More often than not, stone-walled religious apologists who argue for the need for religion are apt to use the "soothing balm" theory to justify for the ills of Religion: It makes people feel good!
The down-trodden, the sick, the dying: Every soul in dire straits, it seems, requires the soothing balm of religion and its idiosyncrasies of religious sacraments, bizarre rituals and outlandish beliefs.
It seems that without religion, there is nothing to look forward to, other than the dark abyss of eternal death and endless suffering.
Religion: Rife With Abuse
Because of the herd mentality of Religion, it is imperative that Religion exerts total, complete mind control over its submissive serfs who are known collectively as "sheep" by Christian pastors: Pliable, docile creatures who can hardly be depended to exercise any willpower of their own.
Take a leaf out of most religious texts, and the call for complete mental submission is hard to miss:
For the weapons of our warfare are casting down imaginations ... and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ."
– St Paul, 2 Corinthians 10.4,5.As religious folks are often taught to be servile and never to question the words and "wisdom" of their sacred scriptures and the religious organizations concerned, when abuse starts to seep in, it is usually harder to detect than in secular institutions.
Take the Catholic Church, for example. For decades, pedophile priests who were accused of molesting or worst, raping children were not reported to the police: In most circumstances of this nature, the alleged offender is handed to the police, who is then subjected to the court of law to be tried via legal, secular proceedings.
Not in the case of the Catholic Church: This barbaric class of priestly hucksters, child rapists and evil bastards commit their dastardly crimes in the name and image of their filthy deity, and are allowed to get away with their crimes scott-free because the offenders have garnered too much undeserved respect from the masses. When these victims, most of them young children who are obviously too traumatized by their experiences, complain to their parents, most of them would refer to Church authorities than the police. The Church, being filthy, ugly institutions unto themselves, sometimes pay up the "hush" money and transfer the rather offending priest into another diocese, when his once-again unblemished record allows him to be in a position to carry out his pervert acts. This vicious cycle has repeated itself for so long and in so many dioceses that by the time the long slew of Catholic churches were revealed to have shady dealings to cover up the dirty acts of the priesthood, most of the victims were already grown-up or nearing their 50s or 60s.
Quite obviously, complete servitude and docility leads to rampant abuse, but that is not all there is to it: The huge, opulent Evangelical Churches, particularly those in the United States, rake in billions of dollars from their huge swamps of sheep who turn up every other weekend for their daily "feel-good" dosage of dancing, speaking in tongues, and all manner of unspeakable nonsenses (In fact, having attended a few sessions myself, I am obliged to comment that these actions are more at home with mental institutions than anywhere else on this puny planet).
"Rave it up for Jebus!", "If I don't raise ten million bucks today God will smite me to death!" and other shameless, huckster-like, bible-spewing vermin are thrown and heaped at the throngs of the faithful, who gratefully lap it up and give their dues to undeserving institutions and pastors of the Benny Hinn and Pat Robertson variety every other Sunday. And if that isn't enough to satisfy these big fat oligarchs, they have to throw in "Healing Sessions", all the more better to reach into the pockets of the sick and the elderly, people who are more in need of medical treatment than the whimsical, theatrical "cast the demons" action-packed chicanery dished out by these poisonous charlatans of their filthy Gods.
Religion: A Self-Delusional Drug?
If a Christian or any other theist for that matter, wishes to justify Religion with the "feel-good" factor, then I would be justified to argue that heroine or other forms of drug abuse is good for us as well: In both cases, you get the feel good factor, but in the long run, one faces mental and eventually, financial ruin.
Sure, Religion does induce the euphoria of a rock concert, but if this is the only reason used to justify against the ills and abuse of Religion and its cohorts of priestly pimps, I will venture to say that Religion has no other useful purpose than a pest is to its human host.
"Religious experiences are like those induced by drugs, alcohol, mental illness, and sleep deprivation: They tell no uniform or coherent story, and there is no plausible theory to account for discrepancies among them."
- Michael Martin, Atheism: A Philosophical Justification, (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1990), p. 159.