Religion has misled us humans to look for physical signs of God's presence, favour or disfavour.
This leads to a works-based self-righteousness, supremacist notions, and hypocrisy.
God is however found by our human spirit when awakened by finding and following the map known as the unabridged "good news". According to this message God IMPUTES a right standing with him as a free and unmerited gift to any fallen sinner that would accept (instead of earn) his generosity.
There is nothing that the Pharisaic and apostate WBT$ secretly hates more than the "good news". That is why it is not in the hearts or on the lips of WBT$ followers.
It can oddly enough be found in their publications:
*** w79 12/15 pp. 5-6 How Powerful Is The Good News? ***
This “good news” is primarily the message that salvation or everlasting life is possible on the basis of genuine faith in the atoning benefits of Jesus Christ’s sacrifice, and that God’s kingdom by Christ will bring all things on earth into perfect unity with the holy heavens. (Acts 4:12; Rom. 1:16; Eph. 1:7-14) Why does that message have a powerful effect on those accepting it?
Consider the situation of many individuals when the “good news” reaches them. Before hearing this message, a person may sense a certain emptiness in his life. On account of personal problems and because of witnessing injustices and oppression, he may have cried out inside himself for relief from distress. The individual may be disappointed because of his own inability to be the kind of person he would like to be. Then, when the “good news” is presented to him, he learns the basic reason for his distress, namely, that he, along with all other members of the human family, is a sinner. Therefore, no matter how sincere a person may be, he will not succeed in living his life in such a way that he does not disappoint himself and others. He can never prove himself righteous before God by adhering to a particular code of law. The “good news,” however, makes it clear how he can enjoy a clean conscience before God and men, with everlasting life in view.
*** g79 6/8 p. 28 Why the Emphasis on Christian Freedom? ***
A perfect code of laws cannot make any person righteous. To be divinely approved, we need a stronger force in our lives than law to override our sinful fleshly tendencies. That stronger force is God’s spirit, which operates fully toward persons who have genuine faith in God’s arrangement for salvation through Christ. To exchange Jewish legalism for Christian freedom, therefore, constitutes a denial of Christian faith.
*** w80 5/1 p. 6 Learning from an Experiment That Failed ***
The Mishnah states: “The rules about the Sabbath, Festal-offerings, and Sacrilege are as mountains hanging by a hair, for [teaching of] Scripture [thereon] is scanty and the rules many.”
What was the purpose of so many rules of conduct? Some insight on this matter can be gained from a statement uttered by Jewish religious leaders before the Common Era: “Be deliberate in judgement, raise up many disciples, and make a fence around the Law.” The “fence” means traditions that supposedly would restrain persons from transgressing the written law of God. According to theory, if a person did not cross the fence, he would never be guilty of violating an actual Biblical decree.
Did that experiment succeed? Did the massive body of oral traditions make better people out of the Israelites and the Pharisees in particular?
Seeking God’s Favor Through Deeds
Excessive attention to minute regulations had a harmful effect. It led to the belief that becoming righteous in God’s eyes was merely a matter of carrying out prescribed religious and charitable deeds. Each good deed was believed to earn “merit” with God, whereas every bad act would incur “debt.” Supposedly, God would one day make a tally of the record of merits and debts to determine whether a person was righteous or wicked.
The teaching about earning merit and favor with God by good deeds caused many Pharisees to become self-righteous and condemnatory of others.
The real source of uncleanness in God’s eyes is man’s inherited sinfulness. (Job 14:4; Ps. 51:5; Rom. 5:12) No amount of ritual washings or other pious deeds can cleanse away defilement due to sin. Only repentance and the putting of faith in God’s arrangement for canceling sins through Jesus Christ can achieve forgiveness and salvation. (Acts 4:12)
The Pharisees did not like that message [the gospel or "good news" of salvation, unmerited favour, and IMPUTED righteousness], since they ‘trusted in themselves that they were righteous and considered the rest as nothing.’ (Luke 18:9, 10) But theirs was merely an external, superficial piety.
Historical facts are plentiful to show that the Pharisees’ experiment to promote righteousness by their way of observing religious precepts and performing charitable deeds was a failure. It neither influenced the majority toward godliness nor helped the Pharisees themselves to become better people. Instead, it influenced them to commit the worst crime in all history, the murder of the Son of God.
However, the experiment was not altogether without usefulness. It set the stage for Jesus before his death to give the powerful message concerning human sinfulness and the need to seek salvation, not through works but as a free gift on the basis of repentance and faith in the sin-atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ.