It's hurt humanity
It's helped humanity
I would have picked helped, but Islam made me pick hurt. It is a putrid set of laws that govern putrid people and cause them to do disgusting things in the name of their "Allah". Without Islam religion would be no problem.
Religion is a tool, like a weapon: The more powerful it is, the more destruction it causes. Don't give me the same excuse gun nuts give: Guns don't kill people, people kill people. The more secular civilizations thrived.
Overall religion has hindered humanities progress due to its hinderence of technological advancement during certain periods of history as well as its use to oppress minority groups. I have no idea where people are getting this idea that religion got us to the top of the food chain through unification as humans were already forming groups before religion ever came about.
Religion has been the cause of massacres and untold harm. It is a system that keeps the powerful in power by policing another person's spirituality. If you study the history of religion, it's plain to see.
The only positive aspects can be gained from the simplest human activities. The negative effects we know very well. Proof that the net effect is not positive: http://www.skeptic.com/reading_room/religious-belief-and-societal-health/
We would have developed A LOT more quickly if the Pope, during the medieval era, didn't have so many restrictions on the people
Purely because without it we wouldn't have made it to the top of the food chain. Religion started to unify huge numbers of homo sapiens 70,000 years ago, and almost immediately afterward we became top of the food chain. We could have been eaten ages ago otherwise.
Its had a tremendous effect on bringing people together and establishing a shared set of moral goals for people to follow.
Does it hurt people? Yes. But I think more people are aided by religion than ailed.
There is a significant difference between various interpretations of religion. I believe it is a mistake to lump them all into one category. While it is true that evil men have used religion as justification for achieving their own ends, it is not just to castigate all believers because of it. Much good has also come of religion and the idea that blaming all of Christianity for the crusades of between 700 and 1000 years ago is just sloppy research. Only one Christian denomination was involved in that then, and not all that are extant today.
It really depends, it's had both positive and negative effects, if there was a middle ground option to vote, I would have chosen that. But from what i've seen, a lot of irreligious people complain about things like theocracies, crusades and etc. Most of the arguments on it hurting humanity seem to stem from Western/Abrahamic religions. Eastern religions like Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism etc. (some aren't even considered religions by many) seem to have less of a negative impact, and seem to have less extremists and fundamentalists following the religion. So it really depends on what religions you're talking about. I'd say abrahamic religions though seem to have more of a neutral impact on humanity, often people commit immoral acts for political reasons or to gain power, they may just use religion as an excuse, the "negative impact" seems to be quite exaggerated by atheists and (mainly) militant anti-theists. This question seems to be too black and white though.
Religion has unified more than hurt.
It has helped humanity in one way as it has brought people closer to God, but it has also started wars and fights across the World, but as a Christian I believe Religious Freedom is one of the most important rights a human should have.
It helped humanity because God created it.
There are many times when it has been used as a tool to control and corrupt the minds of subjects which is bad, but the religion itself is very good for setting guidelines of morals, and the purpose for being here. This is of course excluding satanic like cults.
Not denying the negatives, however let's acknowledge that original (unaltered) religious texts can't back up most of the harmful things being done. Therefore, I would blame humans, not religion. Because humans altered religious texts to fit their own desires (you may argue that religion was created by man, however you can't prove that) P.S. check out what the Islamic world did to the development of science and technology during the Golden Age. You'll be shocked... Peace x