Right now there are lots and lots of posts online about how religion is unnecessary for being a good person — too many posts to actually include, actually.
It’s interesting to see, as a defense mechanism.
It indicates a value in being a “good person,” while offering a definition of what being “good” means – often offering empathy, independent thought, tolerance, and openness as metrics – while suggesting that religion tends to restrain these very characteristics.
I can totally agree. Religion of all stripes, Christian and otherwise, tends to be exclusive. You’re either in or you’re out, and that makes it into a status rather than a condition. It becomes external rather than internal.
For myself, I have no problem with discarding religion.
I don’t think God has a lot of problem with it, either.
I was saved while contemplating Amos 5:21, which says:
 “I hate, I despise your feasts,
and I take no delight in your solemn assemblies.
 Even though you offer me your burnt offerings and grain offerings,
I will not accept them;
and the peace offerings of your fattened animals,
I will not look upon them.
 Take away from me the noise of your songs;
to the melody of your harps I will not listen.
 But let justice roll down like waters,
and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.
(Amos 5:21-24 ESV)
It struck me that the trappings of religion – the feasts, the assemblies, the offerings – all served as replacements for actual ethics, for completeness. Look at Amos 5:24! That verse hit me like a ton of bricks – I sat in the dark, the glow of a single desk lamp facing my Bible – a Scofield KJV, of all things, because that’s what I had handy – looking out my window, stunned by the majesty and glory of a God whom I’d hidden from myself, a God whose light and love reached my heart and broke down my shields and anger at one stroke.
I have no problem with religion – but I, too, despise how it creates divisions among those who’d use it as a mark.
I don’t see how religion actually defines whether God exists or not. He does. Our ability to value ethical behavior in and of itself serves as a proof that God serves as a the common thread for mankind, and that people use it as proof to the contrary is more proof of the majesty and glory of God.
Let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream – encompassing, surrounding, comforting, and directing.