We like to think of ourselves as running with the band of merry men who wake up one day and find themselves freed of Religion. The attempt to explain leaves me more often tongue-tied and my hearers confused and perhaps concerned for my sanity. Thus, I leap at the opportunity to share C.S. Lewis' explanation, as I discovered it today, in The World's Last Night and Other Essays.
"The word religion is extremely rare in the New Testament or the writings of mystics. The reason is simple. Those attitudes and practises to which we give the collective name of religionare themselves concerned with religion hardly at all. To be religious is to have one's attention fixed on God and on one's neighbour in relation to God. Therefore, almost by definition, a religious man, or a man when he is being religious, is not thinking about religion; he hasn't the time. Religion is what we (or he himself at a later moment) call his activity from outside."
~From Lilies that Fester