I think that man should evolve his own consciousness and stop relying on collective consciousness for answers. I have spent decades de-hypnotizing myself from suggestive influences of the culture-market which is at its best confusing, if not normative, misleading, and negativistic. It's insulting to our basic human dignity that we always need an authority figure to tell us what to think, feel, and believe, as if we don't have our own brain to figure out what intuitively and logically sounds correct to us.
When anybody quotes others for saying this or that, I ask them : "What do YOU think?"
So, here is what I think about your question. I think that religion was born out of man's fear of the unknown. It started with something like thunder being a "voice of god", and mushroomed into a whole garden variety of superstitious beliefs and organized religions that mainly played on man's fear and guilt to put them into obedient state of mind - with a clear agenda of grabbing the power. Sometimes it's good to see a phenomenon at its extreme where it's mostly recognizable, and during Middle Ages church was displaying its true face by being more powerful than mighty kings of Europe.
HOWEVER, since the discovery of quantum mechanics, the question of universal consciousness got its entirely new interpretation. Not a complete one, because humans are not wired in their brains to fathom the true nature of something so complex and out of our range of conceptualization. But a humble one, just enough to state that beside the cosmic components of matter, light, speed, and energy, there is also consciousness which orchestrates all that into a reality.
Again, not a reality that we can grasp with our 5 senses and limited instruments, but the one that's "STRANGER THAN SCIENCE FICTION", as they are telling us.
Today we know that the universe is made up of energy waves, which when collapsed turn into matter - and that collapsing has to be done by a consciousness, "god's" and ours. We are co-creators of our material reality.
So, if anyone chooses to stick to the traditional version found in "holy books", be my guest. I hope I have made it clear that I do believe in universal intelligence, and the only reason that I am not calling it "god" is because of that label's customary meaning.
Consciousness is universal, and we are like radios picking up that program (calling it "soul"). And "how many stations" we can hear depends on the level of our evolved awareness. Amen