Less than half of Americans consider themselves Christians during the pandemic for the first time ever. I believe the pandemic winnows out the devout Christians from armchair ones abandoning faith out of inconvenience like fair-weather zealots.

Jesus was the ultimate contrarian. Christianity is a catacomb religion in its purest form before it was polluted with cathedrals & churches. Read up on Emperor Julian during the 4-5th century before Constantine. It mirrors our current battle between far-right "evangelical" churches & far-left churches (the rationalists). The radical statement hidden in the New Testament is later found in the Bill of Rights: All "men" are created equal. Jesus proposed a radical view of Judaism which the Jews could not accept because they clung to the old patriarchy. As Jesus said he came to divide and tear down synagogues. Christianity is a dangerous idea in oppressive societies.

Christianity is the most "open source" religion yet allows oppressed people access to spiritual equality if not in the body like the rich. Korean peasants traveled West to bring back the Good News. It was effectively suppressed in Japan recombining with Buddhism. Your reference to Attis is a good example along with Odin & his tree. This Virgin Mary of Guadalupe is a chimera of Tonantzin of the Aztec to hide their Mother deity in the Virgin Mary.

When Christianity started setting tickets to heaven blessed by the Pope during the time of Martin Luther, the people's access to their faith was confiscated. European civilization is particularly bloody with their Vikings & barbarians in positions of Roman power. The 1st thing the pope did when Christianity became a state religion was to start a bloody blitzkrieg to take Jerusalem. This was a way to woo the Muslim women by sword & take what is not theirs because the bible “told” them to go. Muslims never had a jihad against Christians till the modern age to my knowledge. They were too busy cataloging Greek knowledge from scrolls that Vikings probably wiped their bums. Also to my knowledge, the Chinese never tried genocide because of their faith outside borders. It was bad for business. Tibet is free game within borders today. This Western jihad turned into colonialism in the 19th–20th centuries.

Even atheism & agnosticism are as blind and hypocritical as any faith usually based accumulation. As Jesus might have said, find me one religion that doesn't make the road to heaven a toll bridge. Find me a religion that doesn't make Hell so attractive. And you can throw a stone through the church window or university if you do.

Christianity is an over-ripe fruit thousand of years old that few take seriously with communion. And still, most never realize the living seed inside the heart of Jesus. If religion requires reason, only the privilege will be at the pulpits. The poor will remain in the Roman catacombs till we turn humanity upside down as Jesus did. We need a Z-gen Jesus to overthrow the 1st century Jesus because no one wears tunics & togas anymore, but muumuu is still in vogue. I believe the age of Messiahs is over in our interconnected yet cynical age. They last as long as our short attention span. I think even Jesus would have a hard time gathering 12 faithful disciples, but easy to gather a billion distracted & skeptical followers overloaded with I.T.

Thought-provoking read. Thank you.