Inspired by this thread I thought it was time to discuss what it really is. These longstanding questions have become acute to all of us reeling from recent terrorist attacks, and struggling to comprehend the fanaticism that drove them. We tend to associate religion with humanity's noble side, not with its evil side: Why does religion sometimes preach murder and suicide? In his <a href="http://www.nybooks.com/articles/15798">review of David Sloan Wilson's</a> Darwin's Cathedral: Evolution, Religion, and the Nature of Society, Jared Diamond tackles some tough questions about religion. Consider the nature of religion itself: Can a religion be agnostic, much less atheistic?. And how does one account for the depressing historical reality of the religious leading to wars and atrocity? And does being human predispose us toward the mysteries and explanations of religion? Please keep in mind that this thread has little to do with the one I linked above. It's a genuine attempt to discuss this highly emotional issue.