Why I'm not an activist for atheism (at this time):
I am a de-converted person with very religious family and friends. Like, Jesus is your best friend, it's your identity type of stuff.
On point number two, yes there certainly is an evolutionary advantage to religion. Nothing unifies a society better in war than religion. The cry of having "God on our side" while waging war against the infidels/pagans/godless whoevers has been heard throughout the ages.
On point number three, I think this is true. Religion dies a hard death and resurrects in the strangiest places. Study the history of Stalinist communism and how they professed atheism while pretty much mading a religion out of the State. Also, ever hear of celebrity worship?
Being a teacher in central Virginia for 30 years I've had to keep my lack of religion to myself, although I have expressed my political outlook. I practice a live and let live attitude although I do occasionally rail against the die hard fundamentalists. Once I retire in July I feel I can "come out of the closet" and become an advocate for the nonreligious. My protestant upbringing has given me a knowledge of bible stories that has given many kids to idea that I am a christian!
I have been through that before. The best thing to do so as to not make unnecessary waves with others is to just be quiet about it. In my experience it is the very religious people that feel the need to push their beliefs on others, not the not very or non-religious ones. I agree with EB80. Why inadvertently destroy a meaningful relationship with someone you care about because you know how they will react to knowing your religious disposition?
I now wish I had written a clearer post. lol
To try to clarify: the reason I wrote it is that I constantly hear, on podcasts and such, people very chagrined that they came out to their families and friends only to have much pain inflicted on all parties.
For various reasons I have been very resistent to doing this. I tested the waters with a couple of Christian friends and came off as a militant atheist, even though my intent was just to show them how how free I felt for the first time in my life. And wanted them to be free.
Besides possibly ruining or straining some important relationships, there is also the risk of causing a lot of pain to those like my mom who are super-duper true believers.
If necessary, yes, like if the belief is causing some harm. But when those around you are happy and maybe not likely to change, I feel some patience and compassion are a virtue.
I'm not sure that clarifies very well!
As to your second point, internal violence in America seems to have coincided with the weakening of religion in our nation. I can't say whether there's a causative link, or rather that one is directly linked to the cause of the other, but there does seem at least to be a correlation, as in the two are somehow related.
Those are perfectly legitimate personal decisions to navigate these issues. I don't happen to agree with them 100%, and I suspect others would not either, but that's neither here nor there. However, for what it's worth, here's my $0.02 plus inflation:
Is aboslutely correct, and it's why when the thought experiment is presented to me, "what if there was a magic button I could press to make religion go away?", that I would hesitate to press the button. Even if that included making the memory of religion go away, I think within weeks some people would just be inventing new religions. Humanity is still in its childhood. It does not have sufficient grounding in critical thinking and empathy and actively pushing back against the tendency to tribalism and confirmation bias and so forth, that natural selection has made us prone to. The open question is would religion invented in here in the 21st century, without the cruft of the bronze and iron age, be less harmful? Arguably yes. I would probably say, oh what the heck, and press the button. But I would hesitate.
This is questionable in my view as the less religious western societies also rank among the happiest. But with the qualifier "at certain times in history", maybe this could be true, for some given value of true. But I suspect when it would be true, it'd be because religion has rigged the game to make not playing along to be maladaptive in practical terms.
Not biologically predisposed exactly, but mentally predisposed, because absent a clear understanding of well-understood cognitive biases / quirks and working to modify and inhibit those things in ways that work better in a modern, urban, technological setting than the settings we evolved in, people will continue to be vulnerable to the facile lies of theism.