I suspect religion perpetuates because people are afraid of death and they crave the comfort of certainty.
They love knowing all the answers. They love the idea that they are somehow special and precious to the all-powerful entity that created the universe. They love knowing that they will never truly die or have to say goodbye their loved ones forever. Since they love it so much they judge all arguments for and against the validity of their religion from a biased perspective. They are not an impartial jury. They'll do just about anything to keep the beliefs they love so much, even if they're blatantly illogical or contradictory.
They don't weigh the overall likelihood that their beliefs are valid, but instead look for even the remotest chance that they could be true and decide that it's certain beyond a doubt and they know it's true with every fiber of their being! They latch onto and highlight anything that might remotely validate their beliefs, and minimize or deny anything that contradicts or disproves them. Religion perpetuates because people—when confronted with contradictions or counter-arguments—(figuratively) plug their ears and say "lalalala, not listening, I already know my religion's true so there's no way your arguments could be valid, lalalala."
Add onto this the fact that many, many people are born into religion with their parents telling them that it's absolute no-questions-asked fact from day one. You see how easily children are duped into believing in Santa Claus. What would happen if the parents also believed it were true? And their parents before them? And their parents before them, and on, and on, and on? The only way to escape the illusion is to ask questions, and check the logical consistency of the religion's claims—something that basically all religions actively discourage their adherents from doing. Religions are in the business of maintaining and perpetuating their particular brand of illusion.
Considering all that, it's easy to see why religion has had such a lasting hold.