I think that religion is just one's way to answer their own questioning of the meaning of life. Those without religion (like atheists and even agnostics) I believe do not have that internal need to find a meaning, so they do not turn to religion. Believing in God or a god gives a shorthand answer to life: that we were created to live. What are your thoughts?

Religion is a terribly important and interesting affair, isn't it. For myself, I'm a bit unsure about the "just" of your first sentence. I think that simply on empirical terms there can be no question that religion gives a sense of meaning to some people's lives. I have my doubts that religion is "just" or only that. I think that there are many, many (perhaps countless) factors that play into the existence and persistence of religion, among them a projection of parental authority, a desire to explain natural phenomena, an unwillingness to live with ambiguity or to accept human finitude, fear of death, compelling personal experiences, loneliness, custom, peer pressure, the instruction of authority figures, a need to come to terms with suffering, a desire to feel that one's own views are true and good, etc., etc., etc.

You may be right about atheists and agnostics--that they lack some need that the religious have. But I also think that atheists and agnostics may simply find (or create) meaning elsewhere, through other means--for example, family, career, art, sex, political struggle, sport, friendship, making money, conquering adversaries, etc.

My main thoughts would be these:

  1. Trying to find somesimple, single sentence explanation for something as complex andancient as religious faith is not very sensible.
  2. Beforeattempting to answer the question what role religion plays in people'slives, it would probably be a good idea to do some actual empiricalresearch. In this case, I think one would find that there are very,very few religious people, perhaps none, who would accept that the"meaning of life" can be boiled down to: We were created to live.
  3. Many people actually have done such research, and much has been written about the matter. There are many viewpoints, and there are no easy answers.

But let me end with a question: Why do so many people seem to find it necessary to dismiss faith as a product of something trivial? What is it about faith that is so threatening?

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