Religion stands in the way of reason, but intellect or higher mental activity is impossible without restraint of savage nature, the animal rancor in the heart of every man. Savage nature is beastly & brutish and prefers breeding & fighting over reading and writing. It has no use for learning, reflection, or cultivation of heart & soul. It is about the law of the jungle.
Religion suppresses & restrains animal rancor and steadies & prepares the mind for reflection & contemplation. Thus, religiosity/spirituality cultivates the life of the mind even as scriptures place strictures on what can be thought and said.
Rationality had to break out of the taboos of religiosity, but then, reason could arise only after spiritual authority had forced chaotic animal rancor inside the cage and tamed it.
Reason is the bird that flew out of the cage of religion, without which the wild cat of animal nature would have devoured the bird while still inside the egg. For there to be higher freedom of the mind, the lower freedom of savage instinct must be tamed. And religion played a key role in restraining lower freedoms so that higher freedom could finally arise, though, to be sure, they had to break out of the confines of religious taboos.
As most people weren't sufficiently smart or privileged for higher thought, the only viable option for them were spiritually guided moral life of restraints OR animal-driven beastly existence of excesses. If most people were moral, a stable community was possible and could sustain institutions for higher learning. But if most people were barbaric, social chaos ensued and even smart people had to scramble just to survive. (There are smart people in Africa, but they can't cultivate the life of the mind because most Africans indulge in animal nature of jungle boogie. Same is true in most black-majority communities in the the West.)
With the fading of religious authority and the weakening of constraints on animal nature, we are now witnessing the degradation and destruction of Western civilization by the savagery of black thuggery, harlotry of slut pride, and decadence of homo vanity. Blacks are especially dangerous because their animal nature is more aggressive, wild, destructive, and beastly than those of other races.
If there is a kind of 'religion' in the current West, it is Political Correctness, the official dogma of Jewish-controlled Globalism, that enforces taboos on honest minds that notice that the Emperor has no clothes. Honest people see the reality of racial differences and its dire implications. They also perceive the threat to the West(or any sane civilization) posed by black savagery, homo degeneracy, Jewish supremacism(via globalism), and feminist insipidity, but inquisitional PC imposes the politics of silence, shunning, or witch-burning on any brave soul who refuses to cower before the court of globalist dogma.
Actually, shallow & stupid PC is worse than real religions, which, at the very least and despite their repressive dimensions, were grounded in genuine contemplation, profundity of vision, and reflection of higher truths. PC is just a disingenuous tool of Jewish supremacists to bait and milk 'white guilt' so that there won't be a viable challenge to Jewish Power.