how would atheists respond to religion as a way of finding meaning in their livesSomeone stumbled onto my blog using that as a search string. Since they probably didn't find the sort of answer they were looking for, and since I am by nature always trying to help, here's my answer.
First of all, I can't speak for all atheists - and I wouldn't if I could. It's like trying to speak for all Christians, or all Buddhists; the term encompasses a wide variety of views. But, okay, how would this particular atheist respond to religion as a way for someone to find meaning in their life?
I'd say, "Does it work for you? If so, wonderful."
See, here's the thing: people are different. What works for me, might not work for you - and vice-versa. As an irreligious person, what I mainly want from religious people is acceptance of the fact that I'm not religious - not because I'm angry, in rebellion, or too attached to my sinful ways, but because in a fundamental way, religious belief doesn't make sense to me. It doesn't work for me; I don't seem to be wired for it, if that makes any sense. And if I'm going to ask for that acceptance from religious folks, it only makes sense for me to accept that their religious beliefs work for them, that they make sense to them.
There are, of course, some limits and conditions on my willingness to be accepting. To the extent that your faith helps you personally, and encourages you to right action towards other people, I'm in favor of it. To the extent that your religion encourages you to do things that are harmful to yourself or others, I'm opposed to it. (In most cases, I can't see that it particularly does either one; it's just a part of who that person is.) So if someone is practicing a particularly toxic sort of religion, I'm perfectly willing to try to argue them out of it... but the goal isn't to argue them out of their religious beliefs; it's to argue them out of hurting people. And if you feel like you can't quit hurting people without giving up your religion, then I have to ask if what you have is religion worth keeping.
But as far as being a way of finding meaning in life? Go for it.