I think this will turn into a longer more thought out post at another time. But for now I just wanted to point out that it was when Moses was on the mountain getting all the "religious" stuff that the people got involved in the orgy and idol worship. I also want to point out that this was after G-d had spoken to them to tell them he wanted to make them a nation of priests and they said "No we don't want G-d to talk directly to us. We want G-d to talk to Moses for us instead.". And then because their was no SPIRITUALITY they created their own tangible customs and religion. Meanwhile Moses is getting a lot of "jots and tittles" to make the ignorant and simple people happy--and they actually turn away from G-d.
Atheist, Agnostic, Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Jew or whatever--Not thinking, dogma, lack of self-reflection, ignorance and the absence of spirituality will lead us further from our mission, further from our better selves, further from who we could be.