Sam: It’s not about religion, it’s about a relationship.
Justin: What do you mean when you say “religion?”
Sam: Mindless observance; superstitious acts of piety; following the rules.
Justin: Well, if that’s what you mean by religion, then I agree with you. I can’t think of anyone who would disagree with you! What do you mean by “following the rules?”
Sam: Thinking that unless you do such and such, God will be angry with you or something.
Justin: I believe—and I hope you believe too—that God’s love is unconditional. He loves us perfectly on our worst day.
Justin: So what you’re saying isn’t that we shouldn’t follow the rules—by which I mean God’s commands—just that it’s better if our desire to follow them springs from our relationship with Christ as opposed to fear of punishment?
Justin: I agree. Incidentally, now that I understand what you mean when you say “religion,” where are you getting that definition? I don’t find it in the Bible.
Sam: Don’t you recall what Jesus said to the religious people of his day? Check out Matthew 12:38 where he calls the pharisees and scribes “You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good?” He doesn’t sound like a friend of religion to me.
Justin: Is he calling religion a “brood of vipers”? Or those he was speaking to?
Sam: Those he was speaking to . . . who were religious. He’s bashing religion by association.
Justin: He’s “bashing” religion by association . . . Hmm. Do you know what the fallacy of association is?
Justin: Funny, because you’re doing a terrific job at committing it. It’s attempts, to show that the qualities of one thing are inherently qualities of another, merely by an irrelevant association. 
In other words:
1. A is a B
2. A is also a C
3. Therefore, All B’s are C’s
That would be like arguing John is a Lutheran, John has a lisp, therefore, all Lutherans have lisps.
Sam: I’m almost certain that that’s not what I’m saying but continue.
Justin: It’s just, when I read the Scriptures, I don’t see religion being defined the way you’re defining it. Check out James 1:26, “If any one thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this man’s religion is vain.” Notice James doesn’t say, “if anyone doesn’t bridle his tongue but deceives his heart he is religious!” He’s distinguishing true religion which he thinks is a good from false religion. He even says as much in the next verse.
Have a look. Verse 27 says “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.” So you see, James seems to think that there is a religion that is pure and undefiled.
Sam: Doesn’t it say in the Bible, I forget where; I know, I may as well be a Catholic, right? But doesn’t it say, “What if I told you Jesus came to abolish religion?” I think that was the prophet Jefferson? or something like that.
Justin: I’m pretty sure that was a crappy YouTube clip.
Sam: Nooo. Was it?
Sam: But look at the evil religious people have caused throughout the centuries.
Sam: What was that?
Justin: Oh, I just coughed at the same time that I said “fallacy of association”
Sam: I know. Why?
Justin: Because I wanted to pretend like I didn’t want you to hear it. But I did want you to hear it.
Justin: I don’t know why I do the things I do, Sam. Put it down to me being religious if you like.