Christians are nothing more than a group of people working together to do God's work in the world. We still call the Bengals a football team even though they suck. We still call the Pirates a baseball team even though they haven't had a winning season in 20+ years.
Theologically speaking, the line is "sin". Sin separates man from God. God provides man with the opportunity to repent from their sin. Repent is translated as "turn away" from sin and back you are in the good graces of God because all can be forgiven. Since man is imperfect, Christians would be in this constant state of jumping back and forth over the line without ever stopping. In fact, we'd be on the wrong side of the line because we're all so messed up, there's no way any of us is even aware of how much we sin. So you got to the crux of the problem with the old testament. And this is precisely why Jesus and the New Testament is needed to complete the story.
Spoiler alert - JC dies for all of man's sin. The Jesus sacrifice atones for all of our sins and helps us cross into the good graces of God permanently and comfortably through faith in JC. Christians no longer have to concern themselves so much with the line. Good works won't get us into God's kingdom. Only Jesus can.
The Bible story addresses all of your questions. Take it as fact or fiction. However you want to read it is up to you. Either way the logic of the story works out even if you have to read it as sci-fi for your own satisfaction.
If you sin, and continually do so banking on grace and forgiveness? You're not one with Jesus. You may want to be, and think you can be just by asking for forgiveness and proclaiming your beliefs, but you have to live it, not just speak it. Jesus lives in my heart, not on my tongue.
Oh, and, too bad for all the rest of the world's religions, huh? You say only Jesus gets us into heaven, so every Muslim, Jew, etc. are just screwed no matter how good of a life they live? Funny thing is, other religions say the same thing about their Lord. I guess everyone else in the world that are not Christian are just screwed, right? So much so, that we can just bomb the crap out of them, kill them by the millions, but it doesn't really matter since they don't believe in Jesus any how. They just aren't as holy as us Christians so it's fine to invade and bomb their countries - they don't count. (I know you didn't say this, but millions of Christians actually believe this way, including GW Bush, and it just so happens to be completely polar opposite of the teachings of Christ, but don't bother to mind that.)
The Catholic Church not only allowed for pedophiles to exist in their program, but moved them around KNOWING the priest would prey on other kids in their new community. But we are supposed to worship that institution? They knowingly allowed crimes against children to continue - they didn't even take the offenders out of circulation, but instead hid their crimes and moved them to a new place, where the priests were free to rape more children. And they thought Penn State was bad.
I never said that, but you sure like to say those types of things for me. I believe that Jesus died for the sin of man, and I have accepted that gift and am thankful for it. That says nothing of my thoughts on other religions. I'd appreciate it if you didn't attempt to put words in my mouth.
I had a childhood full of church too. I never bought in to it, and for several years I was an outspoken atheist and felt that religion was for the weak and nothing but a power play used to control people. I went down a really lonely and depressing path through my college years. I feel that Jesus then pursued me and offered his love and friendship, and I accepted it. My life has been night and day different over the past 2 years because of that.
I still don't but in to the church culture. I go to church maybe 10 times a year, and only do so when I feel like I want to hear about God's message and the teachings of Jesus. The vast majority of churches I will not set foot in, because I feel they are corrupt and full on people just looking to judge others and try to win some game that doesn't exist.
I think the Bible has been drastically altered throughout history for the sake of controlling people. I read the stories about Jesus to know him better, but I don't think the Bible as it stands in English translations really means all that much.
You can continue to say things in our discussion that aren't true, or you can stop and actually read what Shawn and I have been saying. It's your choice.
Christians are a bunch of f ups. So are you and I. Ok. So what? That doesn't change the attitude and approach we can choose to take in our lives. My life, My choice. Your life, your choice. And who are you to assume others are doing the best they can with what they've been given. I prefer to think everyone's doing the best they can and I'm the one that needs work.
Who is this "nature" that you speak of? How can this "nature" person pre-wire us. How can this "nature" ingrain us with thoughts? Sounds like the same type of made up BS you are saying God is. One could argue both are made up. So if you get to make up "nature" for yourself and call on "nature" to be a guiding influence in the decisions you make in life, then why not let others make up their "God" that they believe is their guiding influence in life?
Sounds to me like DRock and Shawn are open to you having choice to believe in nature, but you seem to have issue with them believing in God.
I get your frustrations. I've had the same ones and continue to from time to time. I'm just suggesting both sides of this argument/discussion have their own set of built up assumptions that are difficult for both sides to strip away.