Brother Syed, these are interesting thoughts. Due to limited time, I will briefly comment on two aspects.
Islam is a Deen, a way of life, covering every aspect of human activity, including beliefs, thoughts, and actions (both scientific, nonscientific) resulting from such beliefs and thoughts. In mathematical terms, Deen is a much larger set, covering all. On the other hand, “religion” in simple terms is dealing with “belief and worship”. Thus, religion is a subset within the larger set called Deen. The tragedy of the Muslims is that they equated the two.
With respect to “salat” and “remembrance of God”, I have written enough on this forum over last few months, mostly between myself and my confused brother Jawaid Ahmed, who is running pillar-to-post unsuccessfully to justify his non-quranic notions and definitions. I am not sure to what extent you followed our discourse. In simple terms, when Quran has provided the purpose of some activity, that is THE PURPOSE for that activity. To this end, Quran has clearly provided the purpose of Salat, i.e. His remembrance.
[20:14]: Indeed, I am Allah. There is no deity/God except Me, so worship Me and establish Salat/prayer for My remembrance.
[62:9]: O you who have believed, when the call is made for the salat/prayer on the day of Jumu'ah [Friday], then proceed to the remembrance of Allah and leave trade. That is better for you, if you only knew.