So, life is scary if we can't feel like we know authoritative things about everything. Is it better to make things up to believe even when doing so finds us in contention with what few things we can know and can understand?
Religions have been the psychological security blanket of humanity probably since the first primate got scared out of its mind by a clap of thunder, or by an earthquake, or lightning, or a flood, or a forest fire, and had no idea what was going on. In the absence of knowledge or means to acquire knowledge beyond far-too-rudimentary methods, things got made up by way of explanation.
Lots of explanations for lots of things got invented, and were quite probably, in many of their originations, nothing sinister or malevolently intended at all. Quite frankly, they were almost certainly the product of scared primates that needed to feel like they knew something right and true and that could be relied upon to give them a sense of purpose and place in the world.
It would, in a sense, be a bit of a cruelty to take away a young toddler's security blanket and replace it with nothing while, at the same time, expecting that young toddler to somehow utilize their senses in ways they're not cognitively prepared to do yet, understand concepts they're not cognitively developed sufficiently to do yet and so on.
Now, we're a lot more awake, aware and developed as a species, but we've still got all these security blankets and artifacts of our infancies that many of us are clinging to, and have justified clinging to with increasingly fierce convolutions of rationalization, entitlement and even artificially constructed contexts of need.
As a species, religion impairs our development anymore. Where once these security blankets and artifacts of our infancies provided comfort and basis for sympathy and mutual relation between individuals, they have long, long since outlived their usefulness, and in many cases to such degree as to have become psychologically toxic on an individual level and socially ablative, divisive and fetid on the macro scale.
We have become as unto the young adult festooned with garbage we have ascribed cherished meaning to that stink and are offensive to others, which we rationalize emotionally while making frequent habit of lashing out at eachother with our security blankets that have become so filthy and so ragged that sucking on the corners of them is more liable to infect us with a disease than even offer the beloved benefit it might once have.
Among us, there are many, and more with time's passing, that divest themselves of such artifacts of our race's infancy; that try, and sometimes fail repeatedly for fumbling in unknown territory, to replace the baubles that once served as our only real tools of understanding and relating with better tools, tools designed by our current degrees of cognitive and social aptitude, and to find purpose and meaning in ourselves through their proxy.
It isn't an easy thing to do, to grow up. Nostalgia on an individual level will often find us wistfully yearning for the seeming simplicities of our childhoods, remembering the days when, compared to now, everything seemed to certain, so simple, so right. It becomes very easy to convince ourselves that we somehow need those artifacts of infancy...because we want them. We want to feel certain of something; of anything; with the completeness we once did as tiny little babies that KNEW that when we had our blanket and Mr. Teddy was with us, everything was ok.
Growing up is difficult, and life does nothing but get more complicated, especially in the paradigm of how we've set life to tending to be here on the world we live in. The more complicated life becomes and the more 'on our own' we are or even feel, the more appealing the artifacts of infancy may well become; the more necessary they might even seem.
Yet still I posit that clinging to them does not do a thing, and cannot do a thing, but inhibit our development as individuals and as a species, and there is no evidence of this greater than the hatred, the intolerance and the outright mania surrounding many of the largest organized religions' activities not just throughout history, but straight through to today.
Countless millions of our fellow human beings, sometimes even ourselves on this very forum, have suffered because of someone else's religious beliefs. Every single one of us, in some way or another, no matter what we believe or why, is wrong, filthy, unclean and hateful in the eyes of entire other religions based on nothing but cherishing a different set of childhood artifacts, or for seeking to be rid of them altogether.
On the individual level, feeling informed is no replacement for being informed. No storybook we find emotionally compelling can, or even should, be placed in the same context of reasoned evidence for or against much of anything as the rigorously examined, tested and reviewed findings of our most organized and dedicated thinkers-and-examiners-of-the-world-around us (I like to call them scientists), yet this is not only done, but it is the prevailing way of doing things in much of the world.
Growing up is hard, and it doesn't all happen at once even if it's earnestly, consciously sought.
Yet, it only happens accidentally if it even happens at all when it is rejected in every way one can conceive of.
It is time we, as a species, take responsibility for ourselves on a grand scale. The means are available; we have created them. The needs are numerous and become ever the more urgent and numerous with every passing day.
