Here is the definition of "substitute" - "a person or thing that takes the place of someone or something else". Here is the definition of "counterfeit" - "made in imitation of something else with intent to deceive".
The Creator sent a Messenger to tell us what he wants for his created beings - we human beings. As we have learned, we humans have a significant problem with pride, fear and selfishness. We also have a deep dislike against being held accountable for our behavior or words. We deeply want to do whatever we want and generally what we want does not involve losing things we have been taught are important. This makes us strongly independent beings who don't like being told what is true or right...we like to decide such things for ourselves and in our self-pride we take great offense at even the suggestion that we need help in either knowing what is true or doing what is right. We are all just so sure that we have the best world or existential view possible, or at least we are certain we are not wrong about major or important things about human life.
So, when the Messenger comes and says, 'hey, you are wrong about really important things like what your Creator is like and how he wants you to live', what people hear is, 'your religion is wrong' or 'the understanding you have about your existence is wrong'. Given our self-pride and fear, what is the natural reaction?
It is to reject the Messenger as wrong or reject the Messenger's messengers as wrong.
Remember the saying, 'don't kill the messenger for the news or information he brings'. If you know the facts about Joshua of Nazareth, you know that is exactly what happened to him. He was killed out of the offense he caused by telling the truth about people's wrong concepts and understandings of God and how God wants human beings to live.
Do you, dear reader, really believe that human's nature has changed over time? Do you really believe that people are better and freer from self-pride, fear and selfishness than people of past times? If the Messenger and his message still offend people, what would be a clever way to handle that... in other words, how could 'we' both ignore the Messenger and at the same time gain power or money from the Messenger's name? How about merely using the Messenger's name while at the same time changing his person and his message? That way, people can have their cake (pay lip service to the Creator the Messenger spoke of just in case He really does exist) and eat it too (not listen to the Messenger, not do what he says, but rather create a religion in his name and continue to live bound by self-pride and fear and selfishness). The Messenger is not like other leaders who you can see and touch, so it is MUCH easier to merely pay him lip service ('oh lord jesus...') and in reality ignore him and never having a serious intention of listening to him or doing what he says.
And so, bible or christian religion SUBSTITUTES BELIEFS ABOUT GOD taken from a giant book (the bible) with many contradictory statements about God - beliefs that avoid what is actually important to God and instead deal with stuff that has little to no bearing on how human beings are to live our lives - FOR FAITH IN GOD AND HIS APPOINTED MESSENGER, JOSHUA. (Please read that again, slowly, carefully and think about it!)
Or, another version of the substitute is to misdirect what people put their faith in, like the bible or religious leaders or some ritual or anything else except THE PERSON OF Joshua of Nazareth. Instead of getting to know, listening to and DOING what the Messenger says, the people 'go to church' and sing songs called 'worship' and read and admire the bible (at least the parts that don't contain the Messenger's teachings they don't want to hear or consider, like it being difficult to follow him) and place crosses on their walls and around their necks, etc. In other words, they do their bible or christian religious stuff in 'jesus' name, all the while not DOING what the Light says. It is such a clever and effective substitute that it is hard to image that it is not also a counterfeit...a counterfeit not created by the men who profit and benefit from it, but rather from a being with the power to deceive both the people and their appointed leaders.
Let us take a different look at this topic. Over 90 percent of humans on the earth believe a Creator exists and that is reasonable given the physical evidence all around us...that is that complicated organic, biochemical and biomechanical machines with complex inter-dependent systems did not cause our own existence. That does not mean that all those billions of people have a correct understanding of that Creator, but rather they acknowledge as some level, His or Her existence. This fact, along with human nature clearly having a metaphysical or spiritual component traditionally called something like a soul - just like a computer's hardware cannot account for the existence of its software - is the reasonable cause of religion. Let's define religion in a general sense again at this point - religion is the beliefs and practices of people addressing the existence of the Creator, what he or she is like, what he or she may want, and what happens to our souls when our bodies die.
Defining religion from the Creator's perspective - religion is the beliefs and practices of human beings regarding the existence of God and the nature of humans and death - which beliefs and practices have no basis in His Messenger's words or teachings.
Please read that again slowly to so that you can understand as it is an extremely important definition and distinction with the general or world's definition of religion.
OK, so lets sum up the picture, so to speak. We humans have a serious problem with self-pride, fear and selfishness. We also reasonably believe at some level, that a Creator of humans exists. In reality (and in contradiction to most religious views of God) the Creator cares for us and wants us to know the truth about Him, His will for us, and our nature and existence, so He sends His perfect Messenger. That Messenger's message is so offensive to human's natural pride that the people kill the Messenger rather than listen to him. There were a few people who - do to the Messenger's work - got past their pride, fear and selfishness and thus listened to the Messenger and wrote down his message so that mankind would always have the Message available to them. But the vast majority of people hated the Messenger and his message and thus had him killed, or at least supported his killing. After he was gone, they buried the record of his life and his teachings in a big book - the bible - that has other authors who contradict his most important teachings.
