Not religion, but federally funded dogma. More than 20 years ago I became aware of how dogma gets grounded in fundamental research: you need to write grants that fit the dogma. One hapless soul actually stood up during a big AIDS conference and suggested that the researchers were mere lemmings. He, of course, was shouted down, but he was only trying to tell the lemmings to keep an open mind. Fast forward 20+ years and the lemmings are still in control.
Our educational system is totally broken when the educated just want things to fit. Even in mathematics, we're promoting a crop of "just tell me what to do!"