Advantages and disadvantages of religion?

Advantages:

- Religion gives strength

In difficult times, it is convenient to be able to turn to something or someone

- God is always at hand, and your friend

It can be very comforting to be accompanied by someone that is always there (for he is in your head), who is your friend, and who you can talk to

- God is a great metaphor for 'good'

It is nice to have something at hand that stands for 'good', and to what you can relate to in daily life

- Religion brings together

Religion brings people together. Not only metaphorically speaking, but physical at well (in church). That is good; so they can stand together.

- Rules bring some kind of structure

Most religions have rules, and they bring structure in people's lives, especially the not very well educated people. 'You shall not steal' is very clear.

- Religion can change people

If people have been leading a 'bad' life, religion can help them change for the better.

- Religions give answers to intriguing and difficult questions

Examples: where do we come from / who created mankind, what is the purpose of life, is there life after death, does god exist

Disadvantages

- Rules don't match up with feelings

This can be really very destructive; it destroys lives of people. For instance, think about the hundreds of thousands of homosexuals, who can not live the life they would like, because of the rules of some kind of religion

- 'Beliefs' don't match reality

Some religions deny important and well proven pieces of science, for instance the dinosaurs.

- Strict following of principles can stand in the way of common sense

- Religions separate

As religions are able to bring people together, it can create a huge gap between them - of different religions. For they all 'believe', but they still see only the differences, and not the similarities.

- Co-responsibility for (bad) government

If you supported in anyway the government of a religion, you are responsible for their actions (be it a tiny bit). If you only sympathy with the religion, many will treat you as if you are responsible for the actions of the government of the religion.