I hate to generalize like I am going to do in a moment, because it is the sort of generalization that rises up some sort of immediate reaction emotion, even for me; but I will anyway because I don't hate it enough to avoid it.
I smile with a mischievous grin as I type: sometimes reaction emotions make for some really great heated discussions - usually, the type of discussions in which you say something that ends up coming out nothing like what you meant it to and one for which you think of the perfect response to much after the opportunity is gone. Fortunately, typing things out on blogs gives the opportunity to take time to ponder responses, and gives us the wonderful option of deleting something that reactively spewed from within.
It seems to me as though most religions - on second thought, maybe all religions - try so hard to get to God (or whatever it is they are trying to get to) that they lose sight of the real thing. Their focus disappears. While this is probably true of all religions, I have most experience of it in Christianity. And, since I believe in Jesus Christ as the ultimate truth, I think it matters most that Christians lose sight of the real thing - who is Christ.
Before I take the credit for a new thought, I must point out that the whole book of Colossians focuses on this very concept. As the church of Colosse struggled on their own, outsiders came in and tried to add to the simple truth of the gospel of Christ. They added all sorts of beliefs on rituals and traditions that should be done in order to follow Christ, but really, all of those things were shadows of the real thing.
The point should be made that some of them were shadows of the real thing. In other words, not all of them were abscure, completely revocable concepts that were to be eradicated hands down. Some of the traditions could have been good for their faith, but none of it was, because their focus was all wrong. They worried so much about the traditions that they could not see the reason for the traditions.
The Colossians never experienced the joys and sorrows of the book because they were too mezmerized by the cover.
They never walked into the mansion and witnessed all its beauty and mystery because they spent so much time being captivated by the complexity of the door.
They never became rich from the treasure inside the chest because they were too busy polishing the lock.
How often do we, as Christians, worry so much about acting like a Christian, looking like a Christian, and doing what Christians do that we forget that the substance of our faith is the fullness of Christ Himself - not Christianity, not Christian culture, not church, not church functions, not being a good evangelist.
Colossians 2:17 Such [things] are only the shadow of things that are to come, and they have only a symbolic value. But the reality (the substance, the solid fact of what is foreshadowed, the body of it) belongs to Christ. (Amplified Version; emphasis added)
For more, read Colossians. It's a good book.