Thanks for the replys. I really don't have a personal problem with bowing - I understand that in Japaneese culture, bowing is simply showing respect, not an act of worship.
And if I take it too far in terms of the questioning, try to remember that I am looking at Akido from the outside, never having had the opportunity to practice or even visit a dojo. ( I will be visiting one nearby in the next couple of days ) Akido seems to have the strongest link between philosophy and the actual art of any martial arts I've looked at. For instance, American Karate is often packaged as the best way to "deliver a devistating attack on your opponent" (actual quote from a A.K. dojo info sheet. I've never been in a fistfight that I couldn't talk down, but even if I was attacked, I really don't have the heart to kick somebody in the face. From what I see, the real beauty of Akido is that there are levels of force, many of which can be applied to bring the opponent into submission without injuring.
It's really impossible to learn a martial art that has no offensive moves without a strong philosophy behind it, and in practical application, philosophy and religion are in the same ballpark.
I thank everyone for your comments - I can say that any reservations I had have been addressed, and I look foreward to visiting a dojo soon.