I have an extended family that is very relaxed religiously. There are Catholics, pagans, Buddhists, Deists, Agnostics etc. However while everyone is supportive of everyone else, when I say I don't believe in any of it, I get a somewhat incredulous reaction.
It seems that at the very least you are suppose to believe in something. A cosmic conscience. A spiritual connection. It can be vague, and in my family it is very vague for the most part, but vague or not 'something' has to be there.
Now none of my family believe in intelligent design. These are all well-read smart people whom I love dearly. They like facts and science. And yet, to them, there has to be 'something' out there.
I think the thought of oblivion after death is scary to most people. At the very least they want to become part of the great cosmic awareness, whatever that may be. They want their 'hearts to go on.'
When I die, I acknowledge to myself that the chemicals and molecules that make up my physical existance will go on in some form, but I don't expect my 'spirit' to hang around or be absorbed or whatever. That this doesn't bother me seems weird to many people and my own family is included.
I see most clearly in the Pagan faction of my family that what religion really is comes from a desire to control the uncontrolable. To make things work out in some magical way to your benefit. Prayer is the same as an incantation, ritual circles are the same as Sunday mass. It is all trying to make the world work the way you would like it to, and not having to accept that you really only have control of yourself and your actions and reactions to the world.
Mind, you I am not a critical person. I don't tell the people I care about that they are, in my opinion, wasting their time and energy because that would just be rude.
But when I do say, that there are not angels or ghosts, gods or goddesses, cosmic awareness etc. I get the unmistakeable incredulity of "but something had to start it all.."
Lay people know so little of science. Taking the words of science such as quantum, does not make fuzzy spritual feelings more cogent. Talking about quarks and spirits in the same argument doesn't work. I really wish people could get over that old feeling of needing 'something' and live their lives as best they can everyday.