The longer I live out here, away from the insanity that seems to pervade modern day life, the more I wonder at my fellow humans. The rarity of joined up thinking is staggering.
Brought up in an Engineering background, I tend to look at events as processes. Causality rules, so to speak. Nothing happens in isolation with few absolute values. Everything is relative. To pretend otherwise is pure folly.
Conversely, to overstate an effect is an even greater mistake, yet I see otherwise intelligent and rational people do it all the time. They take a philosophical position on the shifting sands of 'morality' for example, and promptly get everything disasterously wrong. Almost like they're wearing blinkers.
So it is with religion; as for me, I find religion gets in the way of God, or at least my perception of God, and what that concept means to me. By way of explanation I don't believe God micro manages our lives. From the limited evidence I have available this does seem to be the case. Ergo, some priest in girly robes telling me for example, that eating beef on a Tuesday is not the will or the Lord will get laughed at for the simple reason that I don't think God cares overmuch. In our day to day lives, experience will bear this out.
What I tend to look at as proof God does not meddle in our day to day lives (He's probably got better things to do) is when 'true believers' start handing around veilled threats that something bad will happen to you if you do not do things like their priests tell them you should. If what they say truly were 'God's will', then surely God would make it physically near impossible for me to do. The same argument can be seen to hold true for 'bad' things like Earthquakes, Volcanoes, Sunspot Minimums, Murders, Ethnic Cleansing etc.
Then again, who is to say what is 'bad'? The Earthquake is mainly a side effect of plate tectonics. Volcanoes are just the Earth venting a little excess pressure here and there. Murders and killing are a side effect of a whole rake of factors which have precious little to do with religion, and more to do with the 'baser' side of human nature. Ethnic cleansing is an extreme extension of natural competition between tribal groups. Ergo, 'bad' is a morally relative position just as much as 'good' is.
By this reasoning, religion can neither be viewed wholly as good or bad. If examined under the light of historical perspective, religion is tribal, or to borrow a term from Desmond Morris, 'super-tribal'. We have had eras in human history when a number of Gods were the religion of preference. At the moment a single God is the religious preference. The rest is all a matter of perception and politics.