Rebuttal: Our "Religion" is Our relationship with God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
What the Bible Says
If religion is so ‘evil’, then why is it used here in the Word of God? James 1; 19-27, “If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue, but deceives his heart, his religion is vain. Religion that is pure and un-defiled before God and the Father is this; to care for the orphans and the widows in their afflictions and to keep oneself unstained by the world.”
What the Church Teaches
Religion is a relationship with God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit; and also with the people of God, his children. Through this relationship, we are able to become stronger in our faith, richer in our hope and mirrors of His love.
“This is What the Catholic Church teaches what is meant by “Religion. You shall worship the Lord your God” (Mt 4; 10). Adoring God, praying to him, offering the worship that belongs to him, fulfilling the vows and promises made to him are acts of the virtues of religion, which fall under obedience to the first commandment. “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul and with all you strength” (Deut 6:5) and (CCC 2133, CCC 2134). If we had to depend on our own, limited and human interpretations of that scripture; how would we ever come to know HOW to follow that commandment?
Bishops (episcopoi) have the care of multiple congregations and appoint, ordain, and discipline priests and deacons. They sometimes appear to be called "evangelists" in the New Testament. Examples of first-century bishops include Timothy and Titus (1Tim. 5:19–22; 2 Tim. 4:5; Titus 1:5).
Priests (presbuteroi) are also known as "presbyters" or "elders." In fact, the English term "priest" is simply a contraction of the Greek word presbuteros. They have the responsibility of teaching, governing, and providing the sacraments in a given congregation (1Tim. 5:17; Jas. 5:14–15).
Deacons (diakonoi) are the assistants of the bishops and are responsible for teaching and administering certain Church tasks, such as the distribution of food (Acts 6:1–6).
Thus, in the apostolic age Paul sometimes described himself as a diakonos ("servant" or "minister"; cf. (2Cor. 3:6, 6:4, 11:23; Eph. 3:7).
In Other Words
So to the accuser, I would tell them to read Acts in their Bible and tell me that the apostles did not have an authority. Tell me that they did not do everything they could to correct those who were preaching outside of Jesus’ endorsement. As Catholics, we believe that Religion (to bind), is to be bound to God “to be tied or linked to God,” and His Divine Institutes, 1 Tim 3:14-16. Not to be held in bondage to the Devil. We are freed from the devil’s grasp through the blood of Jesus.
The Old Testament scribes, Pharisees, and Sadducees, are not the same leaders as the New Testament leaders. As Catholics we do not follow the Old Testament leaders; we follow the New Testament leaders – Jesus and his Twelve.
All Christians agree that on the third day Jesus rose from the dead. Forty days later, after teaching and instructing the Divine Institutes to His apostles, He ascended to the Father in heaven. Jesus had to ascend so that the Holy Spirit, in its fullness, could come upon the apostles. Ten days later (fifty days after Jesus’ resurrection) the Holy Ghost descended unto the apostles, which we know as Pentecost (the birthplace of the Catholic Church). The Holy Ghost filled and set fire to the hearts of the apostles, giving them the authority, bravery and the divine inspiration to embark on the journey of building the church and spreading the good news. Many Protestants have the notion that somehow the church is invisible, it's me and Jesus thing only, this idea is not what the Apostles taught. Jesus obviously established a visible church, the community of his followers; it's not me and Jesus only, but us and Jesus. The apostles spread this news via written and oral teachings. These written and oral teachings compose my RELIGION to which I am bound, The Catholic Church. Is anyone above this?
Paul says it clearly here:
Other Scripture to Consider: