While I was on the bus to campus a few days ago, my mind adrift, a thought about religion sprung forth.
In ancient times, there was a god of thunder and a god of the sun. There was a god of the ocean, to whom you better have given tribute or else have procured shipwreck insurance, and a god of war and a god of summer, and so on for everything.
Over time as knowledge grew, those gods became obsolete and faded away as we began to know that thunder or storms or diseases have perfectly reasonable and natural explanations.
We've whittled it down to only one god left these days: the god of morality and justice. (There's also the god of the big bang/first cause/creation, but there's no way to tell the difference between this one and the morality one so they get lumped together.)
What's extremely convenient for religionists is that there's no morality curtain to open, since morality doesn't exist on a stage (unlike thunder and lightning whose curtains can be opened through experimentation and observation). Morality is man-made and in only our heads. There are perfectly non-supernatural explanations and reasons for morality to come about, develop, and propagate.
For me, the fun thought was imaging that instead of tribal people in loin cloths bowing down in front of the golden volcano idol, many educated people in suits and dresses in modern times bow down to and sing songs to the golden morality idol. (Some even eat their great idol!)
Another interesting thought is how throughout the history of mythology, the hallmark of a god is what or for whom it does stuff. They all do at least one thing for people--they're all anthropocentric. No one cares about the gods that don't do anything for or interact with people. Isn't it obvious that at best it's all just wishful thinking? Who would hope for an indifferent god that doesn't do anything for you? Moreover who could get a group of people excited enough about that religion for it to spread and catch on?
Back to my idol of morality and the big bang, did you know that it's what makes love and happiness and creativity and inspiration? It also makes good things sometimes happen and hears the trees fall in the forest. Did I mention it also makes good and goodness? I think it also is what makes colors. Notice the pattern?
The answer to the question of why religion will never be laid to rest is because it has evolved to not have a body.