Religion means tied to a rule i.e. a book of law. For Catholics today that is the Bible, for Muslims it is the Koran, Buddists it is the Gita, for Masons it is the Cabbala. The English word �religion� derives from the Latin religio, "reverence (for the gods)" or "conscientiousness". Proposed etymological interpretations from Wikipedia include:
Re-reading-from Latin re (again) + lego (in the sense of "read"), referring to the repetition of scripture. Treating carefully-from Latin re (again) + lego (in the sense of "choose"-this was the interpretation of Cicero) "go over again" or "consider carefully".
Re-connection to the divine-from Latin re (again) + ligare (to connect, as in English ligament). This interpretation is favoured by modern scholars such as Tom Harpur, but was made prominent by St. Augustine, following the interpretation of Lactantius. To bind or return to bondage-an alternate interpretation of the "reconnection" etymology emphasizing a sense of servitude to God, this may have originated with Augustine. However, the interpretation, while popular with critics of religion, is often considered imprecise and possibly offensive to followers.
From Res + legere
Concerning a gathering - from Latin res (ablative re, with regard to) + legere (to gather), since organized religion revolves around a gathering of people. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion#From_Relego
Generalising (please allow me), may I suggest that most books of religions from the past are fitted to the hub of a personality, a time and a place. That is a good triangulation of three vectors to �fix� the �story / rules� and all are appropriate for their time and place. I cant believe that rules from 2,000 years ago have my freedom of choice factored in to this time period because, in the first place, they make hierarchy between the Source and Me. Secondly, rules about speeding donkeys 2,000 years ago are not suitable for today�s speeding Harley Davidsons, are they ?
Many new books have been written over the last 200 years (many in French) about suitable concepts for a �new religion�. So many books and new religions for a �white� �civilised� �race� exist that there is a wide range of �Safe Options� for the escaping Catholic etc to help them change traps or book of rules and to feel free but still be trapped. The problem is that there are so many variations on old themes or new interpretations of old themes that escape from any �a book of law� is often to be trapped in another a �book of law�. This is the trap of Religions.
There are �books of law� or rules that help us on our way, but today many free thinkers - do not obey these rules because as we grow and begin maturing into self awareness the very idea of �rule and punishment� fades into the void. In Crowley�s �Book of Thoth� we have a fantastic pictorial representation of the Powers of the Universe. This book has its roots deep in dark Hebrew Caballa from the end of the Age of Aries and Libra / early Pisces and Virgo. It is out of date as guidance for Humanity and may have been given as �higher powers� for the magical elite of 100 years ago to assist the new world order. This book has been mis-used by todays champions of fear, hate and war to create the hidden supremicist religion.
So simply put for me the term �religion� implies being restrained or tied to any book of dogma or rules that were written a long time ago such as the Bible in the Age of Pisces and Virgo. Relevance passes with the Aeons and today�s Age of Aquarius and Leo is in its early infancy and no Book of Law has been written for Pagans to be tied to yet. I hope that there never is a single book for Pagans, instead - I hope that every Pagan expresses the right to discover the Powers of his/her own Universe to enjoy and share peace, love and happiness - let that be the new religion - everyone has their own unique connection to Source.