Losing My Religion
When you boil down the various definitions of the word religion you see one common core meaning emerge. Religion is a set of beliefs… a set of beliefs… not to be confused with actual belief. It is the formalization of what was once known by faith. Belief is not easy to hold onto in this world, so to help us out in our struggle, somebody wrote it all down. Somebody wrote down the story, describing the behaviors and the rituals of the true believers, the heroes. In our desperate fight to believe, we grasp for more guidelines, more symbols to help us make the case (mostly to ourselves) that we too, are true believers.
We add jargon and membership and group identity and any other evidence we can muster and we end up with what most people call religion. The written word becomes a code, the code becomes a standard, the standard becomes a set of expectations, the expectations become a sub-culture and the belief is lost. It all slides from the real to shadow.
There are many religions practiced on many levels, but only one truth, and one can only hide from it for so long.
There is a way back. Old things must pass away so that new things can come. The path to true faith necessarily involves losing your religion. Romans 7:5,6