.. thoughtful post ..<quoted text>
I think you nailed it here.
But we will never be able to change Christianity towards a more loving religion. It has been tried many times in history. It always ended with these groups being persecuted and murdered. The same with Islam. these religions revolve around a book, you can deviate from the book, but it will always move back to the book. Fundamentalists will not allow anything else.
That is what a book ideology is about. By putting it in an unchanging book, you forever lock people in the same ideas. We see a backlash to more fundamentalist idea right now. After the surge in fundamentalism in American Christianity and them converting lots of Catholics we now see the RCC taking over their practices and organizing indoctrination courses for their own believers.
As more people leave Christianity it will become more fundamentalist and aggressive. It is back to core business. We should not even try to make something civilized out of Christianity. It can not be done. Christianity and Islam are like viral diseases, they can lay low for a while, but then they will break out again.
What we want is people to understand what they are really about. I think Richard Dawkins described it best as memes, or "viruses of the mind". Once people are indoctrinated in it they can no longer think out of the box, as this is surrounded by fear. It is sophisticated mental lock-in. It creates frightened people that feel hated and become aggressive to people rejecting their brainwash, because the brainwash tells them so.
If is fiction, a fantasy, but the human mind is vulnerable to these fantasies in which promises of eternal heavenly existence are combined with fear of damnation for thinking something different.
Best we can do is make people clear it is fantasy, because that is all it is. And it a fantasy that destroys human happiness because it rejects happiness in earthly existence for a fantasy here after world.
.. it seems many Christians do not understand that their religion is the product of political maneuvers by a handful of key characters in the 5th century ..
.. fundamentalism is just another political front that seeks to impose a certain dogma through legislative mandates. It doesn't matter whether it's Muslim or Christian fundamentalism, there's no room for contradictory teaching, tolerance, compassion or understanding ..
.. non-believers or offending parties are regularly dismissed as liars, bigots, anti-Christs or, my personal favorite, the spawn of Satan. Then there's the "no spiritual discernment" allegation ..
.. the fundamentalist movement has infiltrated America's political and legislative process with an agenda so contrary to American precepts that the very nature of their beliefs must be addressed. Mark my word, this religious movement has a theocratic agenda to overthrow all that democracy has contributed to making America great ..