Malcolm wrote:I doubt, if you survey history, that you can find a more prevalent ideological reason for making war on other people, oppressing them, etc., than religious ideology.
In one respect, you are correct, Malcolm. Historically, particularly in the West, it's only been relatively recently that we've separated thought & ideas (and, therefore, ideology) into these nice, neat packages as 'political', 'scientific', 'economic', 'religious', etc. During long periods of history, as it was written, religion was the primary lens through which all human activities were viewed. Money, power, status, all these things were seen as bestowed by God, and God was always seen as being on the side of the most wealthy, most powerful, and most authoritative.
While I have a great deal of sympathy for the view that "religious organizations" can be seen more as part of the problem than the solution, I don't see that we can propose "throw out all religious human activities" as part of the solution, either. Today, we do have different lenses through which we can analyze the past (and the present), and derive different *conclusions.
For all the ideas about "post-modern" or "post-industrial" society, we are still faced with the modern paradox: how to have maximum individuality within maximum community. People are social, communal animals, and we simply cannot eradicate collective action,including collective action based in metaphysical thinking.