Religion is to the spirit what Hitler was to Europe. It rapes and robs otherwise decent people of their center by forcing them to adhere to the drumbeat of sheer quacks. Religion, as was of Hitler, is the deathbed of human hearts. And, yes as surely Hitler had a good trait even James calls us to observe pure and undefiled religion. It's those impure and defiled parts which swallow entire souls in one big gulp that I now reference.
Let's get this part clear. Religion killed Jesus; it nailed him to the cross with the greatest of obnoxious pride. Religion rides on the coat sleeves of the church and does great damage as soon as Christianity enters any room. We must be aware of ourselves.
Did Jesus come to give us religion and religion abundantly? Or, does the Bible say he came to give us life and life abundantly? The latter. How often I've had "I can't stand organized religion" thrown in my face. Well, I'm a step ahead my friend. I can't even stand unorganized religion. God didn't give us religion. He gave us Jesus.....and Jesus give us life.
Now at times Jesus must be understood to be stiffer than religion. For instance, how do you think his good friend felt when Jesus said, "Get behind me Satan"? Rather frank, don't you think? So Jesus isn't a pushover; but he pushes back.....against religion. That's why they had to kill him. He was exposing their fake and phony ritualistic ruts.
If you struggle with being close to God or knowing about God there is great reason. There is abundant religious venom out there which attacks the nerve endings of the heart. It hides in preachers like me and churches like mine. However, please believe me when I tell you that a great amount of people are doing our best to climb out of this hell-hole called religion and offer the entire world the bright shining light of the uplifting son of God.
And quite frankly...we could use your help instead of your criticism.