What does thinking about God do to agnostics though? Report from Live Science:
Researchers have determined that thinking about God can help relieve anxiety associated with making mistakes. However, the finding only holds for people who believe in a God.
The researchers measured brain waves for a particular kind of distress response while participants made mistakes on a test.
Those who had been prepared with religious thoughts had a less prominent response to mistakes than those who hadn’t.
“Eighty-five percent of the world has some sort of religious beliefs,” says Michael Inzlicht, who cowrote the study with Alexa Tullett, both at the University of Toronto-Scarborough.
“I think it behooves us as psychologists to study why people have these beliefs; exploring what functions, if any, they may serve.”
With two experiments, the researchers showed that when people think about religion and God, their brains respond differently—in a way that lets them take setbacks in stride and react with less distress to anxiety-provoking mistakes.