A skeptic and cynic, it is my observation that politics has one and only one guiding principle; “the end justifies the means” (Two if you count the eleventh commandment; " Don’t get caught")
Take a look at the US Declaration of Independence. In my opinion it is perhaps the noblest political document ever written, and the same time, possibly the most cynical: It declares " that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights" What it actually meant at the time is “all slave owning white men”
Along with many other Aussies, I have a healthy contempt for professional politicians. I consider myself fortunate that their self interest does not noticeably conflict with mine all that often.
It is not my belief that religion was initially based on lies. Rather on delusion and a couple of common logical fallacies, such as . “I lack the knowledge, imagination or wit to think of anything else, therefore god(s) did it” and "after this ,therefore because of this’ (ergo propter hoc) Eg : In the Paleolithic, a man dances around the fire praying to the gods/spirits for rain… It begins to rain. Obviously it was the dance and prayers which caused the rain. Even followers of the great religions today are still guilty of that fallacy especially when crying “miracle!”.
It is also my opinion that organised religion becomes corrupt as soon as it creates a hierarchy, when it becomes the singer not the song. For Christianity I think that happened as early as the first century.
That the early church became downright evil in the fourth century. IE when emperor Theodosius 1 (1) made a specific sect of the religion called “The Way” the state religion and (2) permitted and encouraged that sect to murder any persons who disagreed with them (heretics). That practice continued for another thousand years, including through the Protestant Reformation.
There is no doubt that there were indeed many cynical men and women who believed none of it. But that a person was greedy and corrupt as say the Borgia and Medici popes during the Renaissance ,does not necessarily mean they were deliberate liars in terms of their religious beliefs. Nor is there any way for us to know.
The pious humbug has always been with us. A good part of that reason is that we human beings can and do rationalise literally any behaviour. IMO, hypocrisy is a part of the human a condition. To label people such as say evangelists Ken Ham or Ray Comfort simply as liars is I suspect a smidge simplistic.
PS IMO perhaps even the majority of the priestly caste have always been sincere. Or not, how can we possibly know for sure?