This is something that I have pondered many times over in my lifetime so far. Generally I have reached several conclusions: People need faith. The ego needs immortality. Neither of these aspects add fulfillment to life, just varying structures to living. It is certainly possible to live a long and fulfilling life without believing in any one religion, but as humans reach moments in our life when belief in a higher power fills us with strength and resolve. It helps us move every day forward, feeling that some grand parental figure is there to catch us when we fall. This is not a requisite however for having resolve and strength of will in life though, and either method of living is perfectly equal. In my humblest opinion, religions are the greatest boon and bane in all of human history. From the most basic elements of animism up to ‘modern’ faiths, they are probably the greatest cause of violence, war and death on this planet short of perhaps seeking more territory. People get defensive when you compare their faith to ‘mythology’ but have no issues attributing that title to ancient faiths of the world. Was the ancient Mithraist or worshipper of Isis’ lives less fulfilling or meaningful than modern Christian/Muslim/Jews/etc. I question whether many of those lives were MORE fulfilled through religion because they were cut short violently in it’s name? On my second point, human beings do not like to consider that this life is over when it is over. We all want to live forever in some manner of thinking and the thought that we will go on for eternity with all of our loved ones is a happy one. I suppose the question is can you have a fulfilling and happy life knowing that the possibility that once the old ticker stops, that the end of the ride? If you could die tomorrow and there was no afterlife, does that make your life any more fulfilling or not? Does it really make a difference? If you followed a faith strongly your whole life and died to find nothing but a swift darkness, does your life suddenly become wasted, or does it really matter? I suppose it is not religion that should make your life more fulfilling, but the events and memories of your life. Live fairly, kindly and morally in everything that you do, with or without religion. Personally, I like the ‘afterlife’ that I read once attributed to some African tribe… They believed that you were never truly dead as long as your life was remembered… I think that is what I am shooting for.