Here are the main reasons that religion persists:
1. Handling death or other tragedies.
2. Gaining social acceptance.
3. Avoiding social rejection.
4. Most people on this planet are willfully ignorant and proud of it.
5. Politicians find religion useful for controlling the populaces.
6. Religion has been given a sacred cow status. You can't criticize religion, why ?, because you can't.
Here is what is wrong with religion:
1. Most wars and evil are caused directly and/or indirectly by religious dogmatism.
2. No checks and balances.
3. No due process.
4. No secular court of appeal re injustices.
Here are a few thing that can be done to free everyone, secular and religious, from the tyranny of religion:
1. Help elect capable and qualified atheist politicians who would not be elected to office if their atheist views were known by the electorate. Note, don't support these politicians because of their atheism, but because they are the best qualified.
2. Help to remove the irrational young earth and creationists from school boards.
3. Promote classes in analytical thinking at all levels of education. (I don't like the term "critical thinking". This suggests what one is against. I much prefer "analytical thinking" which suggests what one is for, a much more positive message.)
And finally, why religion will eventually be viewed in the way we have come to regard mythology and fairy tales. It is due to what the religious zealots and deluded fear (correctly) the most, namely evolution. While, sadly, this will take many generations, social, philosophical, and scientific evolution will demonstrate that religion is untrue, destructive, and just plain silly.