Is this really religion?
Many times one hears people complaining about religion and the hypocrites that promote it. As a result, people have a negative view of religion and what it actually entails. Does religion include rules, practices, prayers, good works...? First, what does religion mean? Religion means "a personal set or institutionalized system of religious attitudes, beliefs, and practices" as well as various other things related to this. So religion is how someone acts according to what they believe. In effect, denying religion is a religion in itself. The "established religions" of Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism... are not the only religions out there.
Many times, people create their own religion that compliments their own lifestyle. An example of a religion may be working out six times a week for six hours and consuming 12,000 calories. This would be a religious practice of well-known Michael Phelps. He believes that by doing this he will become a better swimmer. His belief and religious adherence to it has proven to be right after winning eleven gold medals.
There appears to be a lot of religions out there, but all of them cannot be true. In the Bible, James 1:27 tells what God believes pure and undefiled religion is. True religion is not going to church every Sunday, obeying the Ten Commandments, praying, and reading the Bible, although this may be a "religion" as was defined earlier. Pure and blameless religion is caring for widows and orphans in their times of need. God is not worried about all the laws and rules. He looks at people's hearts. People should be caring for those who are in need not running around doing all these good things and declaring how great they are for doing them. The greatest religion that one could be a part of is compassion and acting on that compassion.
The second part of this verse talk about keeping oneself unspotted from the world. How does one keep themselves unspotted from the world's sin, greed, pride, lust, hate...? People's hearts have to be right toward God. If they have hearts of compassion, their hearts are right toward others, but they might not be right toward God. One must be careful to keep themselves blameless before the Lord by denying the evils of this world and following after Him.