The Illusion Delusion

Daniel Fincke urges his fellow atheists to reconsider dogmatic dismissal of “techniques that the religious use to create strong value feelings or feelings of community between people”:

The overly skeptical atheist mistakenly thinks that if she can understand the physiological processes that make an experience happen that somehow that experience is not only demystified as not supernatural, but is even proven to be an “illusion”. So if oxytocin is the chemical that causes me to feel trust then my feeling of trust is an illusion; it’s not really trust but a chemical tricking my brain! If participating in a ritualistic behavior in a group creates a feeling of psychological bond between me and my group then this feeling of closeness is an illusion. If lovers staring into each others’ eyes feel closer, they are tricking themselves into feeling an illusory closeness, etc., etc. …

They think these are irrational ways of creating attachments between people or between people and their ideas. But things can go the other way. Without an emotional oomph various truths are harder for our brains to realize and internalize. Sometimes we need to communicate to our brains through our bodies because they’re bodily. Talking to them through bodily cues and training them through training our bodies to feel and move in different ways is working with the non-dualistic, naturalistic truths that we are our bodies and that our minds are functions of our entirely physical brains. These are truths that atheists should know and embrace better than anyone.