I agree with most of what he says.
One exception, but I think it’s just a minor wording problem.
And believing that there is something, someone responsible for it at least gives some stress reducing attributes built around understanding causality. If on top of that you believe there is not only something out there responsible for all of this but that there is a larger purpose to it, that’s another level of stress reducing explanation.
If then on top of it you believe that individual out there is benevolent—even more so control and predictability. Benevolent and listens to human entreaties? More elements of control.
Benevolent, listens to human entreaties, and prefers to listen to people like you who look like you, pray like you, request like you? Even more so. They’re just all these levels of control, predictability; they’re stress reducing.
Where he says “control”, I’d say “illusion of control”, and I also think that’s key to answering his final question: what’s up with those atheists who don’t embrace the stress-reducing benefits of religion? I think the answer is simple. If the purpose of this belief is to help us feel in control and reduce stress, it fails on both counts if you see through the illusion and realize that prayer and worship to an invisible being do nothing.
It’s like driving along in the passenger side of a car when a deer darts out in front of you; you may slam your foot down on the floorboards as if you’ve got a brake on your side, but you don’t, and it doesn’t matter. Atheists choose not to believe in an invisible parallel brake pedal on the passenger side of the car that you can push to assist the driver in stopping faster, and we don’t see what genuine virtue would be attached to pretending there is one.
But still, there are lots of people who clutch armrests and stomp on the floor to give themselves that feeling of control.
Never when I’m driving, of course.