When I disclaimed religion from starting modern wars, the thought of the mediviel Crusades went through my mind. I decided to wait, until they were mentioned. Yes, for about 300 years, jihads and crusades swayed the middle east and southern and eastern Europe. No arguement, on that. However, every Muslim I talk to, today, say that it's politics, not religion, which motivates the current "jihad". I'm trying to think of the last religious war, prior to the late twentieth century. Just the troubles in Ireland, are all that come to mind; and those were as much political as religious.
Recently, since the end of the nineteenty century, science has taken a material bent. Because of this, science doesn't explain spiritual life and denies that there are spirits. Imho, that stands as a departure from an important and integral foundation of life. Since science has gone into cilinical denial about spirituality, I believe religion in matters spiritual.
I have no arguement with most of your third paragraph. However, I would like to address the last sentence. People have the hardwired desire to worship. I have seen secular types try to make a god out of a dead man (Darwin); out of science itself; out of money; be a god to themselves; and other such material and immaterial things. The saying, "Everybody preaches something", applies to aetheists and religious alike. Evolution is preached, football is preached, politics is preached, etc. So, highly educated people are not so immune to their relgious natures, after all; I submit that they put their relgious nature into what they value most. Imho.
I prefer to put mine to God and church and neighbor, as directed (Love God and love neighbor). A good love hurts no one.