It's an old cliche I know, but you will always here the line that religion has killed more people than anything and therefore it's a bad thing. In fact, in a few voxpops last night on Channel 4 it was said, and it is also said in this morning's Guardian. Perfectly timed around Christmas, they have commissioned a poll which has found that 82% of people in Britain think religion is a force for causing tension and division.
The reason I'm posting about this is because this argument that religion causes tension, division and war is simply not true. The cause of tension, division and war, is mankind acting politically in the pursuit of maintaining some sort of power through ideology. Religion is merely a symptom of that root cause. One only has to look at Stalin or Mao, to realise that even without religion, man remains just as brutish (if not even more some might argue).
It's actually an intellectual cop-out to simply blame religion for the world's ills. We find it much easier to search for organisations to blame, rather than taking a deeper look at the fundamental reality of man's condition. It's much more palatable to blame organisations that believe in a supernatural deity than to acknowledge that human nature is the real cause tension and division.