You good “Intellectual ” people, concerned with human lives living a meaningful life in today’s complex society…
You have been brain draining for and against “Religion” as though it was a “Thing”
I listened carefully and heard arrows flying hay-away flying off the bullseye.
The “Thing” is a word given meaning for what was beyond meaning. Yet we needed a word to have a reference point.
One could write endless books about a Mango tasted first hand, once lost, innocent in primordial jungle.
No matter how many centuries that tale, descriptions of that shape, taste, aroma, delight, had been reported, re written, disputed, referred or murdered over, No one could or would have understood what the “First Man” found, tasted and was nourished by.
For that matter all others who came across that fruit and elaborated on that essence,would or could not have managed to convey the experience.
Human experience being limited, yet his need for security and meaning unlimited, he grabs at all straws he finds to survive the sufferings of existence.
He has indeed given his energies, talents, wealth to create magnificent forms of art and architecture, ceremonies to worship that taste that quenched the longings that 
“First Man” tasted.
No matter where and who started his story and what shapes it took at different periods of human history, with growing followers longing to be quenched by the same, began to worship the tale without having had the taste.
Yet his longing and desperation, on his knees, begged and prayed at that alter and walked out light hearted without having had that first taste.
Would we analyse man in the realm of his mental, physical make up to understand why his heart was indeed lightened by that worship?
Would we deny him of living a second hand life of illusions and ignorance as our latest science proves him wrong?
Scientific Knowledge itself is in continuous search.
Did Jesus not refer to the impossibility of the camel entering the eye of the needle?
 Mohammad saw the worship of forms and asked all forms in figures to be broken as they were only “Representation” of the formless.
His followers created magnificent geometric forms, built different and wondrous places to worship.
Buddha was wise enough not to give “It” any form or name. 
Yet Buddhist travel long and queue in reverence to view a small yellow object supposing it to have been a tooth of his!
These days we see smiling Buddha representation sold at every 10 cent store. Such objects are placed at alters of today’s “Enlightened” It is chick to belong to that clan.
“Religion” is a word for the word and form less.
Living had necessitated something beyond the “material”.
Man being very creative, clever, mischievous, envious, hierarchal, has run away in “Time” and “Thought” to prove his point at any cost to any who differed from his “Belief” Belief had become the very rock of his existence.
Indeed  humanity has gone through centuries of murder on behalf of his “belief”. Yet never questioned what “Belief” stood for.
This “Modern Man” who feels himself well above old stories, has found new stories.
he has had new leaders who showed him new tricks of the mind.
Surely if you sat in a soundproof room, repeated any word, gazed at candles or a Mango, went in a trance, would also experience what the man who sat at the alter and wept at the feet of his god, would have felt.
Would we not want to examine that very question of ways, methods, rituals,  substances that give that “kick”, be it momentarily, to have that experience of something beyond his “lsolation”?
If we are really interested to go beyond, we have to question the root of this need.
Not intellectually. 
Only find the space to walk fearlessly alone with that question in nature, stay there stay starved as no person has the answer,
You may just come across that fruit that will nourish your search.
You will not be the one who can convey to another scent of a jasmine.
  We have arrived at that point of human evolution to get this for himself.