There have been so many instances throughout history of religion going astray that it is understandable that people turn away from religion toward a freer spirituality. What can be lost in this transition, however, is the sense of something timeless that comes from a long history or tradition and the social cohesion this creates. The prayers, rites and rituals that the modern spiritual seeker tends to shy away from can have their place; and yet for a religion to remain alive, the true meaning of such acts must be borne continually in mind.
This is part of the work of religion that keeps it pure. The temptation these days then is to turn our backs on religion rather than taking our part in maintaining this purity, but then we end up on a lonely journey. Rather than entering in to the positive karmic stream of a group we are isolated. In my own case I vastly under-estimated the potential of such group karma, the karma of a culture or tradition.
I took for granted much of the positive karma of my own culture which created a degree of social justice and welfare. This justice and welfare could be a clear example in the modern society of the power of group karma. The system was so anonymous it was hard for the benevolence of the society to really touch the heart. Religion can serve to make this bridge between the personal and the universal, defining our relationship to the whole in a skilful way.
Then our religion will not be a source of conflict but of peace; not a source of empty solace but a real refuge.
I offer this for your reflection