It is ironic that the one man that changed civilation as did Jesus Christ and there was not a single sentence contributed by him in the so called word of God as it appears in the Bible. If a person must choose a belief system, Christianity would be the best choice. (not the Jehovah's Witnesses).THe worst would be Islam. As was once said by a more brilliant man than I, "BELIEFS MUST BE TEMPERED WITH REASON TO OBTAIN THE TRUTH"There are enough people on this planet that "need" a Faith to believe in for their survival, a properly tempered religion is still the only way for our happiness. (most of the time).
I noticed you said "so called word of God" good choice of words and rightly so because in only very few places does the Bible itself make that claim,, only one that i can recall right this moment where the scriptures are called the word of God.
As far as chrisitanity making the world a better place that is a subject for much debate(especially when we look at the history of christianity), But as you also say and I totally agree, that "belief must be tempered by reason to obtain the Truth" by truth I would mean "truth" in general like, Did we evovle? or Did God make the earth in seven days? and things like that but I don't think reason alone can bring us to some type of "true religion" or truth about which religion is the "true one" like the WT uses reason to trys and prove that they are,, for there is no true religion that the God of the universe endorses and wants us to follow,,, the reason I make this claim is,, for a number of reasons,, like when you are looking for a religion that is the true one right away you lay yourself open to be decieved, by some clever person or organization that may lay claim to being the only true one, just think about this for a moment:
If God is almighty and all wise why would he use a book that can have its meaning twisted and cause confussion in that people are haveing all kind of interpetation, and arguements as to what is the actual meaning of every verse, and that one needs to be a scholar or like you said it would be exausting to research every thing and even if we did become a scholar, the meaning is still not absolutely clear and is even debated among scholars,, WHy would God make it so difficult and put such an obsticle in our path to understand him if all he really has to do to stop the confusion is very simple and easy for Him being that it is claimed of him that he is "all powerful" and "all wise" when he could easily tell people clearly his commands, so simply and clearly, so that there are no mistakes by doing away with the ancient book form of communication and tell each of us in our own language and in each one our own minds clearly in unmistakable concepts and language we can each individually understand in which there is no doubt about meanings or any language barriors. But instead the form of communication is alway 3rd 4th or 20th hand,, and not even 2nd hand,, that is if he used an ancient book that has been recopied over and over again filling it with more errors and and subject to concils of men who decide which book get to be in God's word the bible and which one get thrown out, and making it posible for additions to sneak in different due to the fact that it was written so long ago, and was written by those who made the copies from copies, and not the original , the original copy (if there ever was an original (which is another subject for another topic) which was long gone and returned to the dust of the earth probably not many years after. This form of communication, and to my reasoning ability highly unlikely and very faulty for it makes those who trust in such a book easy pray by those who use religion to control people for thier own benifit or personal power over other, or even those who are sincere but indoctrinated to teach such and so, even though it has no basis in fact.
That's why I find it hard to believe if God exist (which is another subject unproven by reasonsonable facts) and if he has a certain way that he wishes people to behave, in which the punishment is loss of life and salvation,, why use a book that can have errors in copying and whos meaning get more unclear the older it gets, not very loving of God to do such a thing instead of just putting commands clearly in each individuals mind that they can easily and unmistakenly understand.