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Kamiat, A.H. (1925). The Believer's Delusion of Infallibility. Psychoanal. Rev., 12(4):420-428.

(1925). Psychoanalytic Review, 12(4):420-428

The Believer's Delusion of Infallibility

Arnold Herman Kamiat

The devotee of a theological creed feels that his God has singled him and his party out from all the peoples of the world, to reveal the secrets of the universe unto. All other creeds are perforce lies, or partial truths at best. Even the tolerant believer holds to this view. He may regard differing creeds as containing a truth or two, but he retains the notion of the superiority of his own. He and his crowd see into the“divine” nature with an insight keener than that employed by all the other crowds. He and his crowd are“in tune with the universe.”

This description applies equally well to the worshippers of creeds and abstractions of another sort. In one way or another, men have always been polytheistically inclined. They are very strongly so to-day. Many are the gods they worship: Property, the State, Morality, Truth, Freedom, Justice, Democracy, Socialism, the Proletariat, and sundry others. Each of these deities has a horde of followers, each horde led and ruled by a hierarchy of priests and preachers. Now these deities are as cruel, as vainglorious; and as intriguing as the Jehovah of the Old Testament. Of course, their devotees behave accordingly.

Those who worship these abstractions come to identify them with their own concrete proposals for the attainment of the ideals that the abstractions represent. Other proposals thereupon become identified with abstractions of an opposite character: error, injustice, immorality, reaction, and so forth. Dissenting parties appear to be composed of people who advocate these evil things. These parties must therefore be disbanded, their journals barred from the mails, their speakers silenced. Yes, the worshipper believes in liberty of expression. But liberty ends where license begins. Where is the dividing line? The propagation of his ideas, that is, ideas conducive to the maintenance of law, order, and morality; this is liberty. But differing ideas must lead to chaos and immorality; their propagation must therefore be deemed licentious.

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