Answer by Jim Ashby:
Before I realized there probably is no God, I felt betrayed when prayers weren't answered and when injustices befell me.
More significant to me is the betrayal I felt upon realizing that organized religions are shams. I felt betrayed by the Christians among my family, friends, church, community, policy makers, media outlets and country. It seemed that everybody was in cahoots to lead me down the primrose path to woo thinking.
But then I realized the only difference between them and me was that I had seen through the preposterous charade. I had jettisoned my religious indoctrination and learned to think for myself. I learned that curiosity is better than faith, knowledge is better than authority and evidence is better than dogma.
I learned that religion exploits fear and guilt by turning the human condition into shameful sin. Biblical sin pits us against ourselves by claiming our very nature is sinful. We are all born miserable wretches and Christianty (or Islam or whatever) is the only way to redeem ourselves.
As an atheist, I now know that sin is the bread and butter of clergy: the support of whom is the main purpose of Christianity and it also makes us more malleable to those who wield power. It's all about control.
I now know that people are basically good but sometimes make mistakes. We're only human. But it's through mistakes that we learn and mature and cultivate empathy. Mistakes are not sins, they're opportunities to improve ourselves.
I examine history, read the news and observe the world around me and I see how religious turmoil manifests from pervasive, endemic, denial of reality. I see how denial always comes back to bite us on the butt.
By and large, religious folk are willfully obtuse. They don't want to understand the difference between the subjective and the objective because they've staked their lives on the subjective: beliefs without an iota of objective support (a.k.a. 'faith'). The subjective is internal: all in your head. The objective is external: the world around you. In the world around you, no human woman ever gets pregnant without a 'donor' of DNA. In the world around you, nobody rises back to life after three days of death. In the world around you, there are no miracles, no spirits, no God. All these things are strictly subjective, in your head.
And they didn't get in your head all by themselves. You were taught to believe these things. You were indoctrinated by those who were indoctrinated before you. It's a world-wide delusion propagated by fear, guilt and wishful thinking. It's brainwashing that's empowered by society itself. When one person believes in impossible things, it's called a delusion. When many people believe in the same impossible things, it's called a religion.
Take a look at Scandinavian countries where most folk are atheists. Low crime rates and high standards of living. When mankind was largely ignorant, society benefited from religious conformity. Most modern societies are no longer largely ignorant. It's time to put superstitious religions behind us.