We all use poetry and metaphor to psych ourselves up. We have to pull ourselves back from that at times to the coldly rational when we want to get things done. Then we go back to enjoying a fictionalized life. Much of what we think we remember about our lives is a rewrite.
Does psyching ourselves up with the poetry of religion get anything (good) done? On a skeptics forum about 10 years ago I objected to the criticisms of the guy who had a rock trap his arm and he decided God wanted him to cut off his arm with a pocket knife. That was necessary. With his belief that God wanted him to, he did it and "saved" his life.
Do you know there are people who are athletic trainers? Of course you do. But think for a moment, what do they actually do for a living? I know. I was on the high school track team. The coach watched us run around the cafeteria (I lived in the northern tier of states and the sidewalks were icy) and just told us to keep going. He had no whip to crack, no threat. Just a voice outside me telling me to keep going. Maybe the NFL players who credit Jesus for their win are right (sort of). If we questioned them about their training maybe when the player is exhausted and in pain he imagines that Jesus wants him to do 2 more reps with the weights or run 2 more laps. One danger I noted as an adult exercising is you have to internalize that merciless coach teaching you to hate yourself when you give in to exhaustion. That produces the phenomenon of an adult injuring himself when he should back off and take a break and reasonably call it quits for a day or 2. A real outside voice, a real trainer probably would have better judgement as well.
Most believers are not going to do anything bad. This guy is looking forward to enjoying life and doing good things. Probably that's OK. Probably. All of us still wonder whether he'll become a snake handling risk taker or vote for Santorum or believe that since them scientists are faking about evolution then energy efficiency is a commie plot. I pray that he does not
Okay, so how is an atheist to psych himself up for life? Here, turn to an atheist poet for metaphor:
WAKE: the silver dusk returning
Up the beach of darkness brims,
And the ship of sunrise burning
Strands upon the eastern rims.
Wake: the vaulted shadow shatters,
Trampled to the floor it spanned,
And the tent of night in tatters
Straws the sky-pavilioned land.
Up, lad, up, ’tis late for lying:
Hear the drums of morning play;
Hark, the empty highways crying
‘Who’ll beyond the hills away?’
Towns and countries woo together,
Forelands beacon, belfries call;
Never lad that trod on leather
Lived to feast his heart with all.
Up, lad: thews that lie and cumber
Sunlit pallets never thrive;
Morns abed and daylight slumber
Were not meant for man alive.
Clay lies still, but blood’s a rover;
Breath’s a ware that will not keep.
Up, lad: when the journey’s over
There’ll be time enough to sleep.
---- A. E. Housman (1859 -- 1936)