—-“What is the overall message of the bible?”—
“If you submit (abandon) your reason, and surrender (abandon) your will to the commands of an evil omnipotent and omniscient fictional character, and imitate the life of another very benevolent and charitable fictional character, that you will find salvation (be saved) in a non existent afterlife, after you die.”
Now scientifically speaking, christianity is reducible to:
1) the eradication of hatred from the human heart.
2) the extension of kinship love to non-kin.
3) the extension of exhaustive forgiveness before punishment, imprisonment, enserfment, enslavement, death, or war.
And this turns out to be the optimum strategy for producing persistent high trust cooperation. It’s just counter intuitive since we evolved very aggressive altruistic punishment.
More than 1/3 if not 1/2 of people are lack the agency both internal and environmental, and or the intelligence, and or the resources to contrive a means of successfully competing in market civilization, when ones self worth and status are determined by by that success.
As such providing an alternative method by which people of limited agency, ability, and resources can develop virtuous behavior, and personal mindfulness, and therefore happiness with their self image, through merely extension of kinship love, forgiveness, and charity is a successful strategy. Moreover, the externalities produced in a market civilization by large numbers of these people constructs the trust necessary for prosperity in a market civilization.
Despite lacking agency, ability, knowledge, education, and resources, people are able to use ‘faith’ and the ‘christian strategy’ to defend against threats to their strategy, their self image, and the good they do to society, are impervious to corruption, to persuasion, to coercion, and to abandonment of that strategy (hence why intelligence agencies love to hire christians).
The problem is that there is an ever declining percentage of the population willing to use this strategy by faith, even if there is an ever expanding population willing to use this strategy if stated as scientifically as I have here.
So while a demand for ‘church’ remains, a demand for the primitivism of semitic underclasses, has been replaced by a demand for the advance reason of european middle classes.
The already devoted are irrelevant. It’s those who are not open to devotion that don’t need a religion of faith, but a religion of reason, that need mindfulness.