We don't actually know anything about gods or supreme beings, about whether or not anyone or anything actually pulled the trigger and created reality or not. We can't know such things; the best we can do is contrast the claims many make about such things with what we DO know, and those claims that are artifacts from our infancy as a species just don't add up, and add up even less as our knowledge of reality around us improves.
Could there be a god or gods or beings we have in no way even begun to imagine the scope or scale or intentions of? Absolutely; we know so little that we'd be intellectually dishonest (and intellectual honesty is quite probably the only saving grace on such issued as that we're ultimately capable to that will matter in times to come) to make absolute statements and claims about much. For all we know, the universe could be the science experiment of a very young ultra-being, or the accidental byproduct of a celestial dragon's sneezing, or a unicorn fart.
Being as that we don't know anything about ultra-beings or celestial dragons or unicorns (and, in fact, made all such things up and characterized them per our imaginings), we could literally make ANYTHING up and call it good if we simply wanted to feel informed about anything.
But that's not good enough for the practical needs of our species, is it? Can we just make up something about faeries to not only feel informed upon but to base resolving actions on...cancer research? How about food shortages in Africa? ...Traffic management in a city? ......Can I repair my computer by making up a bunch of stuff about pixel zombies and how they've infested my hard drive, and now I must burn them out because -everyone- knows that zombies hate fire?
Simply, no, we cannot do this anymore. We have constructed a great many needs into our ways of life for real knowledge based on facts and evidence, and of these genuine pursuits of such facts and evidence, we've discovered a great many things we can, in fact, know about at least to such degree as to make some terribly useful (and just plain terrible) things and tools and resources for ourselves.
Pretty wasteful of our resources though, aren't we? Ah, the blunders of eager youth, eh? We got ahold of industry and polluted our own environments and ransacked the natural world in many places, and the consequences of that are still making some go "O'crap, whoops, we done a stupid" while trying to correct it where others are still going "Nuh uh, I still wanna plaaaaaaaay and have lots of thiiiiiings, you're wrecking my fun!"
Clearly, we're still growing up. Whether anyone's 'ready' or not, or wants to be or not, however...we have made our world and our societies, industries and ways of living in particular in such a manner as that, to sustain them let alone progress in them, we're going to have to be pretty grown up about ourselves in personal and macrosocial ways all alike.
No ifs, ands or buts about it. Even if our species is still 'only' a young adult barely out of childhood, we've eagerly gotten ourselves into a lot of messes we're going to have to grow up fast and genuinely to handle.
More than likely, we won't do that, and it will be catastrophe after catastrophe after catastrophe that forces us to learn, or die, where we were not able or willing to do so beforehand.
And if there is any sort of god or god-force out there, I for one don't see any sign or evidence of their existence. I surely don't see any sign or evidence of any super-being's imminent arrival to save us from ourselves on or about anything.
Clutch the talismans and artifacts and security blankets of infancy all we like; pray as loudly and as feverishly as you wish, any of you that are given to such doings; and it will not matter.
It will do nothing in the face of very real viruses and bacteria evolving at absurd speeds. It will feed nobody, and it will not devise upon more intelligent methods of resource useage and acquisition. It will not repair a road or perform surgery on a gunshot victim, and it will not stop anybody from pointing a gun or dropping a bomb on another. It will not clean any polluted water, or generate a single milliwatt of electricity to power our rampant uses thereof.
And those are the sorts of issues we have set before ourselves. Growing up is hard.
We have no choice but to do it or die, however. Is it particularly frightening to imagine that there is no safety net to fall back on? That there is no god that will save us if we mess up so bad that we wipe ourselves nearly extinct? That there is no knowledge, no matter what anyone pretends, of anything to do with afterlives, and there might not be any such thing at all?
If those prospects frighten you, good. They damn well should. They're very probably the truth of the matter, and even if they're not, we don't and cannot know the truth of the matter anyway.
We are, as a race, alone to the best and fullest of our knowledge. It will not help us to solve the problems we've both created and encountered to believe otherwise, and there is no future in waiting for invisible super-beings to save us while we continue to behave like rampant, wasteful children that have authorized ourselves to not take this life seriously in the right ways based on some pugnacious belief that we'll either get to go to magic happy places when we die or we'll just get to try again.
Those are very nice beliefs to feel hopeful about, but they are useless.
Just as useless as waving a pacifier at a broken computer would be with the expectation that doing so would fix it. Or waving one's security blanket at an earthquake to make it stop.