Thank you for your response.
The generality I was trying to point out in 1 & 2 is that scientifically you can only regress (ask why, how, or where did that come from?) a finite number of times before you arrive at one of several conclusions:
a. I don't know, but choose to believe anyway (faith)
b. I don't know but some really smart guy somewhere that has studied this does (faith in percieved authority)
c. I don't know and therefore regard my understanding of the parent elements as non-absolute.
It seems that if any premise is slightly plausible and is accompanied by a sufficiently complex explanation then the recipient must either claim to understand, agree with and thereafter support the premise or appear to be ignorant and lacking in comprehension. I know this is true of many theologies, I am just pointing out that a "scientific" worldview is not in practice any different.
I think that science as a tool has provided a great deal of benefit in that it has given us accurate measures of observable phenomenon, and that by producing models of these phenomenon we are able to derive practical tools. But I also think that there is a tendency to want to apply this tool outside of the domain in which it is valid. To the extent that we believe all of reality is testable and that our understanding of it is absolute. Given our obvious limitations it seems evident that this is not the case, and yet the scientific atheist chooses to ridicule those that dare to look beyond the limited box he has confined himself to.
God does not "give" hope, basically hope is the result of looking for something greater than has so far been experienced. When one hopes for any kind of future it becomes obvious that if all we can ever be or accomplish will eventually be heat uniformly distributed across the universe at the apex of entropy then we must either accept that our motivation to go on is dependent on continuing to suspend disbelief through constant distraction and denial or be willing to look for evidence that is not limited to the finite and fully comprehensible. Basically because we hope we look for God, and if we don't limit our search to those things that are so small we can fully understand and explain them then we find an abundance of evidence.
I don't dispute that religion(s) of all forms have been used for evil ends. The same is true of non-religious institutions. The reason is that both are composed of a huge number of regular people with complex motivations, when the primary motivation is pride and the advancement of self evil will become evident. I think that your judgement is prejudiced by your preconceptions in this case, but I doubt you will be swayed by anecdotes or statistics. Power and pride lead to corruption, and religion can certainly be a means to power but I challenge you to attempt a more balanced understanding before you resort to wholesale condemnation.