In my opinion, Religion was created to have power over a group of people, And that no religion is true at its core.
That being said, I do believe that religion has brought good into a lot of people's lives and that it is not necessarily a bad thing. Religion, While manipulative, Does help people get through life easier, And I am always in support of something that causes good.
I do agree though that it has helped in w¡many ways the people, By giving them hope and something to look up, To, A meaning of life, But it has also done, Evil. Did you know, That in the past people with yellow eyes existed, But they were killed by the Christians because they thought they were possessed, Or burned women for being "witches", Sometimes people were killed because they thought differently or contradicted them.
In conclusion, God and religion has helped, But it is still a scam and an excuse to everything, It is just a back door
For it to be a scam, Those who are doing the convincing know that what they are saying is false. Tho there may be some exceptions, It seams like the clergy believe their claims. It may be possible if not likely that these religions were started by people who knew they were not telling the truth but the followers who came since and continued with the belief likely accept it as fact.
People over the years have created religions/cults to abuse others and gain power, True. This does not, However, Mean that the concept of religion is a scam. A religion is just the way some people view the world. Their worldview might have scientific support, Or it might just be a delusion. Religion itself isn't a scam.
Religion is not a scam as it creates a bases for what you believe in. For me I am a christian so that helps form many of my opinions such as how the world was made. I believe in creation. And I believe sex before marriage is wrong. For Christians they believe that God listens to everything they say and he knows the desires of your heart. He helps you through your struggles. This not false hope as it is backed up by historical events. The Bible and history line up very well.
Religion certainly has a bad track record when it comes to commodification. From the Catholic church's sale of indulgences, To the birth of mega churches in today's world, Religion has converted into a means to profit by some. However, There is nothing to suggest that this misuse of religion is the intent. For instance, In an atheistic context, Most religions began as a explanation for natural phenomenon. And if you are someone who believes in a religion (I am slightly more agnostic in this camp), Then it is surely not a scam to you. As a result, It seems that regardless of whether or not you believe in a religion, Most of them are not inherently a scam (maybe Scientology). What is important, Is to make sure that you have reasons for your beliefs, And to not condemn liars who want to use your belief for material gain; and, At the same time cast your beliefs in a bad light; the very existence of this question illustrates the problem. Read Flannery O' Conner's "Good Country People".