I simply wish to promote some of what I consider the best quotes about religion by the sci-fi writer Frank Herbert. In my opinion he is an very insightful and serious critic of religion, having explored it himself very thoroughly
Religion is the emulation of the adult by the child. Religion is the encystment of past beliefs: mythology, which is guesswork, the assumptions of trust in the universe, those pronouncements which men have made in search of personal power, all of it mingled with shreds of enlightenment. And always the ultimate unspoken commandment is "Thou shalt not question!" But we question. We break that commandment as a matter of course. The work to which we have set ourselves is the liberating of the imagination, the harnessing of imagination to humankind's deepest sense of creativity. from 'Children of Dune'
Further brilliant insight into religion by Frank Herbert:
"You cannot avoid the interplay of politics within an orthodox religion. This power struggle permeates the training, educating and disciplining of the orthodox community. Because of this pressure, the leaders of such a community inevitably must face that ultimate internal question: to succumb to complete opportunism as the price of maintaining their rule, or risk sacrificing themselves for the sake of the orthodox ethic." --from "Muad'Dib: The Religious Issues" by Princess Irulan
"When law and duty are one, united by religion, you never become fully conscious, fully aware of yourself. You are always a little less than an individual." --from "Muad'Dib: The Ninety-nine Wonders of The Universe" by Princess Irulan
Please also see:-
What mainly characterises religion?
The future death of religion
Perception And Reality, Fiction and Fact in religion (The same basic assumption underpins all religious beliefs – that is, the acceptance of perceptions (in the broad sense) as fact, when they may just as well be fiction. There is a very widespread ethos saying ‘People must be allowed to believe what they want’)
Robert C Priddy (retired lecturer in philosophy and sociology, University of Oslo)