Religion serves as an answer to two major questions: Who is responsible for all this and what the heck are we supposed to do down here? Science cannot and will most probably never be able to solve the first mystery. However the question alone shows how human minds work. We define ourselves as persons so the creator must be one to, hence the “Who” right there at the beginning. Non-religious but spiritual people might rather ask “What is responsible?”. Still the query implies some form of conscious energy at the least.
What to do with our lives?
The second mystery is the meaning of life. For some there is none but to survive which includes eventual reproduction. And since they can’t escape – apart from suicide – they just try to make their lives worthwhile: being nice to others helps, as does building a solid foundation for their offspring.
For others of course that’s not enough. They need more detailed instructions like the 10 commandments for example on how to behave. And the purpose? Waiting for Christ to arrive and simply hanging on in there loving thy neighbor? Thankfully most people do have interests apart from their families, jobs and even religions. Popular culture offers fandom to celebrities, sports offers activity and fandom. And there is so much more.
It seems as if religion and worship was often replaced by fandom. That is only partly true as you may find fulfillment and joy somewhere else, but only the holy books will tell you the ultimate truth like who created us and what’s his point of view on masturbation or eating shrimp, etc. Religion thereby cannot be fully replaced. It can be abandoned though. You can live a happy and thoughtful life without it and as for who or what is ultimately responsible for all this: you could simply admit that you do not know and nobody possibly can. The rest belongs to ethics, common sense and science.
Times of crisis
Who to turn to in times of crisis? A child will turn to its mother or father – the creators so to speak. Many soldiers are reported to cry for their mommies before they die. So for most adults to seek enlightenment in the master of us all seems natural. And since nobody can see their God, he has to be imagined, or let’s say: believed in.
Atheists cope with calamities too. They either turn to themselves or to their families and friends for help and advice. Why pray when you can talk to actual persons?