"the state" can take multiple forms. The most common form back in the day was religious simply because that was the easiest way to organize an otherwise decentralized and diverse population. Wars between nations or tribes didn't happen because of God - or nationalism - but because this group wanted that group's resources. Internal purges didn't happen because of god or nationalism either, but because the group in control wanted to suppress dissent as a means of maintaining or extending their control.
If it wasn't for people, communism would be perfectly virtuous, same as applies to religion or any other flag people might choose to march under. The problem is that people tend to act like people, and if we try to establish a baseline that assumes otherwise we are building an additional form of the natural state of conflict into the mix.