Religion as it is understood in our modern day is an adherence to a certain belief system. It can be verified by a book, whether it be the Bible, the Koran, the Bhagavad Gita… Religions are full of pious people, people who are very knowledgeable. In other words, religion to these people is rooted in the brain.
How about an analogy relating meditation to skydiving to make a point:
A religous person knows everything there is to know about skydiving.
They know who the first skydiver was, how a parachute works, what kind of planes are used. ..They have a deep respect for the skydiving pioneers. They walk around with pictures of skydivers in their wallet,
they think that skydiving was reserved for other people.
Meditation is jumping off the plane.
A meditator may know nothing about the history, famous skydivers, they
may even have no concept of why they’re jumping. There is no comparison
between jumping and knowing about jumping. To clarify, religion as it
is commonly understood today is a knowing, meditation is a doing. There
is no similarity between the two. It is like comparing between an
expert on love and someone who is in deeply in love. At that point
knowledge is completely useless.
Enlightenment has nothing to do with a belief system. It is an actual
experience, a diving into the self. It is essentially not separating
god from ourselves but realizing that god is within all of us. But it
cannot be a concept or a knowing, it must be a union. A knowing is a
good start. Perhaps reading about skydiving gives you a sense of
elation, excitement. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. But
at some point it will become a crutch, a standstill and soon you will
have to take the plunge yourself.