While I agree to most of your views there is one point that i do not tend to subscribe to. The religions were not invented but evolved. Every religion has evolved from previously existing religious beliefs. Some religions were lost in the process and some consumed by new religions. Most religion that can be traced to prophets or enlightened men were born in reaction to other religions oppressing acts. And the teachings in most religions consists of socially beneficial acts by members. Over the time all religions are highjacked by people with geed for power and money and that is where religions become tool of war, destruction and human sufferings. Most of the religions, in their early stages, were helpful to maintain internal harmony within society and creating moral code of conduct for members which suited those times. The religious conflicts today is probably born out of wars kings and rulers carried out for political reasons. Since in those times the religions were concentrated in different geographical areas the armies consisted of people of different faiths. Thus the political conflicts became religious conflicts. Over the time the religions are institutionalized and the institutions stared using religions for power and money.
In my opinion the religions have lost their utility in modern world and should fade away for the good of human beings.
Agreed that religion evolved. Richard Wright's Evolution of God is a good first book about the useful functions that religions used to play in society. Even today, several atheists acknowledge that religion sometimes brings people together in ways that atheists find hard to match. I'm thinking Penn Jillette, Richard Haynes, and others. There's a new book called Big Gods that is about the same thing, I think. So maybe some people are getting some utility out of religion.
Right there with you. I didn't waste as much in the way of resources, since I was pretty firmly an atheist, long before I turned 18. My family was a bunch of weekly-mass Catholics, though, and I was forced to go to church until I turned 18.
Including the sleep disruptions on the weekend, it took out a chunk, until I was able to refuse.
Joseph, your experience is like mine. If you're into it, it might be a healthy way to participate in an intentional community. But if you're not into it, it's like jail.
But if you're not into it, it's like jail.
Good simile. They share the potential for becoming a rape victim, if you include my time as an altar boy.
Some people find value in intentional, secular "unchurches" such as Ethical Societies or Sunday Assembly or some such (or even those UU congregations where both nontheists and theists are comfortable).
In fact, I'm a Sunday school teacher and coming-of-age mentor in a UU church in Seattle. Most of the kids are atheists and agnostics.