This is a great article/interview with Richard Dawkins, noted evolutionary biologist and despiser of religion. (Salon.com, so you need to click on "day pass" to see the whole article)
I thought this was a great, though disingenuous and pie-in-the skyish, answer:
How would we be better off without religion?
We'd all be freed to concentrate on the only life we are ever going to have. We'd be free to exult in the privilege -- the remarkable good fortune -- that each one of us enjoys through having been being born. An astronomically overwhelming majority of the people who could be born never will be. You are one of the tiny minority whose number came up. Be thankful that you have a life, and forsake your vain and presumptuous desire for a second one. The world would be a better place if we all had this positive attitude to life. It would also be a better place if morality was all about doing good to others and refraining from hurting them, rather than religion's morbid obsession with private sin and the evils of sexual enjoyment.
Not a bad idea, but call me when people the world over are ready to give up religion to make the most of this world. The following answer of his, in response to why there couldn't be a Divine Creator, taps into the same trouble I have with the idea:
Believing in God is like believing in a teapot orbiting Mars?
Yes. For a long time it seemed clear to just about everybody that the beauty and elegance of the world seemed to be prima facie evidence for a divine creator. But the philosopher David Hume already realized three centuries ago that this was a bad argument. It leads to an infinite regression. You can't statistically explain improbable things like living creatures by saying that they must have been designed because you're still left to explain the designer, who must be, if anything, an even more statistically improbable and elegant thing. Design can never be an ultimate explanation for anything. It can only be a proximate explanation. A plane or a car is explained by a designer but that's because the designer himself, the engineer, is explained by natural selection.
Which raises the question, "If natural selection is the designer, could it not continue to design more and more complicated forms of life, thus giving genesis to an ultimate 'designer'?" You're still left with describing how things started billions of years ago, why the laws of science and physics are the way they are, and what the hell we're doing here.
In the legendary words of Albert Bitterling in Vernon, Florida:
My neighbor told me once that he didn't belive in God. So I asked him how he thought we got here. He looked at me and shrugged his shoulders and said, "It just happened." It just happened. "Well," I said, "Let's take what you call 'it just happened' and give it a name. Let's call it God." So you know, what you're gonna call 'It just happened,' I'm gonna call 'God.'