Just to clarify in case you overlook, it doesn't matter whether the religion is logical or if their god is actually the 'one true god'. What I'm arguing for isn't the right or wrong or science of religion, but the existence of it and the importance, therefore the benefit it brings to society.
Religion has their laws that are mostly for good. Therefore, most believers do good and hence contribute positively in the form of charity or goodwill to society. Religion has indeed created a lot of controversy regarding laws such as gay marriage or extreme conservativeness, but it also has successfully propelled people to create civilisation out of the savage. Below I reiterate my point.
Someone said that religion without science is blind, but science without religion is lame. The implication behind the sentence is that whether you admit it or not, majority of humans need something to inspire and push them towards their goals. Either unable to derive the needed motivation, willing to believe in something in order to feel better, or forced to do it, they turn to religion. Religion is hence, a tool —or illusion for some, whatever you think— for us to better ourselves.
For example, belief in religion reduces a lot of stress. One who does things in the name of religion may believe at least one of the following, whether they admit it or not:
I accept my destiny and it was not really my decision to make because my path has already been chosen.
I am not, as a person, liable for the consequences due to the above, therefore my conscience is appeased.
I will continue to have everything I have so long I remain in my beliefs.
And so on.
This is actually a person giving an omniscient entity power over their actions which results in the person not taking the blame and so continuing in life unscarred. The person doesn't have to worry about what happened because 'it was supposed to happen' and they 'couldn't have done anything to prevent it'. It allows a person to give up their responsibilities, blame and guilt into faith—that they are having the best path chosen for them. They are in control, but yet, when it's convenient, utterly powerless.
Personally, I disapprove of this behaviour, but I cannot deny that it is extremely efficient in getting people through their lives. It enables people to have a goal, a direction, a duty in life—things that they would not spawn such a devotion to otherwise. Religion reduces stress and hence depression and psyche-related problems in general, although it does cause some others. It lets people live long enough to create society.
If religion suddenly ceases to exist, people would likely turn to worship another human being, or turn them into gods themselves. Religion is therefore important in a sense, that it prevents people from straying off a worse path, even if it takes advantage of their ignorance and humanity.
Religion as the belief in god or gods than yes. Religion provides answers and comfort for issues like death, marriage, why the winds change. The scientific method, rationality and reasoning, political governing, and ethics all have to be studied via books, a teacher, or the internet, however, not everyone has access, interest, time, or even the awareness that this knowledge exist so for those difficult moments in life a God/gods can provide solace and direction.
If we are thinking of religion as an institution than yes. In the past and today, religious institutions have provided education and health services through missionary work, charities, private schools and universities. And though there have been horrible cases of abuses, this doesn't negate their usefulness since similarly, police officers have been known to use excessive force, but we wouldn't disband our police force.
Lastly, religion acts as a support base for communities and yes, it can become divisive and fanatical, but so can patriotism and nationalism which require equal amounts of uniformity, indoctrination, and compliance thus, beoming utilitarianism .
Yes, having a pursuit or intreat to which you can ascribe supreme importance towards makes for a purposeful life.
People use religion to help them through suffering and recovery.
Some healthy congregations are surrogate families and many religious organizations shelter clothe and feed the homeless.
If practiced responsibly, wonderful… but I oppose the organized religion system and "choose to live without the certainties of a religious faith." Sting 2011 ~
Astrology, art and podcasts are where I find solace.
1. Not everyone has one.
2. Not everyone wants one.
3. Most people who have one do not want a different one.
4. Most people who have them think they are much more important that they really are.
5. They are only useful for a VERY limited number of things.
6. They tend to inhibit sound thinking and rational decision-making.
7. They are disastrous ways to determine public/governmental policy.
8. It indicates bad manners (at best) to talk about them or take them out and show to people who did not specifically ask.
9. It is never okay to wave them around in public.
10. Forcing them on others is a clear indication of psychopathic tendencies.
11. There are myriad viable substitutes, both natural and man-made.
They are important to those who follow them, and that should be respected, so long as the followers don't project their belief system onto those of us who don't share their faith.
I find religion is more often used as a method to categorize and divide people than unite and inspire them.
I bet religions are kind of a waste of time and the killing of different religions are terribly stupid. Me myself does not have a religion and I do not want one. The worst of religions is that you have to like do this and do that . Which i find terribly annoying.
Religion is the consistent practice of something. Religion, except that which is for the effort of one remaining uncorrupted and helping those in need, often incites discord.
Even religion when used for the sake of Atheism is proven to be unstable and very dangerous.
However, faith tends to bring hope in the hopeless situation, and tends to encourage people to act where they otherwise would not.
Otherwise you just have a bunch of backwards-thinking people who aren't really benefiting society in any big way. If a society DOES have a bunch of crazy fanatics, then they can do all kinds of great things. Just look at all the fantastic landmarks we have today as a result of religion. It would really be a shame if we didn't have those. But mostly, and more importantly, I think religious friction has caused a lot more trouble than it's worth.