You know, your friend has a point.
I work with immigrants, refugees and displaced people. Many are survivors of war, torture, economic marginalization. Many have watched loved ones die of curable diseases or death squads. The vast majority find comfort in their various religious beliefs. And you know what? When I see survivors who have developed strong survival strategies, I don't have a problem with using a god as a survival strategy.
But let's imagine a world without "shit holes." Let's imagine a world in which there is not starvation or economic marginalization. Let's imagine a world in which everyone has access to clean water and nutritious food and shelter from the elements. Let's imagine a world in which no one's family faces institutionalized persecution because of their race or ethnicity or political perspectives.
That world would have no need for religion.