I Posted here rather than in a religious forum because I consider this issue to be more related to psychology, sociology, & politics than religion. I think the net effect is bad. Historically, it has surely caused a lot of horrors. Examples. Spanish & other inquisitions. Salem witch trials. Wars motivated by religious differences. The crusades. Even in modern times, there are wars & prejudices motivated by religion. The society of Friends (Quakers) is likely to be the only religion driven by behavior rather than by dogma & which seems to have never caused war, dissensions, prejudice, & other bad ethics/actions. I suppose I should include some Hindu & oriental religions as benign. While I am an atheist goy, I have a lot of respect for the lowest rank of religious leaders: Ministers, priests, rabbis, et cetera. I consider almost all of those one level up in religious hierarchies to be motivated by love of power, prestige, & other perks of their institutions. BTW: I started to become an atheist when about 8 years old, due to the story of Abraham & Isaac. I was strongly bonded with my father & considered the request to kill a son to be demonic. The more my Sunday school teacher argued with me on the issue, the more suspect I became about religion. I called myself an agnostic until I was circa 13. The following quip in the Readers Digest made me realize I was an atheist. An agnostic is a cowardly atheist. From Fran Sinatra lyrics: In the community in which I was raised, admitting to being an atheist resulted in adverse effects: Mostly verbal; Sometimes physical.