The term religion has two different meanings, it can refer to the faith one practices or it can be how one interprets the Bible. I want to deal with the latter of the two. Anyone can take the Bible and make it say whatever they want and when they do they create religion. From the time of Adam to the day of Moses, there was no record of sin because there was no law against what man did.
Romans 5:13 Sin was committed in the world before the law was given, but sin is not charged against anyone when there is no law against it.
There was no law that described sin until Moses, so man made up his own laws, this is the epitome of religion. The purpose of the law was to give man a record of what was right and what was wrong. All the people who were of the Jewish religion began to believe that the law gave them salvation and righteousness. The Apostle Paul told them they were wrong and they hated him for telling them the truth. Over the years religious men waged wars against those who believed in Christ. Did God tell then to persecute the Christians? No way! Religious people are not under the authority of God's Word, they create their own belief and sign God's Name to it.
Mathew 26:59 Now the chief priests and elders, and all the council, sought false witness against Jesus, to put Him to death.
Religion will kill anyone who opposes it, even the very Son of God. When I was growing up I was told the only people who could go to Heaven were Catholics. The Mormons said their men would take their wife and be the gods on one of the planets. The Jehovah's Witnesses claimed that there would only be one hundred and forty-four thousand people in Heaven and they would be Jehovah's witnesses. Religion is on it's greatest display when it comes to questions of morality. I went to one church where the women had to wear long dresses, no make-up and they could not cut their hair. Religion will always attempt to control its members in the Name of God.
John 8:32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth you know will make you free.
Jesus spoke this word to the Jews that were bound to their religion because they were out to kill Him. If you belong to a denomination that hates other denominations, you are in the same company as the Jews who wanted to kill Jesus. How people practice their allegiance to Christ is none of my business, my business is to live for Christ according to His Word. Some people who think they are free cannot be free if they are debtors to their flesh. When Jesus said the truth would make them free, He was referring to their carnal nature where religion thrives. Their problem wasn't Jesus, it was their demon controlled flesh that they were not even aware of.
If you want to be free, you must be willing to listen to Jesus, and it will take awhile. No one will understand spiritual truth by hearing it once. God never changes, He will say the same thing over and over to every man. The problem is our mind is so full of nonsense it takes awhile for the truth to work through it. Faith comes by hearing and hearing and hearing, it must get passed our mind and into our heart. If you truly want to be free you will continue in the Word until you believe it more than what your flesh can feel or see. Religion is a stronghold and we must let God wash it out of our brains, where it won't interfere with the impartation of truth.