Yeah....a lot of what you're saying fits with a popular cognitive theory for why people tend to have such terrible and persistent feelings of guilt after something terrible happens....ie that it is more comforting to believe in a cause (even if that is something we believe we did and feel absolutely awful about) than it is to accept the pure randomness and unpredictability of reality. It's certainly a theory I use with people, that seems to make sense.
Cognitive dissonance is a theory that seems to have reasonable rationality in terms of explaining our tendency to cling to beliefs in which we have some emotional investment, despite good evidence...it even predicts ( as I learned about it anyway) the tendency to cling ever harder the more evidence piles up against the belief....until sometimes we do a sudden flip and embrace the new theory....something which I notice appeard to happen in real life.
I have real trouble with the more florid conspiracy theory believers than I do with gillies and ghosties and ETs that go bump in the night.
It just seems to me, quite apart from anything else, that the most cursory experience of living in the world tells us that there is NO way enough people could keep a secret to maintain any of the wilder conspiracy theories away from the front page.
I guess that little conspiracy theories turn out to be right all the time....(like the US helping the coup that overthrew Allende and all those real politik things that you don't want to believe....I mean the recent murder of that poor Russian fella in London looked crazy to begin with) and that makes the crazy ones look better.
But yes, I agree a lot of it is it's just damned scary being a pretty helpless poor bare forked animal out here in one of the less majestic parts of the universe.
I can follow the wanting to live forever thing...it's the ripping out genitals, and being killed for eating hopping insects, and believing god/s want half the human race to be lesser, or that we ought to wear weird undergarments or WIGS (Hasidic women) or hot, stuffy tents or not touch our personal toyshops.
I mean, I know we project our weirdness onto the heavens.....but for PETE'S sake people.....how come more of us can't believe in a nice little eternal life without trying to make people down here so damned unhappy? Is it really the toilet training, or something? (That's a joke...for the irony challenged...)
Oh, I did a thread a way back about how some research said that denying false beliefs, and giving good counter-evidence, ends up, for a scary number of us, being remembered after a few days as an example of evidence for the belief being debunked.