One of my best friends often brings up his contention with my religious past.
When I was young, I attended the Catholic Mass with my mother. The Liturgy was in Latin so I understood little (or nothing) of what was being recited. I learned the proper time of when to sit, kneel and stand but learned little about the Bible. I couldn't understand what was being said so I would just say my own prayers.
Later in life, my mom was too busy to take us to church. She would just drop us off at the nearest neighborhood church (Baptist). I learned about the Bible and watched the weekly floor-show (song, dance, scream and shout) and fashion show (big hats and bright suits).
I experienced something called the Holy Ghost in this church. I was afraid of ghosts so I wanted nothing of that.
During one service (my last at this church) the plate was passed five times with the desperation and implied guilt being stressed more each successive time. The pastor's children and wife all had new cars, while I had to get a ride to the service. After giving up my lunch money and allowance, I'd had enough.
There weren't many Black kids in most of my middle school classes.
One group of particularly nice kids were a group who belonged to a church called the Mormons. I'd see these kids and their families at school events and I would marvel at how close their families were. I had NO structure at home and was at the point in life where I was seeking guidance. These kids invited me to church - even offering to have their parents give me a ride. The taking of tithes wasn't a shameful or ostentatious exercise but one of placing an envelope into a small box in the hall just outside of the sanctuary. The members seemed to abstain from premarital sex, drugs, alcohol and even caffeine. I liked the rigidity of their doctrine. (I had quit drinking when I was twelve, lost my father and uncles to drunk-driving accidents, been "experienced" with my half-brother's cousin at eight, and seen enough of my step-father's drug induced rages. Like I said, I needed structure.) Dropping my past practices opened doors socially and culturally that before I would have never known existed. Believe me - it's hard to be good in the hood.
I have no issue with the esoteric beliefs and history of these churches. I have no problem with Opus Dei or the Catholic churches attempts to rule the world. I have no problem with the Protestant history of anti-Semitism or witch hunts. I have no problem with Joseph Smith or brass plates or their racism. Each church served my needs at a different point in my life.
A Muslim guy gave me an Islamic book in an effort to convert me. I looked through it and came upon a passage that read - God loves all righteousness. If this is the case, one's religion doesn't matter. When a follower asked Christ about the greatest commandments, Christ replied; Love God with all thy heart and Love thy neighbor as thyself. Simple. Anyone from any denomination or religion can do these two. It would seem that the practice is more important than the philosophy.
I still go to church, usually with whomever and wherever I'm invited. I'm not a little kid who needs a lot of fanfare to keep me interested. I don't need the floor show or the "good seat". When I go to church, I sit in the back with the rest of the sinners. I still like the Catholic church because I can still just walk in and kneel whenever I need to pray (Well... not in bad neighborhoods. They lock the doors these days.). I like the helpfulness of the Mormon church during and after our hurricanes. I usually go to Baptist churches for social reasons (fellowship). IMO - church and religion is supposed to help one rule over and govern themselves - not to rule over and oppress others.