Those Cracked Christians
A common thing you hear is people saying "I respect your right to have an opinion." Sometimes you even hear "I respect your opinion."
I do respect people's right and freedom to have an opinion and have a religion. I respect it as a human right. But I DON'T respect their religion itself. I have respect for the ownership of an opinion but extreme disrespect for the opinion itself, if it's a religion with which I disagree. Religion is a very negative force in the world, and I don't respect it, especially Christianity. How can anyone have any respect for such a gloomy and negative religion as Xtianity?
God saves some, damns others. Analogy: If you had 1 million kids, would you love some of them and hate some? Or would you love them all? Or hate them all? As a human mother or father you'd love every one of 'em, and you would not condemn any of them to everlasting pain. Why should God be any different? Aren't we made in his image? An omniscient God would either love all or hate all, not pick and choose. For God to brand you a sinner, to condemn you to Hell as soon as you're born, and to transfer to individuals - generation by generation - the guilt of sin which originated with Adam and Eve's fucking-up in the Garden, is outrageously cruel.
Christianity has survived because it's easy to fall for. The promise of salvation by a perfect man who's a ticket to forever with no pain or sadness is very tempting. The promise to in the end kick your enemies' asses pulls in a lot of suckers as well...One reason humans are suckers for religions is insecurity. Reasons for this insecurity are many. Humans are surrounded by other humans, a hell of a lot of them. Humans live in an often harsh, unfriendly world. They are uncertain of their future, especially how long it will last and how many more days they can wake up and realize there's no such thing as the future. They are afraid of dying.
Gullibility is a salient feature of Christians. Their taste buds are very familiar with the taste of metal and nylon from biting on so many hooks, lines and sinkers. The attitude expressed by William Jennings Bryan is lamentable, but common: "If the Bible had said Jonah had swallowed the whale, I would believe it."
Peer pressure is known to all. But what about another kind of pressure? A relentless form called "parent pressure"? Whether parents apply this pressure with the motive of love or subliminally and unintentionally, it's still a very real pressure. Kids grow up believing what their parents believe, for various reasons. This includes belief in Jesus.
The hymn "Faith Of Our Fathers" relates this dilemma. Faith of our fathers - that's just the problem! Religion as tradition, carried on generation after generation out of respect for one's parents, grandparents or ancestors, makes it more credible and people conclude it must be based on truth.
Instead of religion accepted automatically because a parent accepted it, though, every individual should choose for himself or herself what to believe. Every individual should consult freethought literature, information about other religions, and the opposition viewpoint before deciding on a religion or lack thereof, instead of sliding into a religion by default at a young age without questioning it.
The Gospels' "Sell all you have" passage is a quandary for Christians.
If it's entirely figurative as Christians say it is, then salvation itself is figurative and not necessary. But if it's literal and applies to only that one rich man, then more than one method of salvation exists! The rich man can enter heaven by selling all he has, but everyone else must accept Jesus Christ into his heart as lord and savior...
Christianity is a religion of ritual. Even the act of attending church every Sunday is a ritual. A church is a ritual house in which yet more rituals are practiced. Prayer is a ritual. So is baptism.
Any religion with so much ritual cannot be the one true religion. Ritual is a way of forcing the outward mind to accept what the inward mind thinks it believes. A true religion is kept in the inner mind of peace and acceptance.