What role does religion play in human affairs?

A:

Ideally, religion provides comfort for those in need, hope for a life after death and some form of moral guidance. In practice, religion often provides intolerance for those in greatest need, and those least entitled to judge condemn those with whom they disagree, promising them an eternity in hell.

Sometimes, religious leaders do indeed provide worthwhile moral guidance, but all too often they prove by their own example how empty their words are. We only have to think of the Vatican financial scandals throughout much of the last hundred years, the wealthy (and sometimes adulterous) televangelists, the child abuse scandals that affect all Christian denominations, as well as Judaism and perhaps especially Islam. Religion is the driving force behind wars and terrorism.