When you get right down to it, the universe is a very frightening place, almost completely inhospitable to life as we know it. Most people cannot live without believing there is some being out there watching over us. Such beliefs are probably imprinted during childhood, but they can be overcome. However, most people have no desire to overcome those beliefs and accept the universe as we can observe it. They need to believe in higher powers, mysteries that give meaning to their lives, and the hope of a better reward after death.
Many people I know would view life as pointless, even hopeless, without belief in a god, communicating with spirits of the dead, reincarnation, or some other mystical powers. When I explain to them that I believe none of this, that I prefer to base my beliefs on empirical evidence they are often shocked, and usually ask how I can tolerate all the pain and suffering in life without the hope of a reward. They simply cannot comprehend taking life as it is, and view science and the scientific method as cold, calculating and impersonal. They reject science because they do not understand it. Religion is simple, so they think they understand. Yep, it is the herd mentality combined with childhood programming and intellectual laziness. Going along is easier than thinking, and believing in magic is more comforting than admitting the universe does not give a damn about us or our little planet.