If you were to ask me what my religious beliefs were, I'd probably tell you that I'm an atheist. The thing is, I don't really know one way or the other whether there's a diety out there that cares, or doesn't care, about our daily goings on in this thing called life. What I do know is that Humans are imperfect beings with imperfect logic and imperfect perceptions who probably have their own agenda, and so when the preacher on the television calls out to "Jay-zus" he's running a lot of hot air through his mouth and not much else. At least, not in the sense of anything that really matters in regards to what he's talking about or alluding to. But there might be a grain of something in what he's doing that is real.
A while back I saw an anime called Serial Experiments: Lain and if I understand correctly, one of the basic ideas is that all humans are somehow connected to a thing that is a lot like the internet, but it's just the normal electrical signals our brains are generating that causes the effect. (Well, in the show it might be a bit more than that, but work with me.) In other words, the human population is weakly but broadly connected in a manner that might be described as "psychic". Ever since seeing and understanding the anime I've felt like this might be one of the underlying truths of Humanity.
Consider the twins, siblings, and parents that know when something has happened to a loved one. Consider that relationships tend to make a person feel more alive, even if what's being emphasized is the hurting. Consider that when you feel alone, it often hurts so much that people will feel like life is not worth living. And that when you feel loved, it's unimaginable that anything bad could happen. And what is love? It's a question for the ages, but I'd say that "love" is trust in a person which is deep and abiding. You know that they will be there for you and that their physical presence gives you an energy just as yours gives them an energy.
So everyone's connected, what's that got to do with religion? Well, people often need guidance and instruction. They know they work better together as a group, but how do you unite a bunch of people with a bunch of different characteristics and interests? A good story seems to bring the minds of many together as one. And while I'd say the Bible is basically just a story book, it's also a tool that can be used to tap into the psychic energy of the "mass mind". It allows people to join the mass mind and at the same time focuses the energy of the mind into specific directions.
One of the "big questions" in life is "what is (my/Humanity's) purpose?" So far I haven't been able to discern one. It looks like we're just highly evolved animals that are at a bit of an evolutionary plateau. But I'm not sure that there needs to be an answer to the question. When people are born they have been coded via their genes to have a variety of characteristics. Tall, short, slim, fat, yes those are certainly part of the information. And they might even leak into other parts of the characteristics of a person. But I'd say there are also mental characteristics which are formed at birth and then are shaped during growth. There is a debate about "nature vs nurture" in a variety of things, but I'd guess that more often than not it's going to be both factors combined. The combination of factors will lead one person to be a janitor and another person to be a rocket scientist. And then they will (or won't) have kids who continue the pattern.
There are a lot of parallels between people and computers. People made computers, and for a while computers were pretty primitive, but I feel like modern computing reveals as much about the humans that made it as it does to conform to Godwin's Law. People, much like computers, have different hardware specs in their heads. Computers have a spectrum of different operating systems and software, and when it comes down to it people have a myriad of "software" in their heads as well. It's really not surprising that as a race we seem to be so fucked up and conflicted. Imagine if you had to support a network that ran 500,000 Windows 3.1 boxes, 6 million Linux boxes, 50 million Windows XP boxes, and 35 million pure Unix boxes. And then there would be viruses and software being swapped around the network all day long, and some boxes wouldn't be able to run the software, and some boxes would crash when the software was installed, and some might need to be reformatted before they can work properly. And memes run around the internet, and people hate other people for saying things which just can't be true, and people's worlds come crashing down as new information is presented to them, and people get reborn into a new belief system and suddenly the world seems fresh and new and right.
Still, though, the computer case that your computer has says something about the hardware inside, and the appearance of a person says something about what's in their head. Likewise, computers have their blinking lights, and there is certainly a world of nuance and information that can be read from a person just by their behaviors and expressions. Is the bond that people share strictly related to the mass mind? No, there's probably some physical elements as well. If I had a religion, maybe I'd say that I believed in the mass mind. But I'm not sure that's the right way to think about it. Remember, religion is still mostly just a story to have the preacher guide you into the mass mind and then to have the mass mind apply itself in a controlled manner. As I said, we're basically still just animals. The mass mind might be a feature of our particular kind of animal, but it's not really a god. It can, however, probably do the things that people tend to consider "miracles" or "acts of god". Do we have a purpose in life? Maybe we do. Maybe our purpose is to find our purpose. Not in the grand philosophical sense, but rather, if we were born as a "scalpel" type person, we need to find out that we are a doctor, or a mugger, or a soldier, or an editorialist. Then our purpose is fulfilled and so are we.
What is the purpose of my life?