This is a good point that the fanatics always seem to miss: there's no such thing as a true religion, only true followers. No matter how many positive traits a religion develops (like charity, honesty, kindness, mildness, endurance, and devotion), the religion will grow until the screwups have enough numbers to cause significant trouble or splinter off entirely. A good example was a group of American colonist pilgrims who thought sex was evil... and their movement died with them. Anyone who's affiliated with their branch of Christianity must facepalm whenever they learn of something equally stupid. The fact that not one religious organization has been perfect and squeaky clean has led many to believe that there simply isn't a religious order that's worthy to believe in. Very few people like bearing the burdens of the centuries of screw ups an old religious organization has done, so religion is sometimes kept secret, or if you are a newcomer, completely avoided altogether.
This is a continuing trend that contributes to many of today's professed atheists: they believe there is no God because no organization on the planet as a whole has managed to give proper representation. When a person new to faith is looking for a true religion, and practically all of them are doing something wrong, they come to the quick conclusion that religion is wrong. The deeper answer is far more complex, and like you mentioned, it's the individual that really makes a religion what it is. Believing in your faith, no matter what it is, and promoting good qualities that benefit society makes you a better person. Doing all these things and being excommunicated because you called Thomas More a murderer is just politics, solidarity, and a bloody shame.
This is really what I dislike most about all organized religion: no matter how honest, clean, and giving you are, if you disagree with the old bastards at the top who run the show, you are going to be kicked out. If you helped to carry 200 war refugees across the border, lost a foot while doing so, fed them for the next 5 years at the edge of a jungle, taught them your religion, and get found with a condom, the old guys at the top will call you worse than Satan or make sure none of your deeds get published. So in closing, if you can stomach the religious organizations of the world enough to look past it, you might be able to find a good religion.
Or you could become a closet worshiper because you don't want to put up with all the crap. Contrary to popular belief, God will judge the people running the show far worse than a few disillusioned followers 8D
Last edited by VorpalBunny; 05-14-2009 at 05:43 AM.