Are atheists delusional

Religion as a delusional neurosis?

God poisoning

I let this quote from Tilman Moser's "God Poisoning" speak for itself:

Dear God, ... You moved into me like a disease that was difficult to cure when my body and soul were small ... By showing you how you moved into me as a disease and almost grew over me as a disease , I hope to be able to heal myself a little bit from you. I know that if I can drive you out of the scars, you will dwell in the scars until my death. They will bite me, and you will torture me with phantom pain after you have been amputated long ago. Part of my hatred of my family comes from the fact that they gave me God's disease. You were instilled in me as soon as the first signs of susceptibility and vulnerability became visible. The growth of the disease was, according to ancient family tradition, viewed with joy. You followed and celebrated the growth of the tumors in my soul according to the calendar of the church year. The festivals were the highlights of the course of the disease. ... "Lord raise your face above us ...", so we pleaded at the end of every service, as if there was no greater longing than to see your ever-controlling big brother face above us on the ceiling. You as an illness in me are a norm sickness, a sickness of the unattainable norms, the sickness of being dependent on your grace, which official entreaties had to beg from you in addition to my pleading. ... You have so thoroughly robbed me of the certainty that I will ever feel okay, that I will reconcile myself with you, that I can find myself okay ... I know from patients, friends and acquaintances that you are still the worst for millions Childhood illness that you can imagine, in many cases incurable, contagious, especially for children and grandchildren. ... You thrive in the cavities of social impotence and ignorance. You flourish out of the fear of life of my ancestors, out of all the misunderstandings that haunted them, but above all: out of their insecurity, out of their mental deprivations, against which they put you like a giant seal in a rotting tooth. ... to have survived you gives me confidence; not to have been slain by the huge crutch. ...

From: Tilmann Moser, Gottesvergiftung. Suhrkamp 1976.

"Neurosis" and "delusion"

I'll try my own, simple definitions:

Under "Neurosis" I understand the pathological (at least not really healthy) state when you - against your own better knowledge or understanding - have to feel, think or act in a certain disturbing way. This contradiction inevitably leads to internal conflicts, which consequently lead to suffering in one's own personality. Most of the "better knowledge or understanding" is retained.

Under "Madness" ("Psychosis") I understand the increase in the above. State to the effect that the person concerned suffers at least a strong break in the mentioned "knowledge or understanding". The conflict between better knowledge or understanding and what is disruptive against it is decided clearly in favor of the disruptive. The affected person becomes "crazy", the anchor of "actually better knowledge", which may still be saving, is lost.

There are transitional forms between the two disorders, including those in which someone changes from one to the other due to time or situation, perhaps due to social factors.

Under "delusional neurosis" I understand the basic state of a neurosis, which takes on a delusional character from case to case. That would be such a transitional form, an intermediate thing with a changing character as described above.

Models, theories and therapies of madness in psychopathology and psychotherapy
Wikipedia: madness
"The term delusion denotes a human belief that
I. is logically grossly inconsistent or contradicts well-established knowledge of the real world and
II. Is maintained despite evidence to the contrary, because the personal certainty of those affected is so strong that they are no longer rationally accessible. "(Source unfortunately unknown)


Religiousness can be seen as an attachment to a disease. Probably hereditary in part. Like the risk of addiction or the predisposition to skin rashes. And as socially accepted and therefore inconspicuous as the risk of addiction to alcoholism.

Religiosity as readiness for religion is perhaps only the small one neurotic Brother of psychotic Insane, but also little brothers can cause a lot of harm ...

Religiousness as borderline syndrome: on the border between neurosis and psychosis, sometimes more the "normal" confusion of emotions, sometimes full of imaginations that are taken for real, that is, psychotic delusions. Religiousness fluctuates around a zero point, which was characterized by a cabaret artist roughly as follows: Fromm is someone who talking to God, but if God is talking to him, is it a psychosis ...

Of course, many nice atheists are shy of categorizing religious people in this way. But are neuroses and psychoses something special? Our world is anything but easy. We live in a society full of shop, work, play, sex, food and anything addicts, full of kleptomaniacs, pyromaniacs, and anything else addicts. Not to mention the completely adapted forms of insanity and the really bad illnesses. There is also room for the humble syndrome of religiosity ...

