The Argument/Complaint: Religion is all about meaningless rules and laws.
I agree completely that most religions are about meaningless rules and laws. In every ‘religion’ that I know of, there are a number of do’s and don’ts and seemingly arbitrary regulations; pray facing this direction, give so much of your income to God, fast x amounts of time per year, recite such and such series of words x amount of times per day, eat this, don’t eat that, etc, etc.
If you follow those ‘rules’ you will be a ‘better’ or ‘more devout’ associate of whatever religion you are a part of. They are religious ‘systems’ that one must follow (or at least convince people they follow) if they want to claim to be a part of that religion and reap whatever benefits are gained from that claim.
A lot of people seem to think that following a set of religious rules will make them a ‘good’ person. Before I came to know Christ, I personally found that regardless of what religion or rules people claimed to follow, it didn’t have any affect on whether they were ‘good’ people or not, so why bother adhering to regulations. From all definitions I was already a good person, I didn’t need religion or a set of standards or scales to prove that or be measured by to determine that. I found that people just used religion to excuse or condone their own selfish actions or desires, or they thought religion gave them the right to judge and condemn others.
I personally don’t consider being a Christian or Christianity a religion, because it’s not about (at least to my understanding) a ‘system’ of rules or laws to measure up against, it’s about a personal relationship with a loving God. Matthew 22:36-42 and Mark 12:28-34 show what is important to God. It’s not about what rules you follow or how great of a person you are, it’s first and foremost about loving God, and secondly about loving others.
That, I believe, is what sets Christianity apart from all other religions.