The Origin of Religions, From a Distinctly Darwinian View. Dr. David Sloan Wilson, a renowned evolutionary biologist, proposes that religion evolved because it conferred advantages on those who bore it. By Natalie Angier. [New York Times: Science]
I've found that when you go beyond the superficial definitions of religion, it's very difficult to distinguish anything fundamental about religion that is not also fundamental to other social organizations.
This perspective could lighten some of the polarized debate. I heard Oakland (California) Rabbi Burt Jacobson observe a few years ago that perhaps the 'Ten Commandments' -- those stern pronouncements of a jealous, patriarchal god -- weren't commandments at all; perhaps they were gifts, a roadmap, a clue. Along the lines of: 'Listen carefully. I'm going to let you in on a secret. Here are the rules for how things really work. If you pay attention to them in your life, your life will probably go a lot better than if you don't.' [
The Laws of Nature: Sorry, no referendum available, no amendments possible]