Anymore the word "religion" seems to hava a negative connotation that a lot of Christians want to steer away from. For me it brings up images of bible thumping, greed in the name of faith, and politicking.
For me as well. Nonetheless, that's not what it means.
For me, if I were to say, I belong to a "faith" or have a Christian belief system, but aren't religious, it means I don't feel the need to conform to a set list of dogmas, and I won't try to cram my beliefs down anyones throat.
OK, but that's got nothing to do with the actual meaning of the word religion. Your "faith" and "Christian belief system" are a religion in almost any sense of the word. What you seem to mean is that you are not dogmatic about your religion.
I've gone to several different churches and enjoyed them all for different reasons. It's more about that internal relationship and joy than any definition or label one might put on your beliefs.
The "definition or label" helps people to understand what you're talking about. Words have meanings which apply to certain entities or phenomena. You may not like them but if you arbitrarily dismiss them or decide on your own meaning, you will not be understood.
Really, it's just words and how a person feels when they hear that word. In the end, it's all just personal preference.
No it's not. It's about commonly accepted usage. If you define words according to your "personal preference" rather than their accepted meanings, then you will cause confusion. BrendaCloutier:
I hope you had a good trip back home.
Yes I did, thank you. Short and uneventful. Hope you enjoyed this side of the pond.
Going back to dictonary.com description, yes, I have a belief structure. However, I do not gather with others who share similar belief structures, nor do I serve the god(s)/dess because I believe they are not beings to be served nor desirous of such devotion, contrary to most "wo/man's" teachings. So I am non-religious.
Seems to me you fit right in to definition 1a: "Belief in and reverence for a supernatural power or powers regarded as creator and governor of the universe". I guess it hinges on whether your respect for the "god(s)/dess" extends to reverence. (Of course other definitions do not stipulate reverence as a requirement; a belief in supernatural entities that influence our universe is sufficient to qualify as religion.)
So I reinforce that I have a spiritual belief structure without the need for a "religious" environment.
Your spiritual belief structure looks a lot like a religion to me. I suppose if you just happen to believe that "the god(s)/dess" exist(s) but are indifferent to their existence, then it might fall more into the category of superstition than religion, but I doubt you'd prefer that term.