I've been thinking about the dozens and dozens of ala carte Christians out there. It's really a free-for-all these days with the believers. When I was a kid, man, people staying in the lines!
In a way, I'm proud of "them" for being able to put the kibosh on some beliefs that are particularly irksome. Various positions on "THE AFTERLIFE", for instance. Instead of feeling the need to fall in line in the pew, Christians are finding themselves empowered to add to the many options of "What Will Happen After I Die" with their own ideas about where their souls will spend eternity.
It's pretty interesting, actually, that most people no longer subscribe to the fire-and-brimstone Hell any longer. No, the more palatable (and less heat-exhaustive, apparently) and NEW Hell is the Hell and is simply the absence of God. No temperature required. Other Hells seem to be cold and bleak. Others lonely. Others more metaphorical, and, therefore, difficult to put into words, perhaps akin to the spiritual aloneness of despair eternal.
Other points of contention within the Christian spectrum include the literal or figurative transformation of the host during communion, requirements for salvation, leadership within the church itself. You've got your right-wing Fundamentalists and Evangelicals who disagree with their more liberal-minded brethren. You've got your folks who choose to view "reality" as some New Aged Metaphor that is completely difficult to understand, express, much less refute. Various groups interpret scripture one way while others interpret another way. Rituals are carried out in any number of varied ways.
Conceptions of a deity, morality, the role of women in the church, the role or roles the deity or deities play in every day life, the carrying out of various rituals, the value of prayer, the value of confession, symbols and their meaning, family and individual roles within a family, and so many more issues are in the exhaustive list of the disagreements within the various religious groups.
And from these disagreements, there are, literally, hundreds of variations on the theme of Christians, not to mention the other major world religions. These groups are equally in disagreement on various policies, practice, and dogma. It is, in fact, a veritable maelstrom of belief systems out there.
AND, each of these groups believes themselves to be the one, true group. The ones to hold a monopoly on liturgical and sacramental correctness.
And why mention this?
Because debating or discussing with a religious person is FULL of pitfalls because each person one speaks with offers their own perspective of the reality of their belief system. It is simply not possible to refute each and every religious person's ideology individually.
But, if "they" would all go into a room, fight it out, and come out with a single belief system...I could refute it!
But, those of you who disagree with me, you're safe with me. I don't debate. I just like to be ABLE to debate.