I would like to ask a broader question, which is whether religion is better than atheism for attaining any particular normative goal. The reason for this is that confining the question to which is best for promoting cohesion begs the question as to why cohesion is important. To attempt to avoid this problem, one could pose the question more broadly: given any chosen normative goal, is religion or atheism more condusive to attaining it?
I think any human whom accepts we are all one and inclusive can achieve more than imagined. For me religion causes exclusion, discrimination which ultimately divides those seeking to accomplish goals. Comprehend the point of religion being percieved as a badge of trust. My couter question would be, “so you fear trusting another human?”
And yes, I grasp having that fear. Courage though as chief Red Cloud suggests is setting aside fear to attain something more important. So, the question becomes does religion weaken you to a point of not being able to have courage, strength?
That is what I believe religion does. It creates fear by abolishing courage. “We can acheive X but only if we exclude Z over there, they’re creepy folks.” and then, you go on to seeking the goal only finding it is untenable. “Pray for the will of our great deity to make it so, sacrifice in support our ventures our deity says.” All the while, if you had included Z you would have long ago had X.
This is but one of many reasons, the illogical nature of religion, for why I choose having none. It is illogical to fear others enough so as to be exclusive, and but a shard of whole. Even more illogical to think sacrifice to deity then, would make one whole. I’m sure YMMV and the usual standard disclaimers apply as applicable. 🙂
What to do with redundant churches? Make affordable or free housing shelters out of them for the poor, homeless, down trodden. Leave them a sacred places. Maybe have rotating student nurses, doctors visit them and offer a few hours time in volunteering care of those unable to afford it. Make some of them domestic and child abuse shelters where by bikers may protect battered women/men and children in the safe house/churches.