Religion has clearly played a central role in forming societies and people's sense of morality, but the question we are left to wonder is, do people need religion?
Like training wheels on a bicycle to help a person learn to ride a bike, religion has helped humanity to some degree to learn how to walk upright, even as it has necessarily produced great oppression and bloodshed to advance it's power over people in the process. Like unions or governments, religion is a man made creation that seeks first to acquire power and authority, and then to produce whatever benefits it seeks to convince people it is the sole provider of.
As has been said before, religion convinces people that they suffer from an imaginary disease, which it calls "original sin," that it alone has the cure for in the "blood" of jesus Christ. As cannibalistic as this crude yet primitive idea may sound, it really is what Christians beliefs boil down to.
But do people really need to "believe" in Jesus Christ to be good, or to overcome addiction (as in AA and NA), or to have discipline in their lives? Does religion, or more specifically the man made stories that we are told we MUST believe to be "good people," avoid hell, and obtain ever lasting life, really add anything original to human experience and existence that cannot be found without such stories?
The answer is quite obviously, and unmistakably - No!
Instead, religion forfeits any claim to moral superiority by knowingly and deliberately conflating it's narrative "beliefs" about virgin births and the death defying, water walking, miracle working, rebel named Christ, with "truth." While "truth" and "beliefs" can have a good deal of overlap - like "believing" one can finish law school or win a race, can actually lead a person to making such goals come "true" - they are not always and everywhere one and the same.
Worse, to convince people that they can only ever achieve any goal they may have in mind, or overcome an addiction, or be a good person, or know "truth," or have hope in anything, or a host of other things, by necessarily "believing" in a particular "story" of a 'man-god,' can only ever be characterized as charlatanism a priori.
Even if we accept the counter argument offered by Christians and Muslims that people are worse without religion (a claim that has repeatedly been proven to false), such utility says nothing about whether such a story is therefore "true." It does, however, work to convince people that they MUST accept such a story as true, which is only self serving to all those who derive their power and position for getting people to accept it until they are completely dependent upon it.
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