Religion has a lots of possibilities. Superstition to explain the world. Salve to soothe the mind in a troubling world. Dogma to help a few control the masses. Perversion of a higher truth. Or body of wisdom to help those who are interested awaken spiritually.
For some, Love is the only true religion. This is the love of perfect altruism -- vividly aware of physical reality, but conscious of a higher, spiritual reality which governs everything we see, here in this world.
The key barrier is Ego -- self-concern. This one trait of man has perverted all religions, governments, sciences, businesses and more.
Jesus talked about this barrier. He said that those who are First (egoists) shall be last; and those who are Last (humble and loving of others as themselves) shall be first.
In other words, the way out of suffering is not by force or belief, but by sacrificing the Ego-self and looking outward toward service to others.