There is a difference in religion (organized, by man) and one's faith. Religion divides people, faith in something brings people together.
a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, especially when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs.
a specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects: the Christian religion; the Buddhist religion.
the body of persons adhering to a particular set of beliefs and practices: a world council of religions.
the life or state of a monk, nun, etc.: to enter religion.
the practice of religious beliefs; ritual observance of faith.
Religion is nothing but a worldly mess. There are 10s of thousands of religions worldwide. There are 1000s of different Christian denominations alone! Does anyone not honestly see the problem here? Division. Separation.
Religion is one of the most discriminatory things on this earth. Religious discrimination is valuing or treating a person or group differently because of what they do or do not believe. Religious people do this more than anyone else on this earth.
When I was in school, my parents tried to enroll me in a private Christian academy up in Indiana. I was bullied profusely in school, and they wanted to get me out of that atmosphere and into a "better" one... Do you know why I was denied admittance? It wasn't because of my grades... it wasn't because of my "qualifications" or educational abilities... that were a bit lacking, but it was because I was too worried about bullies to apply myself. But their reason for denial was because my mom didn't attend church regularly. They bluntly told us that was their reasoning in the acceptance letter, I kid you not. My mom wasn't even a non-believer. She just didn't feel comfortable in the church we attended, and I really didn't either. I was a lost-soul, stuck in a place where I was hurting, and we were turned away, cast out.
So religious people discriminate against "non-church folk." They discriminate against gays. Some discriminate against women (in leadership positions), others discriminate based on race, social status, and then there is sin. Some church's won't allow a divorced woman or man to remarry within their religious institution. Others don't allow homosexuals to become members. People have been shunned for getting a divorce, or having a baby outside of wedlock. They make the church "look bad."
But you know who doesn't discriminate? Do you know who doesn't look at one sin as any different than another? Who knows we all fall short? Christ died on that cross so that we may be saved! All we have to do is believe and ask God into our hearts. Religion makes it seem so difficult, and sometimes confusing, as to how we are supposed to gain our salvation. But it is clear, that it is simple, all we have to do is accept Christ as our savior. He did the hard part!!!
“For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people's sins against them. . .” (2 Corinthians 5:19)
Without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness of sins” (Hebrews 9:22)
Because one person disobeyed God, many people became sinners. But because one other person obeyed God, many people will be made right in God's sight” (Romans 5:19)
“‘And when I am lifted up on the cross, I will draw everyone to myself.’ He said this to indicate how he was going to die” (John 12:32-33)
“For if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved” (Romans 10:9-11)
So in the end, we don't need some man-made religion to tell us right from wrong. Heck, they don't even know. They can't even agree on it half the time. We need to search ourselves, and ask God to show us the way. Am I saying stop going to church or believe what they teach is ALL wrong? No. Not if you are in a church home where you feel loved, welcome, and at peace. Just don't be afraid to study for yourself - because trusting the word or translation from any other man regarding YOUR faith and YOUR salvation shouldn't be the way you determine right from wrong.
I attend a wonderful church with people I care about, where I feel welcomed and loved for who I am - the way God made me. Just because I have an opposition with organized religion doesn't mean there aren't good church's, with good people, out there. And we all fall short, none of us are perfect. Many church's are much more "lost" than others to their own doctrine and ways. But there are some, that understand the difference between religion and a relationship. The simple definition of Church, from the apostle Paul, is a gathering of people to worship the Lord.You don't have to get up every Sunday and go "play church" if that is all you are doing... it's not about pleasing "the church" it's about pleasing God through your worship.