See, this story is useless not because it's not true but because it doesn't help anyone understand anything. You made it up to sound implausible and stupid not to motivate good behavior as deemed by a cultural standard.
When did science and philosophy devolve into the art of sheep herding? More over, why should an intelligent person feel compelled to be either shepherd or sheep.
There are different strata of humanity and each one needs to have the world explained to them in a different way. The truly enlightened, who do not actually exist, would not need symbols or allegories to help them understand the world, they need no God Concept. On the other end, there are the dumbest and/or least philoposhical who need rules like "Thou shalt not lie" explained to them by saying "You'll go to hell if you lie."
Again, what relevance does this have to us? I am under the impression that most people here are of reasonable intellect and philosophically inclined.
Second, why apply a literal criticism to a metaphorical story? Do you do that every time you read fiction? Do you think Tolkien is stupid because there is no such thing as magic or dragons in reality? Then why do it to the bible?
I don't know how the Bible came up, since this has nothing to do with Conservationists brand of philosophy. However, LOTR doesn't posit itself as true or applicable to the real world.
These same ideas are the similar to those espoused by the Nazis which coerced millions of idiotic sheep into committing the holocaust, going to war and dying pointlessly for imperial gains.
But these ideas did motivate them. They're apparently the only way to motivate the masses. And if they can motivate them for purposes we deem bad, then they can be used for purposes we deem good. What do you want to do, not have a society? The people need direction and it needs to be delivered in a way effective for the audience.
Again, art of sheep herding, not philosophy. You could similarly argue that psychiatry is necessary because it keeps people in check, laws are necessary because we wouldn't function without them, jails are necessary because without them deviance would destroy society. These are subjects of sociological inquiry, not philosophy.
4. Religion as an abstracted concept (that is a group devotion to a set of beliefs) is just part of human nature and if we don't have an cultural institution to fill that need, what will?
Human nature is a load of nonsense. There's no nature of anything, if I completely reject religious beliefs and molest children, is it against nature or a part of my nature? At best, you could generalise as I have previously that religion is a symptom of mass neurosis.
5. You tell from the length of this post that the issue is more complicated than just applying Occam's razor to each myth, isolated from context. And that might be where you start to go wrong (I think, anyways) is that you remove the concept of religion from the context of humanity and criticize it from what it is in itself. Can anything we make stand up to that?
Find me a gene which makes someone inherently religious, otherwise again, it's pure nonsense. Religion is better understood as a cultural phenomenon, not a biological one. Religion is becoming increasingly irrelevant in modern society, are we going against the grain or is it our nature to move from primitive theories of the world to scientific ones?