I won't deny that there are many good lessons to be learned from religion. After all it is mostly made up of timeless wisdom. It continues to spread to new followers because those new followers are looking for answers. They want a better life. To the average person, reading religious texts will improve their life because they are severely lacking in wisdom and morality to begin with.
Judeo-christian and Buddhist religions just happen to be the most resilient religions. Think of the religions that we don't believe in anymore. We know what causes lightning and it's not Zeus. We know that chaos is a natural phenomenon and not some mystical creature causing mischief.
Science relies on experimentation and evidence rather than presumption and hearsay. Yet people still cling to their religions. They try to change the definition of their God in an attempt to make reality fit into their religion. But religion is not the container. Reality is the container.
Religious people cherry pick what parts of the religious texts they'd like to focus on and communicate and ignore the outdated ideas. In science, the truth is the one right answer. With religions, there are many conflicting guesses. Calling something truth does not make it true.
When somebody wants to advance their learning in science they become a scientist. They add to the body of knowledge that we take advantage of everyday. All the engineering and medical feats and other innovations that we enjoy started with scientific inquiries. They didn't magically come into existence because some god willed it to happen. Humans made the discoveries. And it's not just the things that we can touch. Anybody can go to a psychiatrist with a problem and it can be worked out. The psyciatrist doesn't make you feel ashamed for having the feelings and instincts that you have. He doesn't just tell you to stop doing that or you're going to hell. He helps you work through it with what he's learned as a scientist and from other scientists. To a scientist, morality is a useful thing that is meant to benefit most of the people most of the time.
Somebody who wants to advance in religion becomes an extremist. I don't make any distinction between a fundamentalist and an extremist because they are the exact same thing. They are the people who learn as much as they can about their religion and try to make their lives fit into their religion. Most Christians are not extreme. Why? Because they cherry pick what they like from the Bible. They don't like gays because they're different so they hide behind God's supposed hatred for them. But you won't see them stoning a child for being disrespectful or making their women leave town when they are on their period, both are commandments found in the Bible near the "ten" commandments. There's actually many, many more commandments. To the religious extremist, morality comes from God. What the book says is the right thing to do must be done. And if your gut tells you that it's wrong, then you're not doing good in God's eyes and you will be punished for your self-rightiousness.
Religion causes people to do outragious things like mutilating baby boys, kill, rape, and pillage other people, hate people, ignore what's real around you, and it gives people an excuse to do nothing but pray for things that they should be doing something about themselves.
I know it feels good to believe in God. I did for a while. It felt good to know that somebody loves me no matter what. That's how they suckered me. It wasn't until later that I learned that was all bullshit. This supposed God only loves you if you act right.
It feels good to think that bad things that happen have a higher purpose. You go to church and sing songs and praise god and you just feel all warm inside like you've been wrapped in a blanket of love. But the other side of the coin is the problem. You may not be an extremist but you're encouraged to recruit more to your religion. And they may become the extremist, maybe even the next idiot president who thinks God talks to him through his idiot intuition. You're also told that, if you ask questions and doubt God, that miracles won't work for you and it shows a lack of faith. So you're taught to be closed-minded and ignore or discount anything contrary to religious doctrine.
You also vote based on your religion. So nevermind that Stephen Hawking, one of the greatest minds ever who clearly contributes to society, will not be cured of his disease because God values life even though he chose his favorite people and told them to massacre thousands of peoples in his name.
As far as science is concerned, the answers are the same for everybody. There's not much conflict once something is generally accepted by the scientific community. Not long after a discovery, humanity is improved through innovation and education that grows from the discovery. With science, people care about the legacy they leave behind for future generations. They don't do desparate things like fly into buildings, start wars, commit atrocities, abuse newborns, sacrifice animals, and possibly end all of humanity with nuclear annihilation in the hopes that they will be rewarded in the afterlife.
The biggest problem I have with religions is that they have a monopoly on morality. Morality needs to be taught in schools but you can't even consider it because that would be the doorway to getting religions in the schools. Morality doesn't come from God. Morality is just the right thing to do. And since it can't be taught with mainstreem education, the people who yearn for answers to moral questions must turn to religions.
Most of my beef is with Chrisianity because that's where my experience lays. Christianity reels you in with this beautiful story of a baby that was God's child but is God at the same time who talked to his father or himself and his father told him or he told himself that he must die a cursed death and go to hell for three days, suffering in his own creation, so that he could forgive you for your sins, which he, in all his omniscience and omnipresence knew you were going to do when he made you. And you're supposed to believe that he did all these parlor tricks while on Earth so you can read stories about him and be in awe of his awesomeness. He's also jealous and wants you to worship him but he won't reveal himself to you and he hides dinosaur bones to trick you. There's lots of other things that don't make sense but you get the idea.
For the people who say they don't subscribe to any particular doctrine but they believe in God or they are spiritual, I say what is the point? If you believe in God you must have reasons. And if you have reason then you are making assumptions about something you know nothing about. Maybe you assume there is a creator that loves you. You probably learned that from televangelists. But it's an easy slide into religion if you experience some kind of loss. Even if that never happens to you, you still spread that belief when you communicate it to others.
Science is on the right track. If we truly want a peaceful utopia on Earth and beyond, it's not going to be found through religion. It's going to be found through scientific discovery and diplomacy.