Religious people, he said, are self-controlled not simply because they fear God’s wrath, but because they’ve absorbed the ideals of their religion into their own system of values, and have thereby given their personal goals an aura of sacredness. He suggested that nonbelievers try a secular version of that strategy.
I don't think that'll work.
I think that it's impossible to have that authentic sense of faith without a relationship with God. It's like trying to fake love. When you do things out of love, it feels good; it feels right.
White-knuckling it will only take you so far.
“Sacred values come prefabricated for religious believers,” Dr. McCullough said. “The belief that God has preferences for how you behave and the goals you set for yourself has to be the granddaddy of all psychological devices for encouraging people to follow through with their goals. That may help to explain why belief in God has been so persistent through the ages.”
Or maybe it just makes people happier. There's a thought.