Religion is a very queer notion. Peace is preached by every religion I'm aware of, yet, in the practice of religion, humanity has suffered endless holy wars that even continue to this day. That's not news, of course, it's simply a fact that no one can dispute.
We are living in an era of Islamic jihad, but while that constantly grabs the headlines, there are smaller tragedies that occur all the time, with religion being the cause. Just yesterday in Brooklyn, seven children were killed in a fire. The authorities blame the fire on a hot plate that was left on overnight that sparked and engulfed the home of a Jewish family. The hot plate was left on to avoid the Orthodox religious proscription of turning on electrical devices on the sabbath. Seven unnecessarily dead children because of a primitive religious philosophy mired in the middle ages. Hallelujah.
There are many examples of religion that cause harm upon their practitioners, and those nearby them. From snake handlers to faith healers, and all manner of anti-science, anti-vaccine bible thumpers, these rituals and backward unmodern thinking cause disease and death to the "faithful".
The western world considers itself above and aghast at the death and mayhem spreading through the middle east. In many ways, our culture is not so different from the primitive expressions of religion in the middle east. It's more a question of degree.