“Necessary and sufficient” is the usual standard of proof for an hypothesis. What about the hypothesis that religion is a good thing? Well, this is a little tougher, as any proof depends on faith: belief in things that simply can’t be proven.
However, I make the case that the Jewish and Christian religions are, at their core, good. They are better than good. They ennoble us. Here is my statement of necessity and sufficiency for this hypothesis, from Genesis chapter 1:
27So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.
It doesn’t get much better than this: being made in the image of God, who is good, merciful, slow to anger, and, as we know from Scripture, able to forgive for the most heinous of sins.
Exactly what “his own image” might actually mean is the subject of much debate, and has yet to be established with precision. We do know, however, the basics from Scripture. Do we live up to this great and good image? Not so much. Suffice to say that the evidence on the ground is that we humans are notorious for doing evil things to one another.
And this is precisely when we are not in “his own image.”