„Religion“ as I use it refers to (…) any group-shared system of thought and action that offers the individual a frame of orientation and an object of devotion. Indeed, in this broad sense of the word no culture of the past or present, and it seems no culture in the future, can be considered as not having religion.
This definition of „religion“ does not tell us anything about its specific content. People may worship animals, trees, idols of gold or stone, an invisible god, a saintly person, or a diabolic leader; they may worship their ancestors, their nation, their class or party, money or success. Their religion may be conducive to the development of destructiveness or of love, of domination or of solidarity; it may further their power of reason or paralyze it. They may be aware of their system as being a religious one, different from those of the secular realm, or they may think that they have no religion, and interpret their devotion to certain allegedly secular aims, such as power, money, or success, as nothing but their concern for the practical and the expedient. The question is not one of religion or not? but of which kind of religion? whether it is one that furthers human development, the unfolding of specifically human powers, or one that paralyzes human growth. ― (1976a: To Have Or to Be?, New York (Harper and Row) 1976, p. 135.)
Analysis of religion must not stop at uncovering those psychological processes within man which underlie his religious experience. (…) What people think and feel is rooted in their character and their character is molded by the total configuration of their practice of life―more precisely, by the socioeconomic and political structure of their society. In societies ruled by a powerful minority which holds the masses in subjection, the individual will be so imbued with fear, so incapable of feeling strong or independent, that his religious experience will be authoritarian. (…) On the other hand, where the individual feels free and responsible for his own fate, or among minorities striving for freedom and independence, humanistic religious experience develops. ― (1950a: Psychoanalysis and Religion, New Haven (Yale University Press) 1950, pp. 51f.)