Religion as a means of self improvement is understandable.
By self improvement I do not mean making more money or establishing some degree of social credibility, be it in the workplace, the region, or even in the home.
By self improvement I mean being a decent person.
Now by decent I do not mean following moral “rules, regulations, or codes”. I do not mean living a “conventional lifestyle” to please mass opinion. I do not mean refraining from certain practices in order to fit a mass dictated concept of “decent” as contrasted with “indecent” behaviour.
By decent I mean giving a damn about your neighbor, your friends, and yes, even the plight of people you don’t even know. By decent I mean treating people nice and actually CARING that there are poor people, hurting people, socially discarded people, who are PEOPLE.
By decent I mean GIVING A DAMN about the existence and welfare of every single person alive, anywhere and at any time.
Now, if religion is your crutch that you feel you need in order to develop and maintain any sense of social conscience within your inner being, then go for it.
The main thing is to be decent.
Personally, I think being a decent person is a human thing and has nothing whatsoever to do with religion.
But whatever works.
Just be decent.