If religion truly was a social rather than individual phenomenon we would expect there to be some societies that have religion and other s that do not. Instead what we see is an overwhelming predominance of religion across all societies, indeed I am not aware of a society without religion.
Well for me its individual its the connection between me and god in the way I see fit I don't need society or any social construct. I also have many ways to connect with god this being asking myself questions about life hoping god is listening even if he is not to my problems and joys and preying I normal do this on my own in a very quiet place were I look at the beauty of the world.
Without the individual aspect of spirituality and belief, t here can never really be a group or society to influence. Most religions are born out of one mind or belief, the journey of some individual that leads them to a great revelation. While the religion may embrace the importance of groups, it will always make a claim that the individual faith is paramount, due to the fact that, without belief, there is no real religion. Furthermore, most religions embrace the idea that, at death, you will be judged for your actions in life, rather than who you were associated with, this is the justice of religion, in that it usually does not involve guilt by association. In this way, because religious spirituality is usually relegated and determined by the individual, the essence of religion is individual.
Another way of asking the question is, "Does the heart of religion lie in individual experience or group practice?". In order to understand religion, do we ask religious experts or lay people? The American philosopher and psychologist William James said that religion lies in the heart of individual mystical experiences, whereas the French sociologist Emile Durkheim argued that religion is group practice. I agree more with William James, one does not necessarily need to adhere to organized religion to experience transcendence or absolute reality.
Spirituality, not religion, is an individual pursuit. While spirituality and personal faith is an aspect of religion, religion itself is about supporting that individual spirituality through the communion of many people. If the essence of religion were merely individual, religions would only encourage individual progress without the influence of external forces and others. The fact that the majority of religions involve bringing people together to worship and serve others suggests that religion is more about bringing people together and influencing society to shift its attitudes.
Without the church there would be nothing to convert and indoctrinate people. There would be no center of gravity to draw in people looking for help with their problems or those searching for the answers to the mysteries of life. Without the direction of the church religion would mix in with other myths and superstitions and fracture into millions of different personal belief systems.