People speak of "organized religion" as a way of talking about formalized institutions based on some kind of meaning system. Most of them are derived from a culture and have an economic basis. That is, they teach how to survive in the world where they arose by obeying the customs and costumes of the people who find them effective. God, the inconceivable Ground of Being, was confused with a humanoid avatar, esp. the Father figure.
Sometimes religion is conflated with government, esp. when government is run by sub-categories (parties) that have the fervour and obsessions of religion, partly defined as propositions of faith that must defy common sense and scientific knowledge. Both religion and government are based on written history, which is largely the history of winners, written by winners, or those who oppose the winners. Not much comes from genuinely new thought that describes the situation better. In a square world, no one thinks in circles, much less hearts.
"Axial Age (also Axis Age, from German: Achsenzeit) is a term coined by German philosopher Karl Jaspers ((1883-1969) in the sense of a "pivotal age" characterizing the period of ancient history from about the 8th to the 3rd century BCE, " (That is, the 3rd to the 8th centuries before the Christian Era and 3,000 years after the invention of writing. Something like 7,000 years after the development of agriculture.) Jaspers' time was one that valued history but in cities, in terms of recorded writing, and through the lens of a self-congratulating and self-empowering culture that became the great evil of fascism, which fools the larger culture into empowering a few controlling people. That is, they took governmental organizing as equivalent to religious institutions.
"In addition to Jaspers, the philosopher Eric Voegelin (1901 - 1985) referred to this age as The Great Leap of Being, constituting a new spiritual awakening and a shift of perception from societal to individual values." Voegelin came out of the same German culture but challenged it as a Protestant and individual standing against the idea of a "master race." "By the time he became an American citizen in 1944, his name respelled to Eric Voegelin, his overarching question had come down to this: What is political reality? "
"Anthropologist David Graeber has pointed out that "the core period of Jasper's Axial age [...] corresponds almost exactly to the period in which coinage was invented. What's more, the three parts of the world where coins were first invented were also the very parts of the world where those sages lived; . . . Graeber argues that an understanding of the rise of markets is necessary to grasp the context in which the religious and philosophical insights of the Axial age arose. The ultimate effect of the introduction of coinage was, he argues, an "ideal division of spheres of human activity that endures to this day: on the one hand the market, on the other, religion."
"David Christian notes that the first "universal religions" appeared in the age of the first universal empires and of the first all-encompassing trading networks." Put this idea against his shared idea of Big History and it is obvious that "universal" is an empty adjective. There were always people who never knew anything about these "universals." Two new inventions undercut the real and material "trading networks" or expanded them beyond human experience, depending on how to you look at it. One was bookkeeping which reduced things to numbers, and the other was the internet which trades stocks all by itself in the middle of the night and widens the idea of "universal" peoples way beyond what it has been.
Neither one appears in a more truly "universal" history, explained by the ironically named David Christian. https://www.ted.com/talks/david_christian_big_history "This is "Big History": an enlightening, wide-angle look at complexity, life and humanity, set against our slim share of the cosmic timeline."
In short, this sequence of thinkers is a quick way to understand that religious institutions, a form of government, became secular government, but took with them the great concern for wealth and how to acquire and guard it. This preoccupation led them to use stigmatizing the weak, advocating their murder as a way of improving the economy. In the end the strong turned the tables and stigmatized their oppressors, which confused those who think aping Nazis will make them powerful -- and rich. The "Axial" religions were safeguards against this point of view.
This Madeleine Albright quote is from https://www.economist.com/open-future/2018/07/30/on-tyranny-populism-and-how-best-to-respond-today?fsrc=scn/tw/te/bl/ed/ "Finally, and even more seriously, I fear a return to the international climate that prevailed in the 1920s and 30s, when the United States withdrew from the global stage and countries everywhere pursued what they perceived to be their own interests without regard to larger and more enduring goals. When arguing that every age has its own Fascism, the Italian writer and Holocaust survivor Primo Levi added that the critical point can be reached “not just through the terror of police intimidation, but by denying and distorting information, by undermining systems of justice, by paralysing the education system, and by spreading in a myriad subtle ways nostalgia for a world where order reigned.” If he is right (and I think he is), we have reason to be concerned by the gathering array of political and social currents buffeting us today—currents propelled by the dark underside of the technological revolution, the corroding effects of power, the American president’s disrespect for truth and the widening acceptance of dehumanising insults, Islamophobia and anti-Semitism as being within the bounds of normal public debate."
"Big History" is an excellent corrective to the short-sighted, limited, narcissistic warped people we suffer from today. It is as powerful as previous religions. But it is the result of scientific education and a valuing of our real physical world with all its resources and peoples. Unless governance is consent-based, radically inclusive, future-aware enterprise, it will disperse the real wealth of living into imagined marks hidden in little node-like institutions on theoretically protected islands and refuge jurisdictions. When we see that such shenanigans are empty, we get rid of their control over us. Their pretence of legitimacy is based on our unevidenced consent. If their secret islands are flooded by global warming, there will be only gilded tears.