There has been a very interesting discussion going on between Burningbird, Jonathan Delacour, AKMA and Joi Ito about some of the challenges of religion both for those who have faith and those who don't.
I have increasingly strong belief that there is an underlying sense to life and that some people, Jesus, Buddha Mohammed and others have got much closer than the rest of us to understanding that truth. However as soon as their followers start to build organised religions around their words things go horribly wrong. As soon as belief in one faith means excluding the truths of others we are in trouble. You are either in or not, with me or without, and these divisions have been responsible for most of the world's wars.
I recently finished the latest in Neil Donald Walsh's series of conversations, The New Revelations, a lot of which is about the damage religions have done and the absurdity that an all powerful, all loving, all creating being could possibly approve of the nit picking, male dominated, exclusionist, judgemental, status obsessed crap that so much of the major religions is about.
As God puts it in the book:
It is your understanding of God that is the main problem. I will say it again, so that you cannot miss it ..... the problem confronting you today is spiritual.
You do not understand who you are. You do not understand who God is. You do not understand how the world works. You do not understand that love is the basis for all of life, nor can you comprehend a love that is unconditional.
You imagine God is a small, petty, jealous deity who says to people bowed in prayer, "Sorry, it's my way or the highway. Your prayer I hear. Your prayer I don't, because you didn't do it right. You didn't please me." In this you turn me into a replica of the worst of humanity.
You claim that you are God-like in your lives .... and if this is the God you are striving to be like you have succeeded brilliantly.
You may thank organised religion for teaching you how.