I'm not sure if I've mentioned that my dear husband is pretty damn intelligent. Like super-smart! He'll deny it but I've known him since we were 12... He is smart.
We discussed my post on Religion and Parenting and this was his take on it and it really does encapsulate my view as well.
"Religion is a way of convincing people to behave in a certain way by providing an overlay on their own understanding of the world that gives them with borders and guidelines for their behaviour (like a country border overlay on a map of the world)
Unfortunately some people see these borders as impenetrable rather than a checkpoint - just because I don't like British weather doesn't mean I can't go visit, and in the same way, lying is wrong but some times it is the right thing to do ("Your husband was a good man... "to a widow is much better than "He was such an angry man-tard!"
By relaxing border control you can teach an understanding of good and bad behaviour by instilling empathy rather than fear, uncertainty and doubt that stems from an angry, all powerful, unseen being with a penchant for smiting perceived evil doers!
So isn't that is the ultimate purpose of religion?
To motivate people to consider others? Empathy?
Religion is hammer for teaching empathy, but there are other tools in the toolbox."
Further to this I would add that religion is largely what you make it. Some people manage to be open-minded and open-hearted whilst still very steadfast in their beliefs. Others condemn anyone and everyone who believe differently - religious fundamentalists and cults being examples thereof.
I believe in being aware of virtues and having a moral baseline. This doesn't require a religion, it requires an understanding of humanity and society.