Stabilizing Influence?

Talking religion is like pouring gasoline on this smoldering heap we call ‘Great Debates’, and although I consider discussion of theology to be completely futile - I do still have some interest in topic of organized religion.

Specifically, its sociological implications. I remember years ago reading the Foundation series by Asimov, and one of the things that stuck most in my mind was the use of religion by the early technocracy to control the more backwards planets. The specific phrase that stuck in my mind was a comment by some viceroy or chancellor or whomever who noted that ‘religion has always been a stabilizing influence in every culture’.

Apparently the political and technical elite saw religion as a tool - and only a tool - used to cleverly curb mass hysteria and all associated problems (riot, war, destruction of property etc.)

Does this same elite see it this way today? Do you?

(Theists, please contribute but do not hijack the thread).

Yes, I see organized religion as a tool of the ruling class that can be used to either pacify or inflame the masses.

Consider how leaders of the Islamic countries of Iran and Iraq have incorporated Islam into their politics…

Krispy Original – voted SDMB’s 19th most popular poster (1999)

Which one are we - the elite or the masses?

Hopefully you would know the difference…me I’m just one of the masses.