First of all I have come to believe that religion is essential for a complete philosophy and for understanding (or recognizing) the will of the universe. As I have said in some posts of mine I believe (roughly) that the steps out of masturbation into honest religion (in youth years) are 1) Rejection and Oposition to the religions of the Crowd (The DRI state), 2) First encounter with total nihilism, reactionary aggressions against inherent values, brake from the left (The Kaczynski state) (some choose fatalism after this), 3) After a glimpse from the Reality world, a new spirituality based on the will of the cosmos (The Pagan state). If you reach step 1 and not go to step 2, you remain a quasi-leftist or a full blown one. If you reach step 2 and not go to step 3, you are going to quickly become a bitter technofutilist empty agressor or simply a anti-left, anti-right, anti-bad, anti-good, anti-fish, anti-life/reality fatalist. THERE I recognize the need for a belief in gods.
Of course we need better gods, but this is very easy, we only need to understand gods as WILL towards something, that means they exist in reality and not unreality, and explain that if there was no will at all there wouldn't be evolution and general movement/struggling. And second we need to portray these gods according to a realistic version of the will. I mean it is of no use if some idiot recognizes that there is WILL in the universe, and WILL is GOD who is REality and .... ahem... that will is the will to make the earth a utopia where we are all equal. Like the communists say that the final stage of the world will be a happy state of communism (while they do not believe in god in heaven, they completely misunderstand the will of the gods of realityland).
If a kid was raised in a forest, he would definately believe in god(s) especially if he has a creative mind. I remember when I was very young before I was ushered into the scientific/brain dead world of fuction and dirty industrial machines, I believed there is something in those houses in England where they say they witnessed ghosts or strange wild cats ets, I am sure I believed in UFOs and sometimes as a kid I would stay up long hours fascinated by the night sky, looking for some hint that Fox Mulder was right all along. I mean that as kids we create mythology. Then the masses will try to torch this to the ground wether through christian witch huntign or scientific witch hunting.