...Religions have wisely insisted that we are inherently flawed creatures: incapable of lasting happiness, beset by troubling sexual desires, obsessed by status, vulnerable to appalling accidents and always slowly dying.
They have also, of course, in many cases believe in the possibility that a deity might be able to help us. We see this combination of despair and hope with particular clarity at Jerusalem's Western or Wailing Wall, where Jews have, since the second half of the sixteenth century, gathered to ari their griefs and to be their creator for help. At the base of the wall, they have written down their sorrows on small pieces of paper, inserted these into gaps and mong the stones and hoped that God would be moved to mercy by their pain.
Remove God from this equation and what do we have left? Bellowing humans calling out in vain to an empty sky This is tragic and yet, if we are to recuse a shred of comfort from the bleakness, at least the dejected are to be found weeping together...-- from Religion for Atheists by Alain de Botton
P.S. 16 Feb: 'Religions are human creations,' writes John Gray. 'When they are consciously designed to be useful, they are normally short-lived. The ones that survive are those that have evolved to serve enduring human needs - especially the need for self-transcendence.'