Religion and Delusion. / McKay, Ryan; Ross, Robert.

In: Current opinion in psychology, 15.10.2020.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

E-pub ahead of print


  • Accepted Manuscript

    Accepted author manuscript, 218 KB, Word document

    Embargo ends: 15/10/21

    Licence: CC BY-NC-ND Show licence


We review scholarship that examines relationships – and distinctions – between religion and delusion. We begin by outlining and endorsing the position that both involve belief. Next, we present the prevailing psychiatric view that religious beliefs are not delusional if they are culturally accepted. We argue that although this cultural exemption has controversial implications, it is clinically valuable and consistent with a growing awareness of the social – as opposed to purely epistemic – function of belief formation. Finally, we review research on continuities between religious and delusional cognition, which reveals that religious content is quite common in delusions and which provides tentative evidence for a positive relationship between religious belief and delusion-like belief in the general population.
Original languageEnglish
JournalCurrent opinion in psychology
Early online date15 Oct 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 15 Oct 2020
This open access research output is licenced under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

ID: 39309558