I think religion plays an important social role. Nobody cannot deny the social role played by religion. People go to church and relate to one another. At church they organize breakfast, lunch, and dinner times. They sing together and they pray as a group. That is awesome, but -let me be clear- it is awesome for purely social reason and not for 'after life' reasons.
I love the idea that religion thinks that it can make people be better. It is, in a way, a classic idea of hope and success. Who -after all- does not want to be hopeful and successful? It does not mean that this idea translates in reality since the distribution of bad people in the church going crowds is not any different than from non church going crowds.
Being an atheist makes me free of having assumptions anchored in beliefs and old texts. I believe in the free human spirit and the ability of science (humanism) to free us from thinking that all answers are given to us. We need to search for answers for as long as we live and we need not be satisfied with formalisms and declarative statements.