Some speculate ancient go boards were used for divination.
Go is so old that it certainly has dogma and tradition, as many religions do. Go players spend more time playing go than many "religious" people go to church (daily, not weekly)
Go Clubs are houses of worship, and our best players (pros) are clergy. The devout students study the works of the clergy...
Go is so sublime that it is surely mystical
"Go is just a game. However, the nature of the game allows it to provide a window into everyday situations. The choices made in a simple game turn out to be deeply representative of one's true character. When I play go, I am offered a window into another's complete spirit, and my own nature becomes transparent."
-- Jesse Chao, from AGA-EJ Volume 5, #62
Before you ask yes I am Buddhist, but not of this branch.
Monteo The religion in this context is Buddhism.
You can better understand the art of go when you know the elements of Buddhism. Most of you are westerners, who probably know very little about this religion.
If I had five minutes to explain to you about what is all about Buddhism, I would describe the key elements or fundamental concepts of the religion, in terms of problem, root-cause, ultimate goals, and optimal solution, which have been addressed by this religion, and they are related to go.
Problem We, human being, must get old, sick, and eventually die. Around 500-600 B.E., one man did not want to get old, sick, and die, which make happiness non-permanent. This is the problem he wanted to solve. In go, we want to beat the opponent, and want our stones to live well.
Cause He did not know why the problem keep existing, so he studied Brahmanism, and achieved to top rank, but was still not satisfied with the knowledge he gained. He started analyze the problem in his own way, called Right Meditation, and he enlightened. Known as Buddha, he saw clearly why he was born, old, ill, die, and travelled along the spiritual path in the Three Worlds, called Heaven, Earth, and Hell, as a cycle of unlimited rounds, during his past lives until his present life. He knew it was because he had had been stupid and his mind had never been pure enough. He adhered to something he like or love, he got angry, had desired for things, and believed in wrong things. In go, if you do not know the right initiation and right response, that is the problem, or the cause of your frequent defeat.
Goal He wanted to break the rebirth cycle and escape mortality. In go, we want to be invincible.
Solution He practiced the Three Studies: Self-conduct, Right Meditation, and Meta-physical Philosophy. Then, he was free from bad nor good moods, and didn't adhere to any wrong doing or wrong belief. After death, he never came back, or never be born again. He enjoy permanent happiness somewhere above the Heaven. Before his elderly time, he tried to teach wise-enough people to do as he did. After his death, a large groups of his talent pupils held a meeting and wrote a proceeding that systematically records what the Buddha said, which later become the bible of Buddhism, consisting of three Parts: Self-Control, Useful Stories, and Spirit Philosophy. In go, we perform good shapes, right calculation, and better mental quality.