There are erudite and highly learned Critics who consider religion to be outdated and harmful to the individual. Let me reproduce their main arguments for your perusal. You can discard or reject them outright. If you have a free mind, please give it a thought before you do so. I do not want to mention their most common argument that religions have promoted facts and histories that are contradicted by science;after all believers never think scientifically.
Religious believers brain wash children to believe what they want and take away their intellectual freedom to think freely and come to their own conclusions later.. They start thinking as per the software which is implanted through the early years of ideological brainwashing. Without this brainwashing how many would believe hat they do today? In his 1976 book ‘The Selfish Gene’, Richard Dawkins coined the term memes to describe informational units that can be transmitted culturally, like genes. Dawkins argues that religious ideologies are a set of ideas and concepts working to ensure the perpetuation and proliferation of the religion. One of the precepts of any religion is to raise one's children in one's faith. They make children act irrationally and misallocate their energies. A child is conditioned to feel guilt, fear, and other negative emotions harmful to his self fearing gods, Satan, spirits, torments of hell, and so forth.
The magical ceremonies (religious rituals, processions, body postures) they witness from childhood obstruct their logical thinking of cause and effect. Genital mutilation of female children take away the joy in living as a woman. The frenzied sounds, howling, and mesmerizing postures, done in the name of faith healing is simply absurd and misleading.
Everyone agrees that religions have caused all wars in history. It proves beyond any reasonable doubt that various faiths have compartmentalized people who later forget they are brothers and sisters. A lot of terrorism has their roots in religious fundamentalism. The roots of Communal strife, riots and caste atrocities can all be traced to religions
The resources of man is wastefully earmarked for places of worship, halls, palaces, dwellings, and others. The paraphernalia for religious rituals is another source of human resource waste. The thought that it is the afterlife that matters hampers human progress as it makes people more accommodative and submissive to whatever happens in life. They accept failure and set-backs as god-sent and they do not challenge or try to overcome them. They suffer poverty, wants, illness, misery, commit terror and die in the hope of a heavenly life. Karl Marx feels that, religion is a tool whereby the masses are made to endure their suffering. The religious leaders instill a conviction that the current suffering will lead to eventual happiness and in that hope they endure every ill.
Critics such as Richard Dawkins argue that religious belief often involves delusional behavior. Sam Harris, author of The End of Faith and Letter to a Christian Nation compares religion to a mental illness, saying it "allows otherwise normal human beings to behave like people with mental problems doing meaningless rituals and ceremonies.
Every religion discriminates against women who are treated like slaves. Girls are not free like boys to get educated, fend for themselves and decide their life. Nearly half of the population of the underdeveloped countries (where religions control everything) are backward, uneducated and depend on their men folk to live. Their lives are not productive and the same has partly precipitated the underdevelopment of the said nations.