In the introduction to this section, we touched upon aspects of God-psychology which are undoubtedly positive for people: comfort, security, sense of purpose, strength, hope, and so on. And for someone who merely believes in a personal God, a loving Creator with no major strings attached, the potential cost (even if this belief is a delusion, pure wishful thinking) is not terribly high. We all live under a certain degree of delusion, and in many cases it helps us to better function in the world.
However, to walk around believing that not only is there a God, but that this God created the world in six days, literally according to the Creation story, flooded the entire earth save Noah and his Ark, caused the sea to split before Moses, came down in smoke and lightning on Mount Sinai and issued eternal instructions in the form of the Torah, rewards those who keep His commandments and
punishes those who do not, reigns on high in the celestial
kingdom atop the Throne of Glory, surrounded by angels adorning the heavenly court, that there are talking snakes and donkeys, people who once lived hundreds of years, that the universe is only 5700+ years old... To believe all this (or even a portion of it), when there is either evidence against it, or at the very best an utter lack of positive evidence for it, that is a level of delusion comparable to living in a fantasy world.
Now, there is a time and place for living in a fantasy world. For children, it is a completely normal part of development, a healthy way to exercise their imagination. Children can believe in supernatural beings, miracles, fantastic abilities which defy all reason and experience, and we liberally allow them this leeway, not wanting to prematurely place the limitations of adult, real-world thinking upon them. And yes, even for adults it is perfectly healthy and appropriate to indulge the imagination at times, but as a child grows older, she/he is supposed to develop the reasoning to distinguish between the real world and the world of fantasy. As the above beliefs (that is, Biblical literalist/fundamentalist beliefs) testify, the normal processes of reasoning and maturation are stunted by normative Orthodox theology.
Connected to this is magical thinking. Children commonly ascribe to themselves powers they do not possess (e.g., laser vision used to strike down foes on the playground), and this again is quite normal. Indeed, adults also employ magical thinking at times (e.g., blowing on dice before throwing them). But a normal, mentally healthy adult engages in such thinking with a grain of salt, knowing full well that it is pure superstition, and is capable of distinguishing between magic and reality.
Consider the institution of prayer. Of course, there is prayer as catharsis, as gaining clarity about one's wants and needs, as instilling compassion, hope and gratitude in the person praying. There is the comfort in knowing that one is being prayed for. Yet these are all reducible to psychological phenomena. However, the belief that one can affect others at a distance (via God or in conjunction with a Rabbi, living or deceased) involves magical thinking. Until there is evidence for human telepathy or telekinesis, the notion that one's thoughts and words (no matter how sincere or fervent), said in private, can travel across the world (or even across one's house) to have a direct effect on someone or something else, is pure fantasy. To indulge in such fantasy when in the throes of a dire situation is understandable. But to do so day after day, and to believe that by reciting certain words in a certain formulation, and by having certain "kavanot" (intents), this will affect celestial realms and influence events here on earth - that is grandiose thinking, a sign that the person lives in a world of magic.
True, magical thinking and fantasy, in and of themselves, can make for a perfectly pleasant existence (albeit highly deluded). However, there are aspects of traditional Orthodox belief which can be less than pleasant, and whose psychopathology brings with it much suffering. Examples are guilt, neurosis and anxiety.
Guilt is something we have come to expect from religion. One who believes that God is watching at every moment and has a highly specific and ambitious set of expectations of them, and who believes that "spiritual damage" is caused whenever she/he steps out of line, is certainly liable to feel guilty for even the most innocent or minute infractions. All the more so for intentional, repeated infractions, this can produce an intense guilt that weighs heavily on a person, to the point of inducing depression, self-loathing, and a deep sense of shame.
Becoming neurotic about the performance of mitzvot is an all-too common malady in traditional Orthodox circles. The "fear of Heaven", or the fear of creating a disturbance in the "celestial plumbing" (the Kabbalistic/mystical mindset), can cause a person to become obsessive-compulsive in ritual performance, caught up in the most minute details, not being satisfied until utter perfection is achieved (which quite often is an impossibility). Yes, there can be something positive in training oneself to be dedicated and detailed, but when the implications are eternal and cosmic, it can turn obsessive, impairing a person's ability to function properly or happily, bringing an immense amount of stress upon themselves and others, such as family members whose physical performance of mitzvot lacks sufficient "attention to detail" and is met with disappointment, frustration or outright anger.
Neurosis is really part of a wider class of disorders related to anxiety, of which living in a God-reality provides no shortage. Take for example the prevalent idea that "everything God does is for the good". It sounds positive enough, and in fact such belief can provide tremendous comfort for some people at times of tragedy or loss. When one is struck with a devastating loss, left shocked and confused, unsure about how to piece life back together, the idea that God has a plan that is beyond human comprehension means that the person does not have to figure it all out, does not have to carry the burden - that can be left to God. However, when absolutely everything that happens is believed to be a product of the will and plan of God, as having divine purpose and meaning - and for the believer that certainly includes whatever happens to them, this has the potential to make a person positively paranoid. "God must be testing me... cleansing me... sending me a message... But what is the test? What is the message? Why am I being cleansed? What did I do wrong this time?" The same feeling of "being held" can easily morph into the feeling of being squeezed, choked or strangled: "Help! I can't take these tests anymore!"
Remove God from the Torah system, and we will have effectively eliminated needless guilt, neurosis, paranoia, stress, and the pain of disillusion that God could possibly be so cruel. We will also train ourselves to appropriately distinguish between fantasy and reality, as any mature adult should. Yes, we will have to learn to live without the psychological and emotional "crutch" that God provides, but that too is part of learning to be a mature adult. Orthodox theology has the capacity to infantilize people - "Does Hashem let?" "Let me ask my Rabbi if I can." "My Father is watching over me and protecting me - He says everything's going to be okay." The hallmark of adulthood, on the other hand, is making one's own decisions, being willing to take responsibility for one's actions. An adult knows that not everything has a "reason", and not everything will be "okay". A psychologically robust adult can live with hard truths and uncertainty.
And when we are faced with pain, loneliness, fear, desperation and confusion, this is what our fellow human beings are for... to stand alongside us, cry with us, share the feeling of uncertainty, and in so doing, to give us the comfort and strength we need to stand tall and move forward - and to help others in need.
This is the path to achieving a strong, mature, robust and positive mental health profile - and is yet another example of what is wrong with God.