Humanity has endured for centuries without the current advances in science. Science, no doubt, improves our quality of life. But in times of wild uncertainty or depression, it is not science but rather religion that sustains us. A world without religion is a world untested, but it is most likely one not worth living in.
Central to this discussion is the meaning of religion. One should not limit religion to the ones that pop immediately to mind: Christianity, Judaism, Islam, so forth. Any set of deeply held beliefs that we cling to dearly could be described as a religion. We follow it stubbornly and draw upon it in times of need, for inspiration or sustenance or hope, much in the same way a traditional devotee would with his religion. It imbues us with purpose, gives our existence meaning. With this definition, you might just find that you yourself follow a religion. Could you do without it?
I believe that religion and science work hand in hand. It is like a system of checks and
balances. Religion gives science a conscience,
and science forces religion to be logical.
If I had to choose one, I would choose religion because it is necessary
for the peaceful operation of a society.
In religion, most scientific problems can be 'solved' by claiming it is all down to god and nothing more. This means that religion leaves no room for advancements. In science a problem is given thought and reason and advancements are made all the time. To claim that religion allows a society to function peacefully is ignorant, and this is proven by history, take Giordano Bruno for example, an Italian philosopher who was burnt at the stake for having beliefs contrary to catholic church.
While religion can offer people things like hope and community, science provides practical solutions to the problems we have. Science is the core of modern medicine, which allows us to become empirically more healthy. Religion is subject to interpretation which has led to many needless conflicts, including deadly ones. Science has a process in which experiment must be conducted and theories must be tested. It is more reliable for this reason.