I need some research help regarding the shift in the meaning/usage of the word "religion" in Christian parlance.
Background: In recent years the use word "religion" has changed from its classic dictionary definition (e.g., "the belief in a god or in a group of gods; an organized system of beliefs, ceremonies, and rules used to worship a god or a group of gods" - Websters).
Some segments of Christianity regularly (mis)use the word strictly as a pejorative, nearly always intended as a damning reference system of works-based righteousness or, less often, as a sweeping reference to liturgy or ceremony. Quite simply, bashing "religion" has become quite a fad for at least a decade. Unfortunately, this word is so widely misused that online research in the origins of its shift in usage has proven fruitless so far.
What I am researching is this:
- When/where did this word start to shift meaning? (Was this an Emergent era thing? Before that?)
- Can you cite any examples (books, speeches, articles) from online or even from memory where you first heard "religion!!!!" (mis)used as a pejorative synonym for works righteousness or ceremony?
- This peculiar misuse of the word seems entirely confined to western Protestantism, but perhaps some of you can cite non-Protestant examples?
Here's an example: in 2009, popular (now former) pastor Mark Driscoll published a book called "Religion Saves, and Nine Other Misconceptions" based on his 10-part sermon series of the same name. As is common nowadays, Driscoll used the word "religion" to mean earning a right standing before God through good behavior. But he and others in his circle has been using that meaning in sermons and writing for at least 5 years before then.
NOTE: This research request is NOT intended to serve as a debate thread over the meaning of the word "religion." I'm asking for some very specific information, hopefully with citations, examples or information from those with historical knowledge of the answers.