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Delusion vs Faith

The other day I heard an interview with a psychologist discussing delusional thinking. His definition of delusion is believing in something without evidence. This struck me as two things: obvious and brilliant. Obvious, because it is the very definition. Brilliant, at least to me, because I had not considered that simple fact before. Now, to be clear, he did not define it as believing in something that is not true, just believing in something for which you have no evidence. The difference is illustrated by the example that during the middle ages, if you believed the world to be round, you would have been considered delusional. The reason is that nobody else believed it, and there was no evidence to support it.

So, what that simple statement did for me was start me to thinking about faith. Now, faith, like delusional thinking, is a belief in something without evidence, except that usually, there are many other people believing the same unsupported concept. Now, in some societies, the concept is believed by absolutely everyone, so to believe otherwise would be delusional. However, most people live in societies where a diversity of opinions is held.


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