I heard a Russian philosopher, Slavoj Zizek, speak recently. He told the story about a famous scientist who kept a horse shoe over the front door of his house. In Russia and in many other places people put horse shoes over their door to ward off evil spirits.
"Do you have the horseshoe over your door because you believe it will ward off evil spirits?" a visiting friend asked.
"Absolutely not," he answered, "I am a scientist. I do not believe in such foolishness. But someone told me it works whether you believe in it or not."
Belief systems are powerful in our lives whether we say we believe in them or not. I know many people who claim not to be people of faith, but when the chips are down they find themselves longing to believe.