I appreciate your thoughtful comment as well.
List all the wars you say were caused by religion you want. My point was that every time the state tries to stamp out religion, as it did in the USSR and is still trying to do in China, people have been arrested, beaten, robbed of their possessions, watched as their families were split apart and their livelihood destroyed, and even killed. So it doesn’t seem to matter whether religion or no religion is in charge. We still find ways to hate, kill and destroy.
It’s really interesting that you’ve mentioned your belief that Adam and Eve never existed at least three times now. I’ve indicated that it doesn’t really matter whether they literally did or not. What matters is that there is a tendency in the heart of man to understand what is right, but to do wrong anyway. And by the way, the original sin was actually committed by Satan, and the sin was pride. He decided that he really didn’t need God telling him how he should live. So he led a revolt, and for this he and his minions were cast out of heaven.
And that’s an important point. Whether you look at the OT’s 10 commandments or the NT’s 2, the first one is to love God with all your heart, mind and soul. Call that religion if you want, but it’s intensely practical. Without God’s definition of right and wrong, it’s up to man to decide, and we have a hard time agreeing on anything. Some societies see it as OK to murder if you have a good reason, others say it’s never OK. You say you’re against abortion, but not enough that you would actually agree with a law that made it illegal. You say that you would never want to “impose my feelings or morals about these matters on anybody else”. But you do. You also say you are “totally on the side of women on this matter.” So you’re saying you won’t take sides, but you are on the side of women. Francis Schaeffer wrote about the dilemma that we have in our postmodern society. We are grasping at straws to justify our beliefs, but we don’t have anything to base those beliefs on. We have both feet planted firmly in midair.
Have you ever watched the movie Bruce Almighty? Funny, but it made a good point or two. For one, when Bruce had the ability to be god, he didn’t do too well at it. He tried to just grant every prayer request, but it went completely amuck. For another, when he couldn’t make his girl love him without taking away her free will, God (played by Morgan Freeman) said ‘Welcome to my world, son. If you figure that one out, you let me know.’ And one of the things they don’t teach you about Christianity in school is just that. How could God create us with the ability to decide for ourselves, and yet make it so that we would always choose the right and not the wrong? It’s just impossible. It would be like making a one-ended stick.
Satan’s sin is the same, really, as the one portrayed by Adam and Eve – pride. Pride says in effect ‘I exalt no one but myself, and will be subject to no one, because I do not submit to any higher authority. In fact, my authority supersedes yours, so that when we disagree on moral issues, I’m right and you’re wrong.’ Yet even in a secular society, somebody makes up the rules.
Non-Christians all seem to make one comon mistake. They point to the bad behavior of other Christians, and say they want nothing to do with that kind of behavior. But they never really look at what Christ Himself said or did. We Christians are sinners. If we really have submitted ourselves to His Lordship (really that just means acknowledging Him as boss), hopefully our sins will be less frequent and less horrible, but we come to faith in Christ, and we spend the rest of our days on Earth trying to cooperate with Him in making us more right in His eyes, not our own. That we fail and come up short again and again should not reflect badly on the one we claim as our role model. As he himself said in another context, ‘Let the man who is without sin cast the first stone.’
You also tend to make the mistake of lumping all religions together and being against them all. Really, that’s just absurd. There are significant differences, and many of them are mutually exclusive. Read what Jesus said. What He said was wise beyond anything the world had ever heard, and His message continues to be highly relevant, even in today’s far more advanced culture. He uses simple yet vivid illustrations to make his points. In addressing the arrogance and pride of the Pharisees, he said things like “You strain out a gnat and swallow a camel”. And ‘before you try to remove the speck from your neighbor’s eye, first remove the log from your own.’ Or ‘Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as you are.’ Or “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men’s bones and everything unclean.” The Pharisees were the religious leaders of the Hebrew people. Yet Jesus aimed his most harsh criticism at them. He never talked to any person or group so harshly. Apparently he wasn’t very impressed with religion either. And neither am I. Christianity is not a religion. It’s a worldview.
Jesus established a new order. The things He taught did not counteract the teachings of our Old Testament, but they did give us new and fresh ways to understand the meaning of much it. More importantly, Jesus showed us how God wants us to live. He showed us that whenever we think we’re “good”, we’re decieving ourselves. We may be good compared to other people, but in the Kingdom of Heaven, all of our good works would be like filthy rags. Jesus lived his man-life (as God’s son, his life is eternal) as a humble servant. He was tempted but did not sin. Then He humbled himself – even to death on a Roman cross – and in so doing, showed that the opposite of pride is humility, and that humility comes from a heart of love, and that even though with man that kind of sinless life is impossible, with God all things are possible.