Blatant outbursts of madness

The madness does not always stay within tolerable limits ...

Aum sect

On March 20, 1995, the Japanese Aum sect released poisonous gas (sarin) in several subway stations. Eleven passengers died and over 5500 people were injured. One came to the perpetrators among other things. therefore on the track relatively quickly, because the abnormal brutality of the attack was rightly immediately understood as a criterion for religious motivation.

Quote from the "Journal of Japanese Law":
"At this point in time, however, several people already suspected that the sarin attack had also been committed by the AUM sect: ... because this one Acted so abnormal was that she was only from Convicts with a religious background could have been committed ... "The quote is from here

Here at Wikipedia is on the subject of "teaching" of the Aum sect:
Her teaching is shaped by the doomsday and a mixture of pseudoscience, Nostradamus prophecies, esoteric Buddhism and chiliastic Christianity; but also elements from the Foundation cycle of the science fiction writer Isaac Asimov are used. The central deity for the sect is the Hindu god Shiva, and true enlightenment is only possible within the strictly closed sect community. The "outside world" is seen as corrupt and depraved and must be fought violently if necessary. One of the central points of the Aum Doctrine is the controversial Buddhist idea of ​​poa: under certain conditions, murder can bring both the victim and the perpetrator closer to enlightenment.

So actually: Nothing special! It joins the usual promising mish-mash that can also be found in other religious communities ... By the way, it is an example of how disaster can also grow out of non-theistic religions.

The Majas

The Majas sacrificed people, cut out their hearts to offer them to the gods. In their religion, this was the "technique" that promised success in order to bring about the rain that was absolutely necessary.

The prayer

"When I speak to God, it is called prayer. When God speaks to me, it is called psychosis! - Why?"

(Eckart von Hirschhausen, medic and cabaret artist)

Indeed, if you see someone in the city park who seems to be talking to his angels and who is perhaps still wearing torn off clothes, then there is a strong tendency to classify him as requiring psychiatric treatment. But where is the difference to the "customary" prayer? But only in societal acceptance that is not really justified, i.e. in the tolerance that ultimately arises through getting used to ...

Praying is like waving at the television.

Online state with the father

Small picture meditation:

If George W. is online with his central server up there, what small or large private revelations does he think he is receiving? In the interests of all of us: Hopefully his hardware is up to the divine data stream! And hopefully he won't catch a virus! (You might think that he would sometimes be pinged by a hellish hacker ...) The fate of all humanity depends on the success of this data transfer - my God!
(Addendum when reading Julian Jaynes, The origin of consciousness: Perhaps the picture shows a state leader with an old mentality in the bicameral online status with the right-hemispheric server in his own brain. People praying often have a cramped expression on their faces, as if they were trying to "wring out" something. Is this perhaps the effort to create something from the flood of right-hemispheric data that can be meaningfully understood by the left brain?)

Atheist Kid's Prayer - Regression?

Dear good Santa Claus,
don't look at me so angry
pocket your rod
I also always want to be good

Yes, children can be allowed to do that. They're not crazy, they're just at a child's level of development. Is this perhaps also "just" religious people: stopped at a child's level of development? Is religiosity - when it occurs in adults - perhaps "just" a developmental disorder, a "fixation"? Is it a matter of falling back on earlier stages of development - possibly triggered by stress? (... when wishing still helped?) The resumption of childlike patterns of thinking, feeling and behavior ("Regression"called") is a well-known reaction to severe stress. Roughly speaking, it can be understood in such a way that a living being in development, when experiencing a severe failure as stress in its "feeling for" its possibilities, discards a large part of its development and Seeks connection to an earlier, apparently more successful stage of development religiousness maybe one of those Element of regression?

The delusion has a method (peasant cunning attitude)

"To pray means to want to milk the sky." (Somewhere on, see below: external links)

The thanksgiving prayer: feed for the cow so that she will continue to give milk in the future.
Farmer cunning is not just stupidity, but stupidity paired with a very special form of cunning, which emerges from taking one's own stupidity into account: "Maybe it will do something after all, it certainly can't do any harm!" Of course, this is anything but delusional ...

