Note: Excuse my jumbled ideas.. the urge to write was stronger than the drooping eyes :$.
Now, if I go about this logically, firstly, I would want to know what is religion. According to Wikipedia: "A religion is an organized collection of beliefs, cultural systems, and world views that relate humanity to an order of existence." What I gather here is that religion is a way of life. So.. from whose twisted mind did it come that it's a 'separate', 'closed' or whatever.. 'exclusive' thing to be in? Nevermind. If you go a few years back in the educational trip of your life, you might remember that humans did not develop in a cluster only in one place (surprise!). There are seven continents and countless islands and countries around the world. While the islands are full of migrants of different cultures, which is of course very beautiful, the continents are the root source of civilization. I know am pointing out very obvious things... but there are those who would not get the point if I don't.
Very obviously again, culture is the result of the environmental and other factors affecting the people gathered in the different regions of the world (the conditions they live in, the food available to them, the language they develop, etc.). So, I believe, at some point, a wise old person realized that survival comes in unity! Unity is power and to stay together, there have to be rules! I think that they already believed that there was something big, powerful and beyond their understanding that created the universe. That 'thing' deserved to be worshiped (it gave them life after all). And that wise person also realized that the 'thing' needed a voice. I would say that religion was one very powerful and positive way of controlling people back then. It was never meant to separate people, only to keep them together as well as to keep people in a successful track of life tried and tested by the elders. Well, I can't blame them, they were only trying to survive. This same scenario happened across the globe. Does that make the people of those different cultures any less human? How is YOUR God better than other Gods? How is YOUR holy book better than another religion's? If you get down to it, don't they all just tell you when/what to eat? How to live? How to marry? When to take a break and meditate (pray)? When to bath? When to fast? If I gave you a book that told you to do these (because this is how you can survive), you would absolutely not follow it. However, if I told you, do this, it's written in the book God sent for us, you will do it not only without hesitation, but even without questioning it! Of course, the self defense mechanism of the 'books' already does the reverse psychology trick of "Do not question god's plan for you, others will try to stop you," etc.
What I don't understand is the Hate. If you grew in X and I in B, does that make you an alien or what? THE POINT IS: God or no God, it's only a theory yet to be proven. Back in the days, this was the only way of helping people (mostly uneducated) to survive and keep the population alive and productive. Of course, some saw that they could exploit this to their own advantage.. but let's not get into that at the moment.
The BIGGER QUESTION is: Do we still need that to survive? In this day and age? Which I believe is more a question of living rather than surviving. People are ridiculously killing each other around the world simply to prove their point, or rather to impose their point of view. Now where the hell in your so called religion is it told that it is wrong for other people to go about the whole thing in a different way? Are they rivals you are competing with? Am not saying that it's wrong to follow any religion but don't you think that it is maybe high time to stop imposing these beliefs on others? Especially our children (why? Because they have to to make their own choices. It is their basic human right and they have to live in this world which is now virtually a global village)? Change is the way of life. It's the only constant thing ( as Darwin or god knows who said). The human software version badly needs an update. The good news is that you only have to click on allow for it to happen. The goal is to be good humans, keeping in mind our moral values and ethics. Don't you also think that this would be the greatest step towards world peace as well as inner peace?
In one sentence, religion is an old version of a self-help guide to life. PLEASE update!