At least the Heaven's Gate cult was internally consistent. They actually acted on what they believed.
There is a lot to do here. Besides, we dont hate life. We love it as much as any non religious people love it, with the possible exception that we don't see this life as all there is and that we don't just live for today(for tomorrow we die)
Often, when I bring this up, I am told that I prefer fantasy over reality, that I have a "whats in it for me" approach to a relationship with God, and that I dont look at what other religions and human literature have to say on the subject.
I don't think a purely selfish motivation is at play.
My own experience is that there is a difference in worldview. I can't speak for all atheists, but one of the major observations I have made is that atheists can make peace with the idea that the universe could care less about our existence. Ultimate, atheists are interested in what IS true, not what they HOPE is true.
Theists, on the other hand, seem to have a need that something out there does care about them. I would call that a very human reaction, not really a selfish one. In the end, I would define the essence of faith and belief as hope. The interesting bits come when that hope butts heads with facts.
So would you say that theists are interested in hope and seek faith whereas atheists are interested in reality and seek evidence?
That's a good description.
I would classify faith and hope as nearly the same thing. What theists seek out is a belief shared by others so that they can take comfort in sharing that belief. There is something to be said for being part of a community, and religions have been a part of communities from the very start. We often see christians say, "Do you think billions of christians could be wrong?". This is a bit of projection on their part, revealing that the popularity of a faith is what gives it credence instead of evidence.
Atheism is skepticism at its foundation. Atheists distrust ideas that are backed solely by faith and popularity. Atheists want to pull humans out of the equation in order to remove as much bias as possible. However, with theism it is impossible to remove humans from the equation since humans are the sole source of theism.
In essence, I would be supporting an extended family of dysfunctional addicted adults with the nebulous hope that one day one or more of them might benefit from my hard earned funds and turn their own life around?
From a pragmatic view, it is far more cost effecient to set a low bar for welfare recipients than it is to spend massive amounts of money making sure that the recipients are good people. You don't spend a dollar to cure a dime's worth of waste.