I don't believe in anything 100%, as in a system I subscribe to. As far as anecdotal, I think we are all somewhat in the dark as to what reality is, no? I think that the confusion may be in the terms religion and belief.
Belief is an individual aspect, even if it is developed through the training of organized religion.
Religion is an organized system for the consolidation of beliefs for reasons other than the individual beliefs themselves.
What reason would there be to do this? To make us feel good that we all believe the same things? I think it really boils down to a need for an ability to enforce control through a system of laws.
Protection is an important aspect which leads to the giving up of parts of individual belief. some feel it is better to go along with some slight variations/adaptations in order to gain something else from a larger group.
These are the basic reasons for organized systems, which we call religion and government.
The background hum you refer to is definately there, I see it as the tension between individual belief and the pressure by organizations to alter them or make them compliant. Of course as a system becomes more and more powerfull it seeks more power/control.
I think population density is a large factor in the current squezze between competing systems.
Basically, I think that once an individual has given over any power to a system of laws it is inevitable as you say, that the system will extract further power from this source.
This makes the hum louder as the pressure increases, and can also be looked at from an organizational view of competition between religion and religion, religion and govenment, and government and government. They are all systems competing for power over eachother.
Freethought and action are being challenged as never before, I fear the wall between seperation of state and religious power is being broken down by those in power who want to consolidate thier powers toward a global control of people.
I prefer to be anonymous because as you said, it is wise to be aware of the concequences.
If current direction is continued by the systems now in control, who is to say what heresy will be. I guess the closest similarity I have with religion has to do with the belief that in a world such as the one we live in, it is a given that there should be a code. However, it would be my wish; although unrealistic, that it be a system of codes which could be used by humanity in a peaceful manner, without any need for enforcement.