Pupil's night prayer

Dear god make me pious,
that I come far up,
help me keep my mouth shut
before the earthly powers,
don't let me be too tolerant
and be a bit of an intriguer
that the pastor loves me
and gives me pictures of saints.

Dear god make me cold
that I never stick to the weak
help me feign allegiance
and to flatter the mighty
do not make me doubt dogmas
and beware of the devils,
who always criticize everything
and lose the teacher's favor.

Dear god make me stupid
that I never ask why.
Always help me with my own thinking
to restrict to everyday life,
before commands me to duck,
not to look up against compulsion,
then I can do it with this tour
safe until graduation.

Dear god make me pious,
that I can come far up.
Always let me be a dull Christian
never be a green anarchist.
I want to demonstrate instead
march on Corpus Christi.
Don't help me hurt anywhere
to lick all boots bare,
then I will, I hope so,
once television editor.

(Dieter Hildebrandt, from a windshield wiper from 1988)
On Volker's homepage: The trap of prayer
Thought and perception trap:
The same mechanism takes place that is known from the origins of superstition ...

The delusional path of knowledge of revelation

Revelation is when there is "the Lord" directly has made known. That "God" does not normally speak to people is a common sense experience. So if he does, it must be very special important be.

He who is granted the grace of revelation also gets a piece of this importance - which can raise the rank of the recipient of revelation in the eyes of naive people and possibly lead to the fact that the matter is taken away from him.

People who are not just liars, pomposity or passionate prophets, but still have revelations (there are quite a few of them!) Are nowadays given neuroleptics in simple cases, and in severe cases they are admitted to psychiatry. The matter is curable today.

It wasn't like that at all before. Mental illnesses or corresponding borderline phenomena were inexplicable and were therefore often ascribed to the realm of the supernatural or divine ...

A few more recent examples:

The "humble music teacher and composer" Jakob Lorber, born in Kanischa (Lower Styria) to a family of winemakers (!), "had just performed his morning prayer on March 15, 1840 at 6 o'clock in the morning and was about to get out of bed, when he heard the spot on the left in his chest of the heart, clearly a voice that called to him: "Get up, take your pen and write!" ... "
Jakob Lorber and the "New Revelation"

The New Apostolic "Chief Apostle" bishop, pastor and direct contact of God on earth, delighted his family in 1955 with the news that the Lord had revealed to him that he would not die but go to heaven while he was still alive. (Together with a limited number of orthodox believers, I think there was talk of 144,000.)

In 1960 he died after all ...

There is a website of critical (ex) New Apostolics where this is documented. (One of the more recent Chief Apostles has said that the word "criticism" does not appear anywhere in the Bible, and consequently not among the New Apostolic either. He, too, is wrong.)

The notorious serial killer Peter Sutcliffe, the "Yorkshire Ripper", murdered thirteen women and seriously injured seven in the late 1970s. He claimed that he heard God's voice to commit his murders. (Readable here) This also exactly fulfills the criteria of the term "revelation".

Here is the detailed Engl. report

Apparently not for everyone

"Revelation is what is evident. Is it not manifest to allthen it is doubtful and should also be called that and not called "revelation". The only obvious thing about it is the doubt. "

And how do the religious officials manage to sell something that is obviously not obvious to everyone as a revelation? Apparently most effective with threats ...

"Every revelation comes from fallible people and has to be laboriously interpreted, each a little differently. To want to build an absolute truth on this foundation means to build on sand. You have to threaten with penalties, so that someone considers it a good foundation . Nobody would come up with this idea on their own. "

V. Dittmar, fragment of thought

Electromagnetic revelation

A neuro-psychological approach to track down the phenomenon of "revelation":

Neuro-Theology By stimulating certain areas of the brain one can artificially generate "divine inspirations", an indication of the actual source of religious experiences. In certain people (e.g. a certain type of epileptic) it seems to be the case that certain areas of the brain are "permeable" to signals that are not actually "intended" for the area in question. (The statement "Someone is not very close" thus makes sense again.)


Striking: All religions have distinctive rites! In order to please the gods and to impress the religious people, the religious functionaries have to wear very specific clothes at certain times in order to then carry out very specific actions, often with mysteriously archaic tools. These actions are often complicated, tedious, and occasional crazyt at.

