“Religion has no monopoly on moral action, but centuries of religious belief, including institutional church- or synagogue- or mosque-going, have clearly been preeminent in shaping our notions of right and wrong.” A recent statement by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland as he spoke to several thousand participants at Brigham Young University Education Week.
There is an unquestionable force of faith—religious influence—that has inspired many men and women. Their works in art, with the pen, and in the gift to speak have illuminated the meaning of our existence. There is a great video piece in his address (about the 38 minute mark; link below) that provides some examples.
Pure religion, practiced by pure hearts subdues evil deeds. It pushes indifference aside and brings to the forefront meaning and moral behavior. Our current environment and social arrangements call for religious practices, expressions, and beliefs to be appreciated.
Another snip it from Elder Holland’s address puts forth this admission and logic: “Not to say that individual faith groups in their many different forms and with their various conflicting beliefs are all true and equally valuable; obviously they cannot be. Nor does it say that institutional religions collectively—churches, if you will—have been an infallible solution to society’s challenges; they clearly have not been. But if we speak of religious faith as among the highest and most noble impulses within us, then to say so-and-so is a “religious person” or that such and such a family “lives their religion” is intended as a compliment. Such an observation would, as a rule, imply that these people try to be an influence for good, try to live to a higher level of morality than they might otherwise have done, and have tried to help hold the sociopolitical fabric of their community together.” (BYU Education Week Devotional Address, 16 August 2016).
If you want to better understand what religion is and why it is important, listen and ponder his address: Bound by Loving Ties.