The following is a quick checklist to Religion as Comforter vs. Religion as Control Mechanism. These should be red flags that a religion's aim is not a spiritual journey of enlightenment that works for the betterment of its members.
These religions seek to control the intellectual and emotional potential of human beings, and are an abomination to the very essence of what being fully human, and humane, means. So listen up, Will Robinson.
1. Profess that their leaders have a one way pipeline to God's wishes and edicts
2. Establish a gender hierarchy that places women on an unequal footing and undermines the independence of women through minimal educational opportunities and exert control over women's sexuality and reproductive decisions
3. Insist that the only way to an afterlife is through THEIR religion and/or god and that all other people of different religions must be converted to the one true religion (theirs) in order to be "saved"
4. Pick and choose from scientific fact in order to uphold their own religious beliefs, texts, and laws
5. Use guilt as a way of controlling its members
6. Refuse to revise aspects of their beliefs that are proven to be illogical and not in keeping with the ever-expanding base of human knowledge
7. Seek to destroy any and all countries/communities/people who do not agree with their belief system
8. Exhibit an arrogant and/or superior attitude toward people with beliefs that don't coincide with theirs
9. Believe it is their sacred responsibility to intervene (interfere) in others' private sex lives and sexuality
Choose wisely, choose with the heart as well as the brain, be prepared to seek answers and be prepared to hear/recognize the truth when it is revealed. Just because a religion worked for the parents and grandparents does not mean it might work for the children as they grow into adulthood. Most people never question what they are taught as children, but they follow like meek lambs and end up with a life that is less about their own beliefs and needs and more about their family or societal traditions. Seek, even when that seeking leads to the sands shifting uncomfortably. Just because something has always been done a certain way doesn't mean it's right. The subjugation of any person based on gender, race, culture, sexual orientation, or economic status is subjugation even in when it is done in the name of a god. And that is wrong no matter how you slice and dice it, Dr. Smith.