Dear reader, nothing has changed with time since he was killed...his message and person are still hated, reviled, doubted, questioned, called fake or false, mocked and simply ignored by both the non-religious and religious...they just have different ways to express it.
Non religious people are much more straightforward in their rejecting him, while the religious are much less honest and 'clever' in the ways they ignore him. Religious people - especially biblians or christians - pay lip service to the Messenger and ignore him and instead create or make him into what they want him to be - a weak or wishy-washy or 'not really caring about how people behave kind-of-guy' or the other extreme of a strict, legal, angry, wrathful Being quick to condemn we sinful human beings. Both methods work well to have people ignore him...the first because he doesn't really care, the second because who wants to get to know a mysterious, wrathful being? Many biblians make him into a 'go-to-heaven-free' talisman - and they do this primarily with the religion they create in his name. Many pull a man named Paul in to accomplish this with his 'salvation by grace' teaching...a teaching which has NO BASIS in Joshua's teachings.
Human's have always been religious. Religion existed before the Messenger came, and it exists after he left...it has not fundamentally changed except in one way. Religion's purpose after the Messenger came is to nullify the Messenger and his Message. And so, in place of the Creator's Message, religions basic message is that God is a schizophrenic Being...usually He is an angry, upset, wrathful, terrible being who is quick to exact punishment and vengeance upon we wayward humans - and if you read the Hebrew scripture - what christians call the old testament - this is exactly the God described therein...he needs blood sacrifices in order to appease his wrath against us, and he has women and children killed by the thousands if they wronged him or 'his people' in some way (See 1 Sam. 15). Then on his 'good days', God is a merciful, loving Being!
Ironically, humans have always created a god in our own image and likeness - gods reflecting our own darkness of pride ('I will rule over you whether you like it or not because I am worthy and YOU are not...'), fear ('Think of all the bad things that will happen to you if you take the wrong step or make the wrong decision or make an honest mistake...') and selfishness ('I need to get what I want, and it doesn't matter how my getting what I want affects you...'). Then we create a God who is so angry he is going to kill millions of humans one moment (see Revelation), and is merciful and compassionate the next. Talk about using fear with a little promise of maybe-love to control people! Let me ask the reader a question - who will want to get to know a God like that?! Thus the success of religion!
Use fear to keep the people in submission to this terrible deity (in reality, in submission to those men and women - religious or political leaders - who say they know him and represent him) who will bring his vengeance at any time against those who don't fear him. Sad, wrong beliefs created by some to subjugate others under their power. Or, for those who hear the Messenger's message but don't want to receive it, they keep the angry, vengeful, wrathful god and give him a schizophrenic nature and say he is also a patient, loving compassionate God. For people without faith, guess which god wins deep down in our hearts of fear? Think about it and compare the picture I paint with human history and what you have observed...and then make a decision and live according to the most accurate picture of reality you can find.
Dear reader, please understand that the Light is not found in what people call "the church"...that the Light is not found in bible or christian religion. Furthermore, accept the fact that the Light is against religion...he is especially against religion in his name. What he is for is love as HE defines that - caring about each other, caring about what is true and right, standing up against that which is false or wrong, sharing our lives like people who actually, truly care about one another, and not like prideful, fearful, selfish, autonomous Americans who don't see the need to share his Life together.
The simple truth is that that which calls itself some form of "the church", is nothing more than a religious organization run by, and attended by, people who reject Joshua of Nazareth and in his place substitute their easy ritual religion. The Light of the world says, "Many will come in my name and will mislead many." This has come to pass. The leadership of bible/christian religion have taken the place of Joshua of Nazareth, and instead of offering the Life he offers, they instead offer the death and darkness that comes with empty, shallow, loveless religion in his name. Of course they market their death, darkness and poison with very nice 'packaging' and spins, and the people eagerly participate in the substitute because they love their lives in this world. It is a mutually serving system - the leaders/rulers get their vocation with their money and their power over people, and the people get the blessing of the religious leaders who say they are good with God and heading to heaven. But the Light and Truth has said, "This is the condemnation, that people loved the darkness rather than the Light because their deeds are evil". It is evil to reject God's Leader Joshua and instead substitute other men and women in his place, which men and women do not listen to or follow Joshua, but rather lead people - lead YOU if you are participating in bible-church religion - into darkness.
I know this is hard to understand since you have been taught and believed that there is no significant difference between 'jesus christ' and christian or bible religion you experience in that name...in truth 'jesus christ' is merely the figurehead of your religion - the bait to draw you in. However, if you can see the difference between...the historical person of Joshua (Jesus) of Nazareth and HIS words and teachings as found only in the four 'gospel' books at the beginning of the 'new testament'...and religion in his name, you have taken one simple step in the right direction. So many who ask good questions about God stuff can never get past throwing the baby (that which is really valuable, Joshua of Nazareth) out with the bathwater (that which is worthless, christian and bible religion). Or, they simply cannot distinguish the baby from the bathwater, having been taught for years that they are the same thing.
If you are seriously considering adopting the Creator's solution for yourself and mankind - if you can distinguish the baby from the bathwater - please continue on...