No evidence for supernatural intervention has ever been found so it is right to dismiss this with great certainty. As we have little understanding for how the universe came to be - why there is something rather than nothing - a belief in a supreme architect is hard to suppress. Now that much of the history of the universe is understood though, the blindness and cruelty of extinction would imply either a blind god or a cruel god. If such a god did exist, it would be better to ignore it and plot against it.
Religion played a part in keeping groups together and making them stronger while the world remained small and unknowable to a pre-scientific society. Religion had its place in the development of successful social groups who believed in something larger and longer lasting than the individual. Religion helped create groups of believers; it created groups of “us.” Unfortunately, the unspoken word behind “us,” is “them.” Religion has been used at times to promote indifference, intolerance, and conquest of “them.” Now that man knows better and needs to come together to solve worldwide problems, religion is a barrier to the unification of the species because of its insistence on the correctness and infallibility of its individual dogmas. Calls for faith in supernatural explanations are harmful to the pursuit of knowledge and self-improvement. Hope for a god is a lifelong frustration when the wishes for the future never come. The positives of religion - building a nurturing community and providing the reason for morality - can best be created elsewhere in a way that is more universal.
Religious people are afraid that with atheism, Dostoyevsky's phrase will describe our world: "without God, everything is permitted." This is not a valid fear. In fact, an examination of our violent history already shows that everything IS permitted. It is up to society alone to punish transgressions. No god has ever testified at a criminal trial or actually smitten evildoers. Atheists have the valid fear: with gods, anything is believable.
Pause for a minute. Look at this picture of the Lake District in the fall, and then continue.
Religious believers cherish the feelings of awe, wonder, and love they get from their shared gratitude for the bounty they believe god has given them. They do not want to live without these feelings. Rational arguments against ancient myths do not make these feelings of awe, wonder, and love go away - nor should they! It is simply better to explain these feelings as coming from an immense universe where life has struggled to produce a cooperative species trying to out-compete death itself. That is a truly awesome past, present, and future we can all believe in.
The Hebrew word for "so be it" - the word shouted in agreement at the end of a prayer or sermon - that's the word that seems most appropriate for ending this series of essays about a world without religion.