So, I am not good at putting my thoughts into words, but when I read something that I totally agree with that I have never been able to express, I just find it easier to use others words. So I was reading a book, that I gave to my Grandfather for Christmas in 1998, and the author,Girzone, has this to say about religion:
"God never intended that religion become what it is today. Jesus came to earth to try to free people from that kind of regimented religion where people are threatened if they don't obey rules and rituals invented by the clergy. Jesus came to teach people that they are God's children and as God's children, they are free, free to grow as human beings, to become beautiful people as God intended. That can't be legislated. Jesus gave the apostles and the community as a support to provide help and guidance and consolation. Jesus did not envision bosses in the worldly sense. He wanted his apostles to guide and serve, not to dictate and legislate like those who govern this world. Unfortunately, religious leaders model themselves after civil governments and treat people accordingly. In doing this they fall into the same trap that the scribes and Pharisees fell into, making religion a tangible set of measurable religious observances, which is legalistic and superficial. In doing this they become the focus of religious observance rather than God, and it is their endless rules and their ritual rather than love of God and concern for others that occupy the people's attention."
"Customs and practices and traditions then replace true service of God, and these become a serious obstacle to real growth in the love of God. If people take religious leaders too seriously, they become rigid in their thinking and afraid to think for themselves, and must always refer decisions to the clergy. Even as adults they will still cling to the religious practices of their childhood, and when even ceremonies and mere customs change they panic, because they have been lead to believe these things were their faith. With that kind of mentality all growth stops, because growth means change and holiness means an ever-deepening understanding of God and what he expects of each one of us. If a person is not open to the inspiration of the Spirit, because it goes beyond what priests allow him, then even the Holy Spirit cannot work in him and he remains stunted. What is worse, he frustrates the work that God wants to accomplish in him."
"... The function of religious leaders is to set an example, to draw people to God by their own deep faith and by the beauty of their personal lives, not intimidate people into sterile external observance. That is not religion. That mocks true religion."
"True religion comes from the heart. It is a deep relationship with God, and should bring peace and joy and love to people, not fear and guilt and meanness. And worship has meaning only when it is free. God is not honored by worship that is forced under threat of sin or penalty. Nor is God honored by subservient obedience to religious laws devoid of love. God is pleased only by the free expression of the soul that truly loves him. Anything less is counterfeit and serves only the short-term needs of religious institutions."
Well, put in my opinion.