I think it may be possible that we are confusing religion with the uses people make of it, in much the same way that we are apt to confuse science and the uses people make of that.
Various pieces of religious doctrine can and do sound on occasion pretty absurd when taken out of context or when distorted for satirical purposes. For all I know they may actually be as absurd as they sound, though I don't believe there is enough evidence to discard many of these beliefs or interpretations of these beliefs out of hand. The same satiric hand may stretch an absurdity from most any cherished point of view, should its artistry be turned to such purposes. The history of science is littered with such lampooned shipwrecks, and science is likely to cause many more a proud and watertight theory to founder on the shoals of ridicule and evidence.
It is helpful to the discussion in general, though, if a specific example can be given. Which belief is being bashed? by whom? and is the bashing useful or not in the opinion of the commentator? Lest we forget, somebody evidently thought it was useful to make the comment in the first place. Was it simple stupidity? Did they have some point? Was it racism? What was the deal after all?
Myself, I'd rather have a huge No Bashing sign posted in general; but then what do you do when the current Iranian President (my wife tells me) makes a statement that the initials BBC do not actually stand for British Broadcasting Company, as I've thought over the span of my life this far, but really stand for Bahai Broadcasting Company. It is not all that long ago that the Iranian Revolutionary government took the Bahai religious council and executed them for — I believe — treason. Part of the major position of the Bahai faith is that they take no political positions.
President Mahmoud Ahmadinijad is bashing big-time there and showing a very unpleasant side of Islam. What do we (I, for sure, and perhaps you) do about our (my own, certainly, and possibly your) urge to bash back.
I'm doing my own little bit here to try to put this onto a more concrete basis.
If you find my example uninteresting, I'm interested in other examples; but the generalities thus far I've found difficult to follow. Perhaps I've never really gotten out of the Lincoln Logs stage of Childhood, or playing with blocks.
Also, Ron, I'm not certain that a well done survey is notoriously unreliable. If the sample is well gathered, it should have a perfectly acceptable confidence interval. If you're talking about the exit-poll data from the last few elections, I'd be more interested in seeing how the actual votes were counted and by whom and under what circumstances. That information is a much more likely source of variation in the data (at that level) than a difference in exit poll data from the actual vote count.
I'd be interested in your thinking on the matter though, since you actually seem to believe differently, and you should have some reasoning behind it worth considering. You usually do.
Sincerely, Bob Kaven