I agree that this does happen, but it's essentially a false sense of purpose. In the examples that you're providing, religion is nothing more than a placebo. God isn't really there, so where is this strength coming from? It's coming from within themselves.
Since you like analogies, think back to the Disney movie Dumbo. Dumbo believed that he needed the magic feather to fly, but the reality was he could fly all along. You would probably argue, "well if people want to believe in the magic feather, who are they hurting?". Of course, I would have to point out that this question has already been answered for you several times.
Attributing our purpose to God robs us of our power to find our own meaning.