Somewhere in the popular press recently I saw an article about what helps celebrities cope with their fame, keep producing the songs or whatever that made them famous, and the differences between "successful" celebrities and the one-album wonders. A key factor (it was claimed) was the belief that God wanted them to be famous.
It seems like a corollary would be that atheists either can't be famous or can't stay famous, but whatever. I thought to myself, "Suppose I believed in a goddess of academic success, and believed that she wanted me to be successful?"
"No, come on, self, stop laughing; just play around with the idea for a few minutes. Just for fun. She looks like Maggie Smith? Okay, I can go with that. What does it feel like to believe (just for a minute) that the goddess of academic success wants me to be successful?"
. . . . . . . . .
Well, look, I tried. I think I'm too cynical for some affirmations. Also, Benjamin Franklin got mixed up in there somehow, because the way it wound up being phrased was, "The goddess of academic success loves me and wants me to be happy."*
In other words, Maggie Smith is urging me to have another beer.
*"Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy." I don't have a citation; it's attributed to him on t-shirts and stuff. Check with an Americanist on whether Franklin really said it.