You seem to be saying that if we were to take religion out of people’s lives that they would just normally act in a reasonable (whatever that is) manner due to some innate goodness. Do you really believe that? Reasonable? According to whom?
You seem to be saying that to be religious you must abandon all science and reason. Do you really believe that? I have found that not to be true.
Would you say that it is reasonable to deny someone else the right to believe in religion because you have deemed it illogical?
It seems that with the Christian faith a person has to find the Lord in their own way. It is an ongoing process brought about by experience, faith and logic.
Something to think about. It is just my opinion:
Religion, all religions, can be taken to extremes. One extreme is strict adherence to God's laws/ commandments. We need the law. Without the law we fall into lawlessness and chaos. We also need a just God because without that there is no strength in the law.
Christians believe that only God is perfect. Because people are not perfect they cannot hope to live up to the perfection of religions that require strict adherence to the law. Islamic fanatics believe in strict adherence to the law. Like Islam, Christianity has the law, but Christianity also has forgiveness in the person of Jesus.
Christians are told not to judge. Because only God is perfect, when we judge ourselves righteous and condemn another for being sinful we have become self righteous. How can people ever be righteous if they are not perfect? If people are not perfect then it would follow that we must all be sinners. Interestingly enough this makes us all equal in the eyes of God. When we condemn another for their sinful behavior we agree with the law that says sinners are deserving of condemnation, but at the same time aren't we also condemning ourselves because we, like them, are not perfect and therefore also sinners? When we do something wrong that is deserving of punishment don't we hope for leniency and mercy for ourselves? Knowing that, should we not then show this same love and forgiveness toward others that we wish for ourselves?
The end result of christianity is love. The bible gives us two commandments under the covenant forged by Jesus. That we love God and that we love our neighbors as ourselves. Even if we don't know or understand the law as presented to us in the commandments most everyone can understand what it means to be loved. We also have the person of Christ who is our perfect example and embodies these two commandments in all that he does.
Religious extremists often demand strict adherence to the law. Their law does not allow for forgiveness. Religious extremists that only have the law use their religious laws to justify their right to condemn another and because people are not perfect a reason can always be found to judge others as less righteous and therefore worthy of punishment under the law. Those who are condemned may very well be guilty of having broken the law -in large part because people are not perfect.
Religious extremists who try to follow the law may seek to prove themselves righteous, yet being imperfect and therefore also falling short of the perfection the law demands; they can never find righteousness through the law. They are then apt to seek self righteousness by pointing out the faults of others and meting out punishment. They are always looking for faults in others to condemn so they can feel righteous. In Christianity Jesus is the forgiveness for an imperfect world. Born of God and not of man he was perfect/righteous. He died. He did not deserve to die under the law. He died in our place to fulfill what was required of the law that we might live not under the law, but under grace, God's love and forgiveness.
Was it self righteousness that drove Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to kill an eight year old boy, three young college girls and a security guard with their homemade bomb?
Religious extremists, in their zeal to obtain righteousness for themselves under the law, can exact their punishment for misdeeds at any time. People are not perfect, only God is perfect. There can be no sense of peace only a fear that religious extremists may turn their judgment on you next.
You can find religious extremists in all religions. I follow Jesus. He is my peace. I find it truly amazing the way God, through his son, has set up his plan of forgiveness, love and peace.
The recent arrest of Crawford and Feight, who wanted to kill muslims with radiation, shows just another example of self righteousness. You can find extremists in followers of all beliefs. Regardless of their beliefs there will be people who will judge others as undesirable, and worthy of punishment and/or death. You don’t necessarily need religion in that respect .