Now before we get a leaping about and jibber jabbering from the linguistic semanticists. I know Zen "is" often thought about as a 'non-religion'. In fact for the linguistic semanticists let's be clear...nothing "is" anything.
However in "ordinary speak" we use the word religion to lump together a system of thoughts-feelings that are usually about "meanings" and "values". From my own research I believe that the study of Zen opens the door not to the religious mind but to the true religious being.
Zen being open and free from dogma and tradition offers us a chance to drop the ego and enter a space inside ourselves where we can access the left pre-frontal cortex. Using mindfulness based training the reptile brain stem and the limbic amygdala can be made to be our friends and stop creating stress, anxiety and other problems caused by cortisol.
Zen creates a new brain. Then and ONLY then can we create a new mind. Brain first....mind second.