If we are not governed by a set of values, then our principles and idea of right and wrong are only based on opinion. The Nazis were not evil. They had a set of values that do not match many of the values that exist today. If they had kept to the religious promises they made the Vatican as they rose to power, then they would have had a hard time taking life in the way they did. My hypothesis is that religion is a human creation, but without some form of faith in more than human opinion, we are lost because only have ourselves to account to.
Human nature is bad. We are not born with a knowledge of right or wrong. That is why people turn out so differently. It is not because a person is born good or bad, but the way they are treated and the values they are taught is what makes them the person they become. Religion has sets of rules that people follow on mass. These rules are more than laws with punishments and rewards, they are based on a set of values, and those are the things that help a person grow to be well adjusted.
Imagine kids without the rule of parents. If a child was allowed to run around and do what he or she wished in an unchecked manner, then children would kill themselves by accident, become sociopaths, and become savages. There would be no way of knowing what would happen. Kids need a parental figure to give out rules and teach values, and that is what religion does for adults. It gives them a set of values and rules to live by.
We are taught what is right and wrong, and religion allows a certain unification that governments are unable to instill. The law tells us not to kill. We are not born with that knowledge. We are born to kill, which is why kids are often merciless insect (and pet) killers. We have both eyes facing front, which means we are born predators. The law tells us not to kill and not to steal. Most will never do such things, and part of that is due to religion. Religion came up with the idea that we shouldn’t kill and steal long before the law did.
The law simply tells us what to do, but religion tries to explain why we should do things. One may say that we do not do things because the law tells us not to, and that is a good enough reason for them, but it is too black and white for most people. Religion helps us shape values so we can make our own choices. For example, the law may say do not kill, but religion (the good religions) teaches us the sanctity of life, so if we had to kill a single person in order to save thousands–then religion allows us to make that choice where the law does not.
The law is the government’s way of trying to instill values, but they simply cannot do it with rules alone. The government would hope that if you follow the law, then you will see why it works and learn your values that way–but it is doing it all backwards. With peace-loving and good religions that do not condone killing, such as any religion “other than” the Arian brotherhood, Islam, and Satanism, you are taught why something is wrong so that you may then choose what you do. Good religions that do not condone killing say you can break the law because you have choices, but it first gives you the reasons and values needed to make the right decision (which usually involves following the law).