Do I have you a little confused? I know you are probably thinking "umm, yes they are the same thing." I thought so too, until I experienced something different, until I opened my Bible and figured out what a Christian really was.
All my life I would have called myself a religious person . I went to church most Sundays, I put a few dollars in the collection plate, I completed all of the proper steps you are supposed to as a child. I had no idea that I was missing the most important piece, a relationship with Christ.
So what is a Christian? By definition from Focus on the Family, a Christian refers to anyone, man, woman, or child, who trusts in Jesus Christ as his or her Savior and Lord and who strives to follow Him in every area of life. By contrast, religious by definition means relating to or believing in a religion. They are not one in the same.
So my question is what or who do you follow? Religion or Christ? Does your religion lead you to a relationship with Christ?
Religion should be our tool, but it is not our way. Jesus is the only way. "Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him." John 14:6-7
If the customs of religion are what you are following and not Christ and His teaching, maybe your religion is not the right tool for you. That is the great part about different denominations. Each presents the Bible in a different way. The Biblical teachings themselves should be the same at the core, but different in how they are presented and taken in by each individual person.
I tell you this for knowledge sake, not out of shaming or bashing any specific Christian religion. I tell you this, because I don't want anyone to miss out on the love and connection with Christ that I did for so long simply because I was not using the right tool for myself. Worshiping in different ways is a beautiful thing! We were all created different on purpose, so it is no wonder we don't all connect or worship the same way.
To dig a little deeper, read Colossians 2. I have included the Passion Translation, but try reading different translations for a better understanding.