One critique I often hear from Atheists seems valid, at least on the surface. And that is the notion of religion being more harmful than good. I can also bet that Atheists are tired of the worn out line used by Christians that sounds a little like this: "It's not about religion, but about a relationship with the Lord".
So before I tell you "it's not about religion, but about a relationship with the Lord", let me share a story with you from the book of John. And I do tend to side with Atheists on religion and what it can do, if anything?
I will paraphrase, but you can follow along if you wish. John 5:1-15. So Jesus is walking from Galilee up to Jerusalem for a Jewish holy day. In the city there was the pool of Bethesda. It was thought if you were lame, blind, deaf or had some other disease that you could be healed just by being dipped into the pool as the water is stirred up. You can imagine that this place might be crowded with religious folks, or at least with religious sicko's all trying to get healed. But by all accounts is was a busy place. I mean even the guy Jesus ends up healing is never quick enough to get in the pool, because someone is always beating him in. Just from this story we can see that family and friends were there to help their sick acquaintances out. And the Religious rulers are close enough to get pissed at Jesus.
So here's my point: Jesus is walking around the midst of all the hustle and bustle of this show. yet Jesus is already with us, he's close to us, he can touch us, hear us and save us. Yet were more concerned with the traditions of getting healed by a religious ceremony or custom then noticing Jesus is in our midst.
So I'll will close by saying "It's not about religion but a....