Self delusion in the way it is used here is surely the act of choosing to believe in something you know to be false. You delude yourself.

It is a dishonest act, and smacks of a cowardice that refuses to take the harder road.

If I weigh up the evidence, combined with my experience and find a belief in God compelling, and it in no way contradicts what good science is telling me, then I am not deluding myself - I am making an honest choice. I cannot choose to believe anything other, whilst remaining true to myself.

If there is no God and therefore no meaning, them be damned with it, I'll accept it and go the only honest route - the nihilistic hedonistic one.

I just don't accept that an honest, consistent, well-examined religious belief is at all cowardly and self-delusory.

And I don't see how my belief is at all retrograde to societies needs. In fact could I be so arrogant as to say that certain aspects actually add some value?

I suspect you won't let me get away with that smile