"We found that religious people or even people who simply believe in the existence of God show significantly less brain activity [in the anterior cingulate cortex of the brain] in relation to their own errors," Inzlicht said. "They're much less anxious and feel less stressed when they have made an error."
I found this report quite interesting, and my initial thoughts surrounded the idea of believers. Why would a believer feel less anxious and less stressed even after having made an error? Would such arise from the scriptural teaching that through Christ all is forgiven, that all men error and should merely strive to do better, or that making an error simply didn’t matter that much to them? But, then I thought, surely the unbeliever would also acknowledge that all men error and should strive to do better, and clearly there are those who obviously don’t care if they error at all. So, as the study shows, we are left with the only real difference is the believing or not believing in God.
Interestingly, a similar article on the same topic from Medical News Today.com goes a little further in declaring, ‘The stronger their religious zeal and the more they believed in God, the less their ACC fired in response to their own errors, and the fewer errors they made.’
So then I wondered, does this reflect the thought that believers acknowledge a forgiveness of error through repentance and faith in Christ, or is there a belief that the weighing of the scales (good deeds vs. bad deeds) in the hands of God will lend them mercy and grace? Basically, is there a faith vs. works doctrinal difference among believers, yet lending both to have less anxiety regarding their error? And not only does the report show believers as ‘less likely to feel anxious about making errors,’ but also about ‘facing the unknown.’
Given just the little we have in these two articles, it should cause us to ponder two quick thoughts: (1) the further away from believing in God one becomes, the more likely they are to be anxious about their mistakes and the more they are likely to make; (2) although a believer in God becomes less anxious about their mistakes as they become less frequent, this does not guarantee true conversion has occurred even if profession has been made.
How so, one may ask. Scripture tells us that believing in God is not enough, for ‘the devils also believe, and tremble.’ Scripture also acknowledges that though there will be many who claim their works should be counted to save them, believers are saved by faith and not of works. So, dear unbeliever, maybe you would consider believing in God to ease a little anxiety. And to both, make sure your belief is grounded in faith.