Religion is the human response to being alive and having to die.
I had a chance to talk with him about that. He had no problems with atheists in his church.
His question to me was something like have you come to grips with the the fact that you are going to die, and what effect has that had on your life up to now, and in the future. I said something like sure I will die and quoted Jeffers "Surely they must know that cultures decay and life's end is death." The Purse-Seine (1937.) He waited silently for the "and"
Every moment is a gift that must be used intelligently to enrich the lives of those around me in ever widening circles. His response was: Is God involved? I said no and he said you have just defined your atheist religion. I didn't like the term religion as that implied dogmatic to me, and asked if I could use spirituality instead of religion. He replied. They are the same thing.