"If we didn't have religion to fight about it would be something else."

Saying that people will always need a religion, a pseudo religion or a religion substitute to use to harm and discriminate is saying that people like that are hard-wired to be bad and exploitive and religion is not responsible. This does not sound so strange if you just say religion is not responsible. To say pseudo religion or a religion substitute is not responsible shows exactly how ridiculous this logic is.  Yet it is what virtue signalling faiths such as Christianity and Islam do.  Hardwiring is not a simple thing. It is a lot of collective forces one of which is religion or religious ideas. If fake religion can do harm the real thing can do harm too. The idea of religion harms regardless if the religion is untrue or true.  Trying to blame the evildoers who act for the religion not the religion proves the religion is evil.  Period.  No good organization secular or whatever has the right to do that or will do it.  It is in effect taking advantage of the evil ones and what they have done.  "We will use their evil to look good by condemning it.  We will use them as ammunition for the truth and attractiveness of our religion."

Religious groups tend to battle each other and many religions such as Islam explicitly call for violence in their sacred books.  Yet some "experts" dare to say that there is no such thing as faith based violence and religion is just being used as a cover for violence or terrorism.  Claiming that such things aren’t really religiously motivated is a mere assertion and that is its weakness.  Apologists for the terrorists cannot answer: "What would an act of violence that was motivated by religious belief actually look like?"  They are trying to stop you seeing that religion can cause violence. They are trying to make the blanket assertion, "Religion is only good therefore it is not to blame for its violent revelations from its God or its commands to kill.  Something else is".  They are trying to make this rubbish unfalsifiable. Unfalsifiable statements are a waste of ink.

There has been much direct and indirect conflict over religion.  Religion has even waged war on its own - consider the innocent women stoned to death under God's rule through Moses for committing adultery.

People choose to bury their heads in the sand and say that human nature fights about everything and if were not battling about religion it would be something else.

Then why in a nation where there is fighting over religion are they not fighting about the price of bread when the sectarian skirmishes cease?

The argument that we would have something else to fight over without religion implies one of two things:

1  Religion is just an excuse for fighting and without it we will use something else.

2  Or people never fight about religion but just use it as an excuse. That overlooks the evidence given even by religion itself that people do develop murderous hatred over theological disagreements. Just as a tyrant does not like to be questioned or doubted so the religious person who is certain he is right for God is inspiring him cannot endure being questioned both for the sake of God and for the sake of pride.  There is no better or easier way to be sure you are right than to imagine that an all-knowing God is giving you information.

Whatever answer you go with you must choose it in the light of the following, “When people protect bad authority figures it is because they are getting some material or psychological benefit from doing so. But with religion the leader is additionally protected or simply protected because he is seen as God’s instrument or he is protected because you are passive aggressive towards rival faiths.” Many pleaded with their own flesh and blood not to have priests who molested them dealt with by legal justice.

Interesting the claim that people use religion as an excuse for fighting does not exonerate religion.  What if that is what the religion in fact exists for - to be an excuse?

If religion can be good then silly doctrines and sacraments and rites make sure it will not be effectual.

What about the thought, “If things have been bad with this religion we don’t know if it would be as bad or worse without it.” If no difference is made then there is nothing special about religion or this particular one. It is overrated. For religion to say that if it was bad, it would be worse without it is just a rationalisation and excuse for the evil it has done. The statement fails to give any justification for religion. Religion, by its posturing and praying and preaching, implies the statement is true and good and that makes religion inherently dangerous. It is dangerous in the sense that it does not care enough about thwarting evil.

People say, “The deeper my faith the more tolerant I am” or “The deeper my faith the more tolerant I can be.”  The presumption seems to be that your faith is important to you but the more you believe it the less you have to fear from a challenge so you can be tolerant to those who think it is nonsense.  They are no longer a threat.  But that is admitting that faith is dangerous for it is not always possible to make it strong and it can be strong one month and weak the next.  And if faith is dangerous because it is regarded as important even when weak it is only luck and chance that it is safe when it is strong.  The importance given to it is what makes it dangerous and it does not matter then if it is weak or strong in content.  You can see something that you find hard to believe in as important and that sense of importance can make you protective of it or over-protective.  Faith no matter how strong is not certainty so the fear of its critics will always be there.

Rule based religion leads to dissatisfaction and rebellion and sectarianism.  It leads to hypocrisy.  If a religion deliberately plans that then it is passive aggressive and devious.  Atheism cannot lead to restricting rules.  Not having a God means there is less to worry about terms of what is to be done or not done.

People - typically religious politicians and liberals - like to make out religion that leads to violence actually does not and is being abused. They show how irresponsible they are by failing to prove or give evidence for such a diagnosis - it is a terrible thing to get wrong. If anything is abused too much then the abuse is not really an abuse and there is something bad about having it.

The argument that it would be worse without religion really means "Without my particular type of religion."  It accuses other religions.  Thus it is inherently bigoted especially if your own has a history of trouble-mongering. 

Only truly intelligent, wise, good and honest things can be abused.  A religion or form of faith may be mistaken by all as fitting this criteria.  So its "abuse" may not be abuse at all but what you would expect if you could see the picture fully or properly or more accurately. The religion is an abuse itself.  I said elsewhere that dodgy things can be abused too.  To be dodgy it has to be a good mix of bad and good and the good is what is abused.  In that sense, you can abuse something bad too.  For example, if x should lead to 1% evil you can manipulate it to make it worse. So the religion is an abuse to some degree.

It is clear though that asking God to protect us from the influence and action of dangerous people is permitting him if necessary to destroy them and makes you a terrorist with benefits!