It is a tad too easy to accuse people of self-delusion.  It is also often inaccurate.  My illusions about religion as a child, and for as much as half of my eighty years, were not self-induced.  I was not, initially, “kidding myself”, but being kidded, manipulated, brainwashed by others.  Today, scandalized former friends who have remained faithful to the indoctrination we shared, readily but mistakenly accuse me, as an atheist, of self-delusion.  Different from the religious faith inculcated in me by family, educators and clergy, no one talked me into atheism, no one brainwashed me into denying the existence of God, no one taught me to recognize how ridiculous religious belief and practice are.  It was a personal discovery, independent of the influence of hypothetical individuals dedicated to destroying my Catholic faith.  What I discovered, in place and stead of my illusions, was the illumination that religion is the result of wishful thinking that claims to give life and even death a meaning and purpose.  I have, however, only myself, my own reading and reflection, to “blame”.  This is in no way a boast or an expression of self-satisfaction.  It is rather recognition of how lucky I was to “see the light” rather than to continue to be blind.  The least I can do is to dedicate my life to helping others discover the truth that alone can make them free.