Do you view all religions as being equally bad/dangerous/stupid or is Christainity the main culprit? I think I know what the answer will be as this is a predominantly western website but I am prepared to be surprised.
If one says "a religion, to be a religion, must include belief in god(s) or godlike entitites and proscribe rules for behavior necessary to ensure those beings good will" then buddhism (and taoism) definitely fail that test.
Both of these "religions" seem more about "here's how you can live to be happy in this life". They do have a sort of transcendental vibe to them, but it is just not in the same ballpark as truly theistic religions like hinduism, judaism, christianity, and islam.
Buddhism can be described either way. It just depends on how loosely or strictly you want to define religion. Personally I don't care if someone defines it as a religion or not, I think it is far and away better than any of the other popular religions out there. I don't have any problems with Buddhism at all.
Karma is not a spiritual concept. Karma is just "cause and effect", which is to say "things you do will have consequences". Buddhism is based in hinduism which does have a strong concept of reincarnation, but interestingly the key teachings of the Buddha don't address reincarnation at all.
In fact, when someone demanded the Buddha explain metaphysical concepts about God, gods, reincarnation, etc., he likened them to a man shot with a poison arrow who would not accept treatment until he knew *everything* about who had shot him. My takeaway was that the Buddha was focused on this life and helping others to end their suffering in this life, and not waiting for any hypothetical next life for that to happen.
Really? The Tibetan Canon would seem to disagree with your assessment of Buddhism, since it talks about rebirth into higher spiritual states pretty regularly. Considering that the current Dhali Lama is a reincarnation of a former Lama and all...
I'm focusing on what is generally known to have been taught by Siddartha (the Buddha). Various branches of buddhism have picked up into their traditions the folk beliefs of the regions they are found in, and Tibetan buddhism is no different.
The degree of danger can be measured in two ways: (1) the intrinsic content of the ideas contained in religious beliefs and practices; (2) the scale on which religious institutions and theocracies are empowered to operate. Hinduism is much worse than the Abrahamic religions, but by and large the only people who suffer from it are the billion people confined to South Asia. Perhaps that will change with the emergence of India as a global economic power. In any case, the exclusive focus on the Abrahamic religions is provincial. But then I think that "atheism" in the western world is tacitly nothing more than ex-Christianity.