Religion in its many forms has wasted more human effort, life and capital than any other pursuit in history. That religion was necessary for intellectual evolution does not excuse it. If we could refocus that lost energy towards fostering a sense of world community and equality think how simpler life might be today.
I long for religion's demise.
Here is my belief system as it applies to religion:
* How we understand Existence is divided into three kinds: What humans think we know (this constantly changes), what humans acknowledge we don't yet know, and what humans can never know (because we lack the senses to perceive): the last two are sometimes called the "ineffable". None of these is outside of nature. There is nothing that is supernatural; if anything exists at all, it's part of nature: our ability to perceive it, matters not to its existence.
* We are a world filled with billions of personal religions - one religion to one believer: Like fingerprints, no two people believe exactly the same ideas about even their commonly shared religion. In effect, everyone is making up their own religion as they go, grabbing the bits they like and unhinging themselves from the bits they don't; the guy sitting just next to you at church is worshiping God in an ever-so-slightly, but materially different way. If that isn't proof that religion is simply a man-made construct to fill in our ignorance of existence, I don't know what is.
* Theism isn't ever necessary to live a kind, loving, holy, reverent, spiritual life. And, more often, theism causes the opposite, whatever it's original intent may have been.
* Love they neighbor as thyself, or do unto others as you would have them do unto you is a valid fixed standard for human behavior that needs nothing of God to achieve it's universal human relevance.
For those of you Big Thinkers out there who are theists, how do you make sense of religion?