Religion is simply the act of remembering who we are, and then being that person with all the limitations, pain and joy that are ours.
Any yet we forget, we make religion an escape, we make our lives an escape, we make our world an escape in order to become what we desire or wish to be, something without limits, without pain and ultimately without joy
Honestly facing God leads us to a mirror that shows us who we really are, that we are just for a moment, will be forgotten, that we are amazing, that we will lose everything eventually and be always an intersection between the light and substance. Facing God will cause us to run away from truth into fantasy or finally be alive.
Anyone who wishes to amass power and control is a fool not to use religion, to manipulate it and those who can be manipulated by it. And, yet, in using it will find that it is like lighting a match in a lake of gasoline to see better, it cannot be contained.
To think that there can be a life without religion or faith is to imagine a life without habits and memory. We can say we are not following any habits, nor remembering and reflecting. We can also pretend to be a bird, but pretending to be bird does not make us able to fly.