Religions are equally valid – which is to say that there’s none more valid than any other – but that all religions have benefits and harms is also not a contested thing.
The issue is that that harms done by religion are far reaching, and are entirely voluntary – which means that the harm of religion far outweighs the benefits – and the harm is completely unnecessary.
Religion’s immediate harm is to the individual believer – religion, having no evidence to support it’s claims, is a false belief, no matter how many truth nuggets there are – in the broadest sense, there is no reason to accept any religion.
Other harms include wasting of school funds fighting over the attempts to shoe horn ID/Creationism into science classes. Electing politicians who will suspend or limit research funding of pushing into science frontiers or cancel funding for family planning, sexual education and anything else deemed to be a religious moral matter, rather than a private medical matter.
Unmeasurable harms such as lower levels of education and a population far more ignorant than it should be, with people clinging to millennial old thinking and morality for a world that has moved far beyond the nomadic desert existence and the scale of our existence being far larger now while the world is so much smaller, with more people than at any other single era of time.
Mostly, the harm of religion is that it divides people and makes them competitors, false claimants to possessing The One True Faith – when faith is what is dividing and separating us, when we should be working together across and despite our differences, for we all all humans and the differences are only skin and culturally deep – not insurmountable, which is where religion does it’s biggest harms.
At the very least, religion is a means by which we excuse our difficulties in not getting along with each other. By eliminating or minimizing the alleged differences and barriers to getting along, we are forced to deal with what’s really making us not get along with each other.
Which is xenophobic fear – which religion directly speaks to: purity – to allow others is to contaminate the faithful and xenophobia was a needful survival thing when we lived in small nomadic tribes; but it’s not useful in the modern world, and is harming us
Religions that claim to be the one true one, is to hold a group above and apart from the rest of humanity; when, the reality is, no one is better or worse inherently than anyone else.
We need to put aside the systemic mechanisms that continually assert that any group is better than all others because when one group feels and thinks they are better, then it turns into a mission to impose that “betterness” on everyone else.
That goes for America thinking it’s the world police to the theocratic religions (which Christianity is one, putting itself as above secular civil law, but hasn’t yet achieved it’s government take over, but clearly is no longer content to have infiltrated and influenced).
So, how do we get people to lose faith?
First, we stop coddling religious sensibilities – allow religion to compete in the marketplace of ideas without any special consideration given to that the ideas are religious. We need to be able to say that the ideas religion promotes are foolish on their face, no more validating or kid gloves.
But the main effort is education ; it’s a big reason why people give up faith, because when you learn about world history and other cultures, it becomes apparent that every human civilization has made up their own religion to reinforce their cultural values and to enforce behavioral norms.
We used to explain everything through religion, and now we have science to explain a lot about the natural world and how to be in it.
It’s a simple thing really, we are on the verge of a global civilization and things that divide us, like religion, need to be put in the past
We need to uncover answers together – and science is the same no matter where you are on the globe; it comes down to will enough people want to have people be in charge or deities that divide us.