence to the contrary; also : the abnormal state marked by such beliefs