Why do some Xians insist that they don't belong to a "religion" but have a "personal relationship" with Jesus instead? The very definition of religion seems to indicate that all Xians are part of a religion:
1. a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, esp. when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs.
2. a specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects: the Christian religion; the Buddhist religion.
3. the body of persons adhering to a particular set of beliefs and practices: a world council of religions.
4. the life or state of a monk, nun, etc.: to enter religion.
5. the practice of religious beliefs; ritual observance of faith.
6. something one believes in and follows devotedly; a point or matter of ethics or conscience: to make a religion of fighting prejudice.
I've been told that it is an attempt to bypass the negative connotations of the word "religion" but I simply don't buy that. In this country (the US) there are no negative connotations to the word religion, and there certainly isn't any in the dictionary definition.
Is this an attempt to somehow claim that their beliefs are more valid or more special than the mundane beliefs of "religions?" Does anyone know why some Xians claim they aren't part of a religion?