I may be reading this wrong, and I apologize if I am, but it seems as if you DENY the philosophical side of Aikido just because you have religious background? If this is true that would seem counter to any martial art, as they all have a philosophical side to them, any true budo at least. Heck even when I trained in Muay Thai there was a philosophical aspect to it, without which it would just be violence.
Again, I could be mistaken, but this is how I interpreted it. Damn internet! lol.
More of the religious zealousness approach is where I draw the line. There is more of the sentiment today among the many Aikidoist, that Aikido is more religious based than martial. I would not be surprise that those same people who hold this opinion probably despise the MMA concepts and the UFC. They probably see them as barbaric. Roy Dean probably catches a lot of criticism for his MMA concepts to Aikido, he is a class act, very professional. The religious extremist with among the Aikidoist is something I can't agree, but accept that it exist.
There seems to be a growing attempt to remove ATEMI from Aikido altogether. People try to hide the fact that it's necessary for self defense and try to intellectualize self defense. Philosophical ideas are always necessary to a degree. Roy Dean's Academy is a class act to self defense and I share in his marvelous approach. I believe atemi should be an active, perpetual method practiced and used in Aikdio.