First of all, I'm not a very religious person, however I am quite spiritual to some degree. I personally think that religion is necessary to maintain and anchor society - the average person needs some sort of backbone, a raison d'etre if you will. It also helps create order, limits and tolerance to prevent society from being overrun by chaos, society and communities a like have heavy relied on religion in the past to guide their way of life. Religion, however, enforces people to not be intellectual by commanding them to believe in some sort of ancient text or a spiritual leader on how to "live". This in my opinion defeats the very purpose of being alive, I believe that one cannot fully "live" in this world without experiencing various, different, extraordinary experiences being both "good and evil" in a religious sense.
The leaders of this world make very good use of religion to control the general public into their will. Most don't understand this as they are constantly bombarded by society, family, friends, community spiritual leaders, etc into acting as sheep and going with the flow, it's a lot easier and convenient to do what peers do rite? Besides, no one wants to be an outcast for not acting the way society demands you to act.