I had a stimulating exchange with a Facebook friend of mine who had been having a twitter debate with the king of skeptics himself, Penn Jilette. While I have great sympathy for Penn's small-l libertarian leanings, I think he is too smart-by-half in his indictment of "religion" as the problem that brings on most of the world's suffering.
Adolf Hitler, Josef Stalin, Pol Pot, and virtually every other mass-murderer of the the twentieth century was an avowed atheist. Penn probably wouldn't disagree out-of-hand, but I do believe that government has been at least as dangerous, if not more, in terms of sheer numbers killed, than "religion" as a whole.
Is it true that the 9/11 hijackers were inspired by religion? Not really. They believed in a certain religion with certain rules and precepts. Set aside the question of whether they were "true Muslims;" the important thing to remember is that they were professing Muslims.
And lastly, it bears mentioning that if all "religion" is the problem, then any religion is the problem. That is why I am starting a crusade to stamp out the last vestiges of Pastafarianism. I am making a link available through Amazon.com for you, fair reader, to purchase copies of the Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster which we may all subsequently burn on November 3rd, 2010 in celebration of our forthcoming electoral victory.
Pastafarianism is of the Devil!