Religion, simply stated, is the gathering of like-minded individuals of a similar belief system who discuss and share ideas on the same thread about their God(s). It is also a gathering of like-minded individuals who base their social lives around the same belief structure and let someone else tell them what to believe, such as the shaman, minister, or priest.
Life is the sole substance that each person has, and cannot give up to someone else. Life is the intangible made tangible.
So what, then, do these two have in common?
Simple. Religions started because people needed the comfort of others like them. They built societies around their god(s) and focused their entire lives at imitating their god(s) lifestyles, in essence, so they could be welcomed in the courts of their afterlives. This intangibility showed people ways to live, and some even showed them how to stop the lives of others for gain. It encompassed an entire Life in order to believe. You had to become a like-minded individual in order to fit in.
Now, back to modern day. Today, religion is a pass-time for many individuals. They no longer believe the way they used to, it's just the socially correct thing to do. Even among the new age religions, this is true. I have seen this effect in many churches, circles, clubs, even cults.
What Religion is today is a mockery of what it once was. People gather in a place because a mistranslated book says they HAVE to be surrounded by like-minded people. People attack each other because it is the "will of their God". Those methods, true, have been part of religion probably since the beginning of all religions, but what makes it different today is how much we actually focus our minds into becoming sheep, and allow ourselves to jump at every possible threat to that fragile stability we think we have found.
Life is not a thing to be manipulated and controlled. Life was gifted us all to learn, become, and better ourselves. We should take this Life of ours, and let it guide Us, not the other way around.