In the end your religious understanding must be what you create for yourself, and that is HARD, the reason the business of group religions, gurus, pied pipers of all kinds, is so brisk, and they are at work trying to get your business.
But there is a simple solution here, one that is automatically created by secular society, where the spectrum of options is designed to be vast, which it is. Create your own religion.
The solution to the question of your own religion is simple:
Say good bye to Jesus Christ who is not going to save you.
Embark on a study of religion, religions, the history of religions, etc…
that is, Explore the whole field of religions, …
That’s it, but there are hundreds of things one could add on here, but I would suggest two only:
1. forget religion and explore the dynamics of metaphysical belief in the wake of Kant. You will see religions like Xtianity as decayed metaphysics.
But there is a basic bottom line: All the religions from Zoroaster onward tried to preserve the basics of a sense of free will, thence ethical action. That is the reason tradition refuses to die confronted with science. Don’t be ensared by song and dance from scientists about scientific substitutes.
Kant can (without solving the problem) do all this one better than, say, Christianity. From there the study of ethics comes into play. This approach will enable you to bypass theism/atheism, and waste no further time on the god confusion. You can apply this renewed theism, or even atheism, what is the difference, given a Kantian insight? The question of god, and the related issues of soul and free will, are seen to hover near the basic antinomies of mind, therefore the endless confusion they create. An intelligent way out is possible. But the point here is that religion is about god, soul, and free will. You can kantianize these confusions and translate them into better understandings. Thus ‘soul’ can be replaced with a Kantianized sense of the ‘self’ as mediator of space and time, etc….??? And this will allow you to escape the probably false approach of scientism which wants to simply negate god, soul, and free will. You can do with, and can’t do without these notions, which have accompaned homo sapiens since the dawn of homo sapiens.
Thus you can blend #1 #2 by ‘meditating’ these three metaphysical givens, labelled soul/self, god (beginning in time, or not,…), will, and free will.
2. Reflect on the classic question(s) of consciousness, thence self-consciousness, and from there attempt the almost hopeless effort to arrive at and, more, understand ‘spiritual psychology’, which is not really spiritual, but simple a completed psychology. This could be taken as jargon gobbledegook for ‘meditation’, but meditation could be taken as jargon gobbledegook for developing self-consciousness. So take your pick.
These two vague directions can be seen to represent a steps in relation to or beyond Christianity/monotheism and, e.g. Buddhism et al., and are comprehensive. You will soon be moved to revise these steps in your own understanding.
In many ways Kant, who is very obscure and hard to read, produced the religion beyond religion, as a secular state of ‘religious’/philosophic activity.
He is the step beyond Protestantism into secularism that is able to absorb religion into its ‘self-consciousness’ as intelligence, rather than church membership or sterile belief.
Oh, and by the way, the odds you wil fail here are high, ending in some sort of damnation routine. I would simply roll with the punches and recover via common sense, common ordinary ethics, and just maybe life enprisonment in the nearest ‘Zen slammer’ (meditation again). Getting into damnation routines is usually a Faustian bargain, but getting out is another in disguise, a Faustian bargain with a ghost, Jesus.
So do without. Buddhists say, if you meet the buddha on the road,….
Same for Jesus, I guess. The Pope won’t like this, but Jesus is probably tired of you, so no problem. hit the road, and don’t look back.
There, I’ve created your new religion for you, and am considering raising my prices, so go and create your own religion…
The link to the page on The Great Freedom Sutra shows a perspective in which secularism is actually a potentially deeper field of religion than religion, centered around the idea of freedom.