I don't understand how "religion" can "seem to bestow special authority" to do "illegal acts". Is the Mongrel Mob a religion? Is the CIA a religion? Are American soldiers a religion? What about Pol Pot and Mao Zedong - they are religions too? Are bullies at school part of some bully religion?
So you have a group of people told to do bad things. People do bad things. Whether you're a scientist, a religious person or a religious scientist - it has absolutely zero bearing on whether you'd do bad things.
I'm not going to convince you and you're not going to convince me, so let's leave this at that.
None of your groups are religions and their motivations are quite different to that of a religious extremist. Religion is a guiding system of faith and supernatural/unscientific beliefs as opposed to a job or club membership.
Religion controls a persons way of life from birth to death...24/7...with overriding control over your life and social relations. Cults and religions are more similar.
The islamic terrorist gets their authority from the Koran which describes their religious obligations. One of those obligations is to carry out suicide bombings (kill infidels) and the koran promises they will fly to heaven and get 72 virgins (or lush life depending on translation).
If islam was never created, we would not have the terrorist bombings as they are happening today. The person who committed the Manchester bombings would not have done this because there would have been no promise of 72 virgins, nor would there be a religious book granting him authority to do what he did.
Where I possibly do agree with you, is that people become disaffected and commit atrocities regardless of religion. But, you totally discount religion as a causation, i do not. Causation varies.
Not really, your parents and friends (and to some, what they read on facebook and internet) controls your way of life, overriding everything you know to be true. Like stop smoking, eat healthy, sleep well, treat other people nicely, help those in need, don't beat pets.
If Islam was never created, yes it wouldn't happen like this. If white men were not let into Australia, the Aborigines might not have been *insert any atrocities here.