World conditions could have gone the other way. We might just as easily have killed one another off, long ago, without religious influence, and without belief in a higher power to help us restrain our worst urges.
I think it’s particularly myopic to look backwards in history and assume that best case scenario would have somehow taken over, had it not been for the “retarding” influences of religion.
If nothing else, you should recognize religion as a kind of a “fixed point” against which science and research have often played, leading to the advanced state in which we find ourselves today. You should also know that of all the religions extant throughout history, the Christian religion was by no means the worst.
Religion has had a role in advancing society, as well. I’m no fan of Islam, but it is an established historical fact that the Muslim religion, shortly after it was founded by Mohammed, was responsible for an incredibly advanced society in Persia, as compared to that of the rest of the world during that time period.
Stop seeing religion as some sort of boogeyman or enemy. Just because a messed up one deprived all of us of part of the pleasure of life does not mean that they all do that, or that they are or were all bad. These “imaginary” beings you so frequently complain about often give the terminally ill and bereaved incredible comfort once they are in a position where man can do no more for them.
It’s only when religion causes people to hate, look down on one another, ban research, persecute, wage war, etc. that it is bad. Do you feel that all religious people do these things? The vast majority of them really believe in live and let live. We only hear of the most extreme cases and examples.
—Byker Bob arguing the point on I Survived Armstrongism that religion and spirituality can do a lot of good and HAS in the past DONE a lot of good in society despite it’s worst excesses shown to mankind.