There have been plenty of discussions trying to show how religion is right or wrong, true or false, good or bad etc. I think most of these have missed an important point. Religion has actually played an important role in human evolution. Early societies may not have been possible without it. There has been a world wide trend from pantheism to monotheism and ultimately to non-theism which has mirrored the evolution of human enlightenment. The real question isn't how great religion was in empowering primitive peoples and early civilizations. It was empowering, and deserves a place in history for that. Religion deserves much credit for recent global powers such as the Holy Roman Empire, as well as the great monarchies which followed and created Colonialism.The question is, is religion still useful today. I submit that it is not and that a return to religion in politics is a turn away from democracy.
By any standards religion is an obsolete social system. In all cases it should be replaced with a modern rational system of rule of law. People are welcome to promenade their quaint religious antiques, much the way classic automobile owners take their model T's out for the occasional Sunday drive. However, these obsolete antiques have no place in rush hour traffic, or current politics.
Remember when blood-letting with leaches was the height of medical practice? Similarly, religions were once the height of social systems. Of course, either of these practices would be considered barbaric, or at the very least, primitive, to the reasonable mind.
I challenge believers to demonstrate that religion has any relevance or usefulness today, and show how reason has not made religious beliefs completely obsolete.
I do think the sports/religion analogy is very interesting. They show how adept people are at making up a set of rules that have absolutely no meaning outside the particular 'game'.
Yes, I think there could be some continued usefulness in the perpetuation of such organizations, both religious and sports. It's just that they have no place in government or education. It might actually be fun to have religious reenactors, much like we now have civil war reenactors. A good excuse to dress up and put on funny hats. think Renaissance Fair, but with torture devices!