I'm gay and atheist as well. I'm sorry that you gave to deal with all of this. I went out to eat with my family tonight and my mom started talking about my Uncle who died in the 70's. While he was alive, most of his life, he was an atheist and I never knew. Then she told me that after he was arrested and their mom came to see him in prison, he said that Jesus sat and talked with him. That was when he believed in Christianity. Also, he was black and in racist Mississippi in the 70's and I'm sure he was treated badly before he was beaten to death by policemen. I'm sure that he transitioned from an atheist because people tend to become more religious when they know or feel that no one else can help them. My mom said she and my grandma felt better because they believed that they'll see him in the afterlife.
Also, I don't think hope is a bad thing. Religion and prayer definitely are arbitrary rules and rituals but hope doesn't belong to a religion. Hope isn't synonymous with faith but more of wishing things fall in your favor. Hope isn't determined by anything except just trying to look for a better ending.