What you are asking me, I think, is whether a religious ontology has any factual content as to the nature of the world. Well, I think in terms of spiritual values I would certainly agree that they do express something 'true' about the world. For example, I believe the universe was made for a purpose. Any religion that says 'the universe has a purpose' (which I guess includes most) is right on the money as far as I'm concerned.
On the other hand, do I believe that Joshua halted the earth's rotation for 24 hours? No way. I'm not even sure if there was a historical Joshua (at least anyone who can be remotely identified as such a person as described in the bible). Based on some of the archaeological evidence I'd say the whole invasion story of Palestine is seriously in doubt (but maybe not completely in doubt).
However, the issue that interests me most in religious conceptions is the underlying philosophy of the religion. My view is that the shell of religion is all the hoopla that people like to point at when criticizing religion, but the undergirdings of religion is the particular philosophy of religion.
For example, Taoism has a dualistic philosophy that is based on good and evil entangled in the universe producing identities. This type of philosophy is very interesting as we apply it to the symmetries of physics (for example). Christianity, as another example, possesses a philosophy of neoplatonist philosophy (esp. the book of John) that states that the world formed from platonic causes that somehow influence the world to greater order (from a state of chaos).
So, from a philsophical undergrid I think religion provides not only inspiration but also true insights into the nature of reality. Physics can take us far in understanding the physical nature of the universe and possibly the events or circumstances that led up to its expansion and/or occurance, but *I believe* a religious philosophy (i.e., metaphysics) can provide greater insight into perhaps why we are here.
In short, when I read about or study a religion, I want to understand the philosophy of that religion. Most of everything else is just MJ's jersey that I hope he washed before each game.
Warm regards, Harv