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The Elements of Religious Delusion 

The Elements of Religious Delusion
Chapter:
The Elements of Religious Delusion
Author(s):

George Graham

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780198728658.003.0006
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date: 15 November 2019

This chapter confronts the book’s emerging conception of religious delusion with the challenge of spiritual purism that psychiatry should have nothing to do with spirituality. Matters of spirit are not matters of secular medicine. It shows how to defeat the challenge. The chapter then describes the elements of religious or spiritual delusion. Religious delusion is typically a profoundly disturbing and harmful mix of distinguishable if not precisely separable elements or factors. Five factors in all. So, the book’s conception is called the Five Factor Conception (FFC) of religious delusion. Two essential factors are normative misjudgments and the inability to properly manage and critically reflect upon delusory religious attitudes. Brain science can contribute to the understanding and treatment of religious delusion, but its current explanatory and therapeutic utility should not be oversold.

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