As the late, great Christopher Hitchens explained on many occasions, when he gave his book God is Not Great the rather contentious subtitle, "How Religion Poisons Everything," he was not simply doing what book publishers like--giving the book a controversial title to attract attention and spur sales. He really meant it. Everything.
Case in point: the "Scary Dilemma" of 17 year old Kat. Raised all of her life in the Church of Christ by devoutly religious parents in a devoutly religious community, Kat has, against all odds, been touched by the sunlight of reason. She has been an "in the closet" atheist for about five years. To this point, she has been able to keep her secret, finding plausible reasons to bow out of some of the more active parts of church life. But now, on the cusp of adulthood and the beginning of the college experience, she has been given a choice by her religious parents:
"Christian college, or no college at all."
Just let that ultimatum detonate in your brain for a minute. Think about what it is saying. "We are so intent on assuring that you believe as we do, that we are willing to cripple your future to make it happen. We would rather see you work as a waitress at Denny's for the rest of your life than risk your leaving the church."
Wow. Just... wow. If religion is so pernicious that it can actually infect the unconditional love between parent and child--making a parent willing to torpedo their own child's future--then what is left? Is there a greater bond between human beings than that of parent and child? If that bond can be displaced, corrupted... it is difficult to conceive of any relationship that could be immune.
Religion really does poison everything.