Others argue that religion helps people in their darkest hours. Faith in God has helped addicts to recover, criminals to reform and grieving families to move forward. Gandhi, Martin Luther King, and Johnny Cash were all deeply religious men and demonstrated their faith with incredible good works.
But others point out that religion does a great deal of harm. Many religious texts advocate obedience, conformity and the idea that humans are inherently evil and sexuality is wrong. They endorse slavery, racism and the subjugation of women. Depending on your religion and how you were raised with it, you could turn out to be Gandhi.... or you could turn out to be Fred Phelps.
Despite child abuse scandals, bombings, and homophobia, Joseph Harker argues that religion is still a force for good:
The power of religion is that it offers clarity and the opportunity for regular self-assessment, in an atmosphere of genuine humility. The world doesn't revolve around "me"; I have to contribute to the world. Whenever I attend my local church we are exhorted to share, to love, to care for others, to forgive: that the meaning of life is not to be found in material things, but in looking after our fellow humans.
This study, which found that children who are raised under a strict religion are actually crueler to their fellow humans, was offered as evidence from atheists that religion does not make us better or more moral people:
"Almost 1,200 children, aged between five and 12, in the US, Canada, China, Jordan, Turkey and South Africa participated in the study. Almost 24% were Christian, 43% Muslim, and 27.6% non-religious....The findings 'robustly demonstrate that children from households identifying as either of the two major world religions (Christianity and Islam) were less altruistic than children from non-religious households'.