Buddhism may not fit neatly into particular Western categories. However, it seems to me that to argue that it is not
a religion in some sense would be inaccurate. I take refuge in the Buddha, Dhamma, and Sangha. I can't prove
that the Buddha was perfectly enlightened and so on. I can see improvements in my life due to practice, but of course so do practitioners of other faiths...
In my view, denying that Buddhism has anything to do with religion falls into the sort of self-importance trap that the practise seeks to avoid.
Bhikkhu Bodhi, Tolerance and Diversityhttp://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... ay_24.html
To the extent that a religion proposes sound ethical principles and can promote to some degree the development of wholesome qualities such as love, generosity, detachment and compassion, it will merit in this respect the approbation of Buddhists. These principles advocated by outside religious systems will also conduce to rebirth in the realms of bliss — the heavens and the divine abodes. Buddhism by no means claims to have unique access to these realms, but holds that the paths that lead to them have been articulated, with varying degrees of clarity, in many of the great spiritual traditions of humanity. While the Buddhist will disagree with the belief structures of other religions to the extent that they deviate from the Buddha's Dhamma, he will respect them to the extent that they enjoin virtues and standards of conduct that promote spiritual development and the harmonious integration of human beings with each other and with the world.