I'm headed to bed so I'm not going to go through and respond to you all in kind as I was thinking I would reading through.
I will say that my direct experience is with the worst kinds of Christians, that do push their faith and judge and outcast you for not meeting their standards of salvation. What makes them worse even still is that they pretend that they are not these types of Christians. On top of that they were firmly evangelical. I spent most of my missions trips running the sound and taking care of the travel sick to avoid street preaching but I did end up in a bible college on track to be come a preacher, which is weird to me still but whatever.
After becoming so conditioned to at least be seen to be accepting of all of these) things, it is hard to see anyone leaning towards something that is so toxic in my own life. As cold hearted as I feel I have become, I do care about people and don't want to just watch them suffer. But everyone finds solace in different places. If it helps them to believe in the cross and all of the other that comes with it, then that's fine. As most of you have said, as long as it isn't being pushed on anyone, what's the harm.
Though, the point that these ideals seem to be running law and nations is what is more deeply problematic. This side of the church is a way to separate what is essentially the same evil, and those who are passively complicit are still complicit. Supporting the beast that eats you.
I find it hard to be around people who allow that willingly into their lives and see that the benefits outweigh the negatives. Humans need community, I get that. Personally, the negatives will always obliviate the positives. Even a lot of people (mostly gays and girls) who I know who were more passively religious had a hard time coping with what the church adds to the mental torment we are already under from the rest of the world.
Religion and spirituality are two vastly different subjects, and when I speak of Christianity I am most definitely referring to modern, mostly American, Republican Christianity unless stated otherwise. I would never judge someone for taking scripture to heart. As a part of my schooling, I basically had to write my own textbook on the bible. There is so much beauty and inspiration contained in ancient works and the bible is no exception. It can be incredibly powerful and inspirational.
I gravitate more towards lyrics.
Well, if it seems to be real, it's illusion
For every moment of truth, there's confusion in life
Love can be seen as the answer, but nobody bleeds for the dancer
And it's on and on
On and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on
They say that life's a carousel
Spinning fast, you've got to ride it well
The world is full of kings and queens
Who blind your eyes and steal your dreams
It's Heaven and Hell, oh well
And they'll tell you black is really white
The moon is just the sun at night
And when you walk in golden halls
You get to keep the gold that falls
It's Heaven and Hell, oh no
And just to needlessly clarify, the infant is me. Am baby.