The experience of transcendence is an experience of super-consciousness. The prospects of super-consciousness are intoxicating to the ego (just ask anyone who has dropped acid). The catch, however, is that to experience super-consciousness, the ego has to relinquish control absolutely. This relinquishment of control contradicts the purpose of an ego and amounts to the death of self. So, naturally, the ego is terrified of such a consequence. It wants the powerful experience of transcendence, but cant reconcile the cost of it's own self annihilation to get it. So, in true ego fashion, it sets about to circumvent the need for surrender by taking control of the process. This means making rules, laws, procedures, hierarchies, dictates, memorandum, tradition to follow, ext. (see where I am going with this?) Religion is the macrocosm of ego with respect to the experience of transcendence. It wants transcendence, but doesn't want to relinquish control, which it sees as it's own death sentence. Fear of not being in control, then, is the moniker of both the ego (in the individual), and the Religion (in the culture). The irony, of course, is that the sense of self is ultimately illusionary. This means that there is no there there. nothing really to loose and everything to gain. Ah, but fear is powerful. Surely there is another way. There isn't. The ego has to die. "the ego is dead - long live the ego" "you have to be born again" "but how can I be born again? do I have to crawl back into my mother's womb?" "no you idiot. It's a metaphor" (my paraphrase of Jesus) Religion and ego, macro and micro, succeed in creating endless distractions from the real issue at hand. "hey lets argue and fight about what it takes to be religious - that way we don't have to actually do what we don't want to do, but we can appear to be doing it. Brilliant! Not really. Actually, sad and tragic. Religion is just the ego expanded into the culture at large. So, unless you are ego less, and have effectively killed your sense of self so you can live in transcendence, in which case, you probably not reading this, than your knocks against Religion are, while seemingly apropo and sardonic and true, they are also true about the ego. The ego does what it does because that is it's intended purpose. To be in control of our faculties so we don't get eaten by the tiger, or clubbed to death by the tribe next door. As long as we are dealing with the plane of the material world and survival in it, the ego does us well. It is just when we get into that transcendence thing that the ego becomes an impediment. And oh, what an impediment it is.