Originally Posted by catbird
Well, I've spent a lot of years dealing seriously with the Christian religion, and agree with a lot of what you say. After so much pursuit there is one problem (of many) that boils to the surface. Christianity and the Bible seem to be about the individual. For example, one reads the Bible by oneself. Also, however one relates to God and the Holy Spirit, it is usually one-on-One.
Actually for hundreds of years, most Jews and Christians were illiterate and the teachings of the Bible, both Testaments, were read out loud. The contents were kept close by the leaders of the congregations (Hebrew priests, rabbis, later, Christian pastors). The followers were fed only what was deemed expedient by their leaders. It was illegal to own a Bible. That is why the book was kept in Latin for so long. The first men that tried to translate the Bible into English were put to death.
The transition from a tribal feeling to recognizing the rights of the individual was a long process, and there is still a tribal feeling in many ways. Putting the needs of the group first before one's own needs is a common continuous thread.
The problem is people are social, we are defined by the company we keep, and we find solace and happiness there. Christianity will never help people as long as it keeps trying to get us alone. But the approach is wrong. The assumption is that we are all alike, we are like each other. We never are, never have been, never will be. But we keep being surprised about that.
Yes, being an individual while still being compelled to fit in, an ever present human problem.
Love withers under constraint; its very essence is liberty. It is compatible neither with envy, jealousy or fear. It is there most pure, perfect and unlimited when its votaries live in confidence, equality and unreserve. -- Shelley
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