Re: Breathing life into a fantasy religion
I found it easiest to start with the god of the religion. Mine is the universe, my people believe that they are inside god and form part of his body. Out of that came the magic/miracles and observances. Also things like the creation story can give it huge character. Mine has the creation story, a fall of sorts and a flood style story (God changing his people). Also locate your version of the 'golden rule.'
However, most of the worlds religions have an awful lot in common. I weaved bits from each of them into the observances. I have something approaching the five Ks (Sikh), prayer is meditation: more pagan style than Buddhist, they have compline and the other Catholicism style monastic life, asian fighting styles bring in elements. If you note the things all the religions we have, have in common and keep them deviating is easier.
Your worlds religion if it has humanity will have similarity to religions we have on Earth.