Machiavelli promoted the practical implementation of policies for the purpose of achieving a practical and stable outcome. This is opposed to the prevailing wisdom of his time that rulers and politics should focus on moral and ideological precepts. He supposed that ideology is the root of all corruption and dysfunction and I suggest that it extends well beyond the realm of politics and power that Machiavelli ascribed his treatise to.
Take religion for instance. Religions represent a whole litany of ideologies that propose a methodology of worship of a supreme being and even go so far as to say that there are ways of living that please this supreme being. If one assumes that such a supreme being exists then adhering to these rules seems pretty reasonable. But we must agree to be bound by them. There is an internal process of utility that must be satisfied or satiated or quelled before we would agree to follow them. Thus the idea of the afterlife is formed.
We hear that in the afterlife we will receive no end of rewards for our efforts to follow the rules of the arching religion. If a cleric can convince a lay person of the reality of this cornucopian afterlife then the lay person will be amenable to any set of rules in order to ‘earn’ this reward.
So what’s the problem? The problem is that the cleric has undermined the basic social principle that human life has value, by ascribing inordinate value to the dead and the afterlife and the utility therein.
In one fell swoop the cleric and his religion have stripped the human of their respect for their own human needs and wants and ingrained a disregard for human life. This and all the while gaining the human’s loyalty to an arbitrary and unsubstantiated set of rules. The crown of dysfunction now is in the nature of these rules.
Would this newly created fundamentalist do whatever it takes to earn the abundance of their afterlife? They would if they believed it and that is the true nature of all acts of terror and violence committed in the name of a deity and its roots in religion.
So it is true to say that religion does indeed promote war and violence and immense atrocities against other humans. All in the hope of earning vast rewards in their afterlives. There is no religion of peace.