people get conned into religion because it satisfies their need to justify themselves to god. the problem is that religion does nothing else, besides give money and power to those in charge.
jesus, on the other hand, offered the means by which a person could rightfully take their place as a child of the father of all creation. but like the rich young ruler, the cost is, in their eyes, ridiculously high, or just plain ridiculous.
the bottom line is, people dont believe the words of jesus, regardless of what they say, or they would do much differently than what is currently presented. and none of those things require a group; they only require faith.