However hard I try, I cannot shrug off the impression that philosophy asks all the truly important questions, but has always been somewhat vague when it comes to giving staightforward answers to those very questions. Do people have to turn to religion to get final answers? Because one thing is for sure: they are looking for those final answers.
Beware of straightforward answers to questions -- otherwise, you may end up like the folks who built the computer Deep Thought to answer the question of Life, the Universe, and Everything. When Deep Thought delivered the answer ("42") after 7.5 million years, it was a very straightforward one. But in this case it turned out that to understand the answer, you have to understand the question -- and no one really did. Getting clear on what the truly important questions are -- and how they should be understood -- is thus critical if we are to have any hope at answers that we can make sense of. So the question-asking role of philosophy is not one to be lightly dismissed. That said, I don't think it's true that philosophy fails to provide answers. You might be interested in Gary Gutting's recent book, What Philosophers Know , which attempts to show some answers that philosophy has provided in recent years.