When certainty becomes uncertain…
I was raised Catholic, become an agnostic at age 17 and became radically convinced of the truth of Christianity at age 19, mainly thanks to a friend and the writings of C.S. Lewis. I steered clear of Church and the Bible for many years until I was drawn in to evangelical/charismatic circles. I went in deep but fundamentalist neo-Calvinism quickly repelled me to the fringes and towards liberal/historical study of the Bible. My own study and my experiences eventually pushed me away from evangelical Christianity and the Sorry Way The World Is drove me away from theism proper.
Though I don’t like the term I could probably be described as an “Atheist for Jesus” because I deny a personal benevolent deity but I do see the necessity for some non-physical Creative Force.
I think we have a glimpse of Jesus in the canonical Gospels, heavily filtered by early (yes early) Christian experience. I think Paul was an imaginative missionary, out of line with (even ignorant of) Jesus’ own agenda. I think, with Albert Schweitzer, that Jesus was an honest enthusiast who was disappointed at the last: My God, why have you forsaken me. Jesus’ vision of God returning to rule the Earth went unrealised.
Salvation means rescue. It’s not a philosophical answer or a religion or a promise of heaven after death or a new creation in 2000 years: suffering must end for there to be rescue. As we can all see, if we open the newspaper, neither Christianity, nor any other religion can provide this. The question is which ideas and actions can provide rescue and healing to the vulnerable?
I think that Jesus’ way of service to others, love of enemies, is the best we have but Christianity today is unfortunately only tangentially related to Jesus.