This is my outlook in a nutshell:
Philosophy and spirituality were at the core in the founding of Aikido. Ueshiba took a spiritually rich based personal philosophy from a lifetime of study and practice and imbued it into the physical waza.
Some participants chose to extract these philosophical and spiritual lessons from the words and teaching from the founder and make them there own (nothing wrong with that). More importantly (to me) is that they can also be learned and extracted from the physical movements of the waza. Moreover I think this was the intention.
This for me is the key. The techniques can in this way transcend mere physical forms and teach greater lessons of a non physical nature.
Regurgitating an extracted Aikido philosophy is missing the point, for me at least. IMHO Aikido makes Buddhists better Buddhists, Christians better Christians because it reinforces the teachings inherent in those (and other) belief systems in a physical way.
I agree with what you say here. With regards to religions, well wouldn't that be a sight to see.
I think that when some people on here think they 'know' me then they can only give themselves a problem. Through my understandings gained from Aikido my purposes for it are multi. I use it for many reasons and therefore the martial or non martial arguments are a bit superfluous to me. They are minor details.
There's so many things to apply the resultant understandings and abilities to. Funny thing is it's all Aikido.