It has to be like that, because it is precisely through the mixture of clearly defined and at the same time hardly understandable that the priestly caste convinces the common people of their alleged competence in dealing with the unpredictable gods. With this they prove their own raison d'être as Captains in the ocean of (albeit self-generated) madness. The knowledge of how to deal successfully with the numinous by means of rites is priestly knowledge of rulership!

Rites that are to be performed by the people, on the other hand, may be simpler. On the one hand, this is mainly about exercising subservience to the gods and their functionaries. It's about practicing obedient participation without critical questioning. These rites can be pretty crazy too. Doing something crazy is good practice against your own sanity and a strong demonstration of submission ...

On the other hand, a characteristic of the ritual is security, which is based on the fact that a learned action is always the same. Just like in raising children: for example in the evening bedtime ritual. This is about eliminating uncertainty in action, which could lead to doubts about the correctness of religious ideas and regulations. The means to do this is by building habits without understanding the real why. Ultimately, the rites are also about dressage and conformity in a community. (This function of the ritual is of course not limited to religious communities. It can also be found in parties, associations, etc.)

Carnival in the madhouse

Spiritual Disruption leads to the sanatorium, spiritual Breakdown in the church. ...

When you see the strange clatter and fuss, the characters acting according to some compulsive system with their colorful fantasy robes and silly cardboard hats, how can you overlook the striking similarity between holy mass and, let's say, a carnival event in a madhouse.

Religious Digestion

A prime example of a delusional element of ideology

Regarding the sacrament of the Eucharist, the so-called Lord's Supper: If I understand it only reasonably correctly, then Catholics are obliged to believe that they are the "flesh of the Lord" very real that they eat the "blood of Christ" very real - not symbolic! - drinking, actually a completely crazy thing, but obviously a successful mystery:

"The starting point of the ceremony is initially nothing special, a disdainful wafer that could easily end up as the bottom of a coconut macaroon. ... In the church, however, this wafer is subject to a remarkable process of transformation (the church speaks here of" transubstantiation "...) While the priest speaks his verse, the vegetarian wafer turns into a meat-containing host, which still tastes suspiciously of the wafer, but in reality - excuse me, but that's the way the Catholic faith wants it! - from the innards, pardon: the body of the Savior ... This alone would be somewhat surprising, but it gets even better: After the Christians in a ritual-cannibalic act ... (which they call "communion") have eaten Jesus' body, the process of sacralization of the host seems to be reversed in the stomach of Christians. One hundred percent secular excretions result from Jesus' body ... which is also extremely beneficial, as you can later dispose of them without hesitation by flushing your toilet. (If you were to do the same with a host, you would commit a terrible sin by infamous violation of a holy sacrament ...) "

This is quoted from:

Madness against madness

Delusion as a disease is not funny. A certain percentage (it will be around 10%) of all people experience hallucinations once or several times in their lives, mainly acoustic, less often optical. Hearing voices and ghost vision have always existed, sometimes triggered by stress, in some people by a more or less serious disease of the brain: psychoses, schizophrenia ... Thank God, such bad diseases are relatively easy to treat today. The invention of neuroleptics was and is a real blessing for those affected.

Delusional diseases have always been something special in religious contexts. Depending on the way in which hallucinations etc. offered themselves for exploitation in the context of religious ideas, delusional perceptions could appear either as confirmation or as a threat to religious worldviews. In some cases, delusional things were even systematically brought about, for example through drugs. The oracle of Delphi used naturally occurring gases that escaped from the earth to help the seer to obtain prophetic images. The Mexican brujos (magicians) ate from the "divine" peyote cactus, which contains mescaline, which has a similar effect to LSD. Systematic integration of the delusional is a very old process with which religions manage to "verify" their mystical teachings.

But there is also the opposite tendency, namely the "natural" delusion (caused by illness or drugs) than competitor to classify as one's own religious "madness" (with or without quotation marks?). When a religious dogma has achieved a certain degree of differentiation, when it "knows exactly" how and when the spirits are supposed to appear, how they are supposed to look and speak to people, then it becomes likely that dogma and real occurring delusions contradict each other. Then the "natural madness" becomes a threat to dogma and must be combated. But that also means: The Peoplethat produce such inappropriate delusions must be combated.

