I think church has a profound role in many peoples' lives. When I went to church, I remember how people would gather round and socialize after mass and recollect how happy they were. I remember the social functions that were organized like bake sales, festival fundraisers, and choir practices. I would surmise that participating in these events allow people to feel less lonely, get a chance to socialize, and be around people that they feel are "safe". In a world of chaos and suffering, I think churches IMHO serve a useful purpose in providing sanctuary, order, and support. But I'd also like to point out that support groups such as Alcoholic Anonymous and other 12-step groups also provide the comfort and spirituality, than some organized religion. I belong to a 12 step support group and there isn't that much difference compared to churches. I do find more comfort, truth, and love in 12 step support groups. I've been going for at least 3 years and it is very humbling to witness a man bare his soul about "acting out" and revealing secrets (so similar to my own) that he's been burdened with for years. It really is an awesome experience and the connections that are established are just spiritual. I'm sorry this is sounding like a plug for AA but I think religion is very important to many people. Without religion I would think this world be in a deeper crisis of faith.
I can finally admit I pretend to say and do nice things so people will think I'm a standout guy.