What I meant by that statement is that the past is a lot bigger than you realize. There was a time where humans existed without organized religion. This is generally "prehistory" and is marked as the time before writing. Even after the invention writing it would still be centuries before Judaism, Christianity and Islam came to be. There was no more war or immoral act during this time than after the big 3, mainly because there were less people mind you but still. The reason civilization began was because people were settling thanks to the agricultural revolution. Small settlements grew and became cities. So there we have the invention of writing, possibly the most important invention in human history next to language, and then civilization without the help of organized religion. So I feel perfectly comfortable with the assertion that humanity would have been just fine without religion. Not that I think it should be eliminated now.
Originally Posted by zwarrior
Culture is a lot of things. Religion is part of culture just as food is a part of culture. Surely it had some affect. If it weren't for religion then Western Europe wouldn't have been reunited after the fall of Rome. Without that, then there probably would have never been an United States. I wouldn't be here right now. But does that justify religion? Not at all. As you said it's usefulness may have run out. I am inclined to agree.
"Astronomy offers an aesthetic indulgence not duplicated in any other field. This is not an academic or hypothetical attraction and should require no apologies, for the beauty to be found in the skies has been universally appreciated for unrecorded centuries."