This can be observed, for example, in Catholicism. Marian apparitions in which the appearing Marians appear dogmatically appropriate are welcome. A confirmation event can be produced from them. But should a hallucination for example a naked Mary include, or a saint who derogatory expresses himself about the Pope, then a limit has been crossed. What then comes through the door is the complete delusion called exorcism. Even today exorcists are trained by the Vatican. In 2003 around 200 priests were blessed as exorcists in Italy.

The subject of exorcism is occasionally embarrassing for enlightened Christians (and rightly so). But it should be remembered that this harmful nonsense is firmly anchored in the Christian religion. Jesus himself is said to have started his public appearances with an exorcism (Mk 1,23–39). And further: "And he went through all of Galilee, preaching in the synagogues and driving out the demons." (Mk 1:39) It is also reported how Jesus treated a "possessed person" by casting out a whole legion of "demons" (Mk 5: 1–20). So if today Catholic specialists specialize in such practices. Priests get noticed unpleasantly by mistreating the mentally ill with their religion, then they do what they ideally always do: They emulate their religious founder (and God).

Wikipedia on "Exorcism"
About the Anneliese Michel case

Mass psychosis?

The social aspect of the "madness", the "sick group" ...

Man is not really autonomous. The religion (= Latin bond) is usually not an autonomous personal decision but an "injection" by family, clan, school, village community, state ... Here is an excerpt from a forum discussion (initiated by me) on the topic "Is religiosity something like a neurosis?"

Doesn't religious belief have something to do with believing in Santa Claus / Easter bunny / rattle stork? If someone still believes in such things as an adult, doesn't that indicate a mental development disorder? Doesn't at least an "intensive belief" in what is obviously non-existent have something delusional? And isn't there something deeply neurotic in the strange father projection of "God" (authoritarian, bipolar-schizoid, devoted "educator personality")?

An answer:
"I wouldn't call it a neurosis, but a Mass psychosis. Let's look at sport as an example, especially the football club Schalke 04 (not that I have anything specifically against the club, but I have an acquaintance who is Schalke with body and soul): As a fan of Schalke you are born and raised. In group dynamic processes clothing, behaviors, chants and ritual behaviors develop. Opposing players (especially from neighboring BVB) play poorly and are unsympathetic. However, that changes suddenly when you switch to Schalke, and it's the other way around. It no longer has anything to do with reason. And I don't see any difference whether someone makes a pilgrimage to the football stadium on Saturdays or to church on Sundays. The insignia and songs are different, but they serve for mutual recognition and cohesion. In both cases the association is believed. And just as every Schalke player knows inside out that good football is played elsewhere, so every believer suspects that his belief is nothing more than esoteric hocus-pocus. But both the football fan and the believer would miss a crucial part (namely the social) of their life if their fanaticism were taken from them. That is the secret of faith. "

But why then massespsychosis? Isn't that totally normal?
Aren't many people unable to develop an autonomous worldview?
Aren't we all dependent on the traditions given to us?

Yes, mass psychosis is "normal delusion". Normal because we're used to it. Accustomed to being human also like sheep are ... See "Shepherds and Sheep"

Humans are not computers. Of course, human knowledge does not primarily serve the principle of truth, but better survival. You might call this opportunism, but that's how evolution made us become. Knowledge formation takes place interest-driven. And the social environment largely dictates what people are interested in. Sheep herd syndrome is an element of social adaptation in the cognitive process. Nothing unusual, but of course potentially dangerous. It harbors the germ of fascism, dictatorship, and oppression. It tells us: "Don't you dare use your own mind!"

When deciding for or against religious hocus-pocus, our cognitive organ may end up in a difficult-to-resolve one conflict:
  1. Should it be that practical benefits that can be felt directly serve as the highest criterion?
  2. Or should it the truth serve, which as a rule has also proven to be very useful in practice?
It can then be easy for the former to say: "Believe what the others believe, do not step out of line!" - while the latter says: "But that's all nonsense!" How someone makes a decision is ultimately a question of character: It depends on whether someone is more inclined to opportunism or to "idealism" (in the sense of upholding ideal values).

(Extremely fearful people will tend to take the opportunistic path. And grown liars and deceivers will not suddenly prefer success through truth to the directly noticeable benefit of social adjustment.)