Ideology is religion's sibling. Like ideology religion is an attempt to explain the world. By and of itself the human impulse for religion is not innately evil - Buddhists and Jains are pretty harmless
I find it fascinating that religion persists in every culture and throughout time. There have to be good reasons for any behavior to continue. If a behavior no longer serves a purpose it dies out eventually.
This article postulates that one reason for the endurance of religious rituals is economic in origin.
Ironically, it also explains why the more more forceful and blunt posters among us are ineffective in their attempts to persuade their religious counterparts when the presumption is that the religious person is somehow lacking or deficient.
How do non-believers understand religion? Simply saying that the believers are crazy or living in a different world will not suffice. The believers are also normal human beings. They are no crazier than anyone else. There is another way to look at religion, through science. Science has provided human culture with an excellent understanding of the natural world and human behavior.
Is religious behavior rational? Is it the mobilization of available means to achieve certain ends?
The sociologists Stark and Fink (2000) argue that religious behavior is actually rational in an economic
sense in spite of the fact that the believers work with unobservable actors and magical processes.