Re: Religion and Aikido
As an instructor, I hear this question alot. As a Christian, I hear this question alot. A couple of things help me answer from both ends of the spectrum. O'Sensei never professed that Aikido was a religion; he was a [zealously] devote follower of Omoto Kyo religion. However, he did structure the teachings of Aikido as complimentary to many religious teachings, and he spoke openingly about Aikido as a suppliment to religious beliefs.
Aikido is a tool to to improve your life. You may use it or not, but it will only ever be what you make of it. Some people do not want to include Aikido beyond physical training, others do. In any case, everyone has the choice to include Aikido in their life and use it how they see fit.
As a Christian, I believe that Aikido is a tool to strengthen my body, my mind, and my spirituality. Aikido does not interfere with my religious beliefs, but it strengthens my resolve in those beliefs. I do not fear false idols or misleading paths because my Christian faith guides my beliefs, aikdio gives me the strength to support those beliefs.
Tough question and everyone has to deal with it in their own way.