This news article shows how anxiety about death can facilitate religious belief, and how Sagan's approach to science-based meaning works as an alternative. Death Anxiety prompts people to believe in ...
"Our results suggest that when confronted with existential concerns, people respond by searching for a sense of meaning and purpose in life," says Tracy. "For many, it appears that evolutionary theory doesn't offer enough of a compelling answer to deal with these big questions." Tracy says, "These findings suggest that individuals can come to see evolution as a meaningful solution to existential concerns, but may need to be explicitly taught that taking a naturalistic approach to understanding life can be highly meaningful." [emphasis mine]