I’ve just had a thought of two things that I’d consider quintessential to good religion (and I’m sure there’s a lot more). I’ll keep this post brief as I’m not well so a bit tired at present.
1. An emphasis on transformation
Good religion should focus on how we can change now, not in some distant future. It shouldn’t focus too much on the teaching and principles, but rather on the nitty-gritty, how the whole thing applies and shapes your life. That might involve some kind of introspective practice, but ultimately the point is for applications of moral goodness.
2. An emphasis on community
Good religion works when the sense of community is strong. Transformation can and will occur on an individual level, but the effect is compounded when the community is committed to action. Also, one of our greatest human needs is for connection, and this is where good religion can excel.
I mention these because my experience of both within the churches I’ve attended has been limited. The focus tends to be more on running services and studies.
And where is God in this? Instead of making God into some kind of crutch, I tend to think of her as the source of inspiration and the common experience of goodness and wisdom. God inspires transformation and unites the community in goodness.