One of my favorite arguments for the insistence on the presence of religion in one's life is related to morality. We have all heard the religious folk say to us that the absence of a supreme judgemental deity would make morality redundant and result in chaos with people taking advantage of the situation and murdering, raping, pillaging and doing the Macarena at will. So the argument basically seems to state that if there existed no set of (supposedly) heavenly rules that forbade you, from say, killing a man because you covet his new Porsche, your natural instinct would be to just go ahead and do it.
There are two issues here. One is the circular logic that makes an appearance in this argument. Religion states that humans are, in some way, different from animals, lets call them the blessed species if you will, and hence, are responsible for their actions. Unlike a dog, who is allowed to shit on the carpet without being cursed to hell, just because he's a dog and doesn't know any better, if a human, lets say you, did that, you would not only go to hell, but would be cursed with an eternal damnation spent in teabagging Satans gnarled testicles as He drops turd after frothy turd into your waiting mouth.
So religion states that humans, inherently, are different from other beasts and know right from wrong. But that means that humans are already preprogrammed with morality in their brains. Why, pray, would they then need designated rules of life to enforce an external morality if it already exists inside our brains, thus making humans, as a species, an enlightened one?
Secondly, you might say, hell who needs religious morality when there are civil laws in place to enforce moral behavior? To which, the religious folk might say, yes, there are laws enacted by our legislature which our judiciary then proceeds to enforce, but the violation of those laws does not call for a penalty that is terrifying enough to make people think twice before breaking them. Like, say, if you steal a car, you will probably be imprisoned for five years, and then turned back loose into society. Where's the motivation for anyone to not steal a car then? Heck, five years is a mere presidential term, they go just like that.
But the supreme judgemental deity doesn't let you off that easy. She awaits her time to bestow her comeuppance on you which will come to pass after your soul leaves your mortal body. And then, it's an eternity of fire and brimstone for your sorry-ass soul with little devils sodomizing you with various artifacts of hell, most of which possess a jagged texture, while your entrails are roasted over a pit of burning lava. Now that's an ultimate fate that makes you think twice before you punch a hole in that car's window.
But I have a solution. Why not model all our penitentiaries in the image of hell? Wouldn't that be the solution to ultimately phase religion out of the world? Fuck those comfortable prison cells and that delicious prison food and those utterly erotic homosexual encounters in the latrine, how about making the prison system as terrifying and horribly painful as hell itself? We already know what hell is like, with all those authoritative accounts from people who've never actually been there, but are pretty sure what it looks like. So lets just do it. Lets fry in boiling oil all those bastards who are sent to prison for burglary, rape, homicide, bouncing checks, depicting the Prophet's likeness on a piece of paper, lets dip their genitals in hot lava, lets do terrible, terrible things to their anuses, lets treat them just like Satan would in their afterlife. Wouldn't that be what the religious folk want? Wouldn't that create a motivation for them to be decent and virtuous? Wouldn't that remove the necessity of religion from life? Hell yeah it would.