To be a Christian is to be a follower of Christ. What does to be a follower of Christ mean? Does it mean just to declare a belief in the personality of Jesus, or does it mean to be a member of a Church? Just like many of us have come to confuse God with religion, we also here run the risk of confusing a belief in Jesus with the membership of a particular Church.
Jesus in all simplicity brought a Teaching to which we can adhere and through which we might attain to the Kingdom of God. This has nothing to do with membership of any Church. Any human being who is able to understand the Message of Jesus and adheres to It is the true Christian.
The concept of a Church as the intermediary between the Kingdom of God and the individual arose with the early Church when the early Fathers insisted that in order for new converts to be baptised, they would have to be members of the Church. The believers were told that without baptism they would never be able to enter the Kingdom of God and this baptism was only offered by the Church. So we had the dilemma where seeking souls who had ardent longing for the Kingdom of God were told that this would not be possible unless they were baptised and that this baptism required first that they give allegiance to the Church.
Not even baptism guarantees entrance into the Kingdom of God. What baptism does is give the supplicant spiritual strength for the inner struggle ahead. Strength to overcome his faults and weaknesses. Therefore, not only were people misled into believing that baptism washed away sins and guaranteed entrance into the Kingdom of God, they were also told that it was absolutely necessary that they had to become members of a Church.
Let it be said that whoever follows the Christ principle of true love, justice, love of thy neighbour and adherence to the Laws of God through the deed is the true Christian no matter to what earthly religion he belongs. For some people religion will help in focussing their energies and directing their thoughts and intuitive volitions but for others it will be a hindrance.
There are many human beings who have turned away from God because since childhood, we had been taught that religion was equivalent to God and that the Church formed the only authentic means of speaking with Jesus. These people, though they have the ardent yearning for God could not accept this teaching and have as a result become atheists.
It is this error that must be done away with. Each individual is positioned and perfectly capable of communicating with God through the use of that instrument that we have all been given, the intuition. If we listen to the inner voice, we would then be guided to find the true Teaching that leads to the proximity of God.