I’ll respond as a “poet”; as that is who I am; or strive to be.
My sort of ‘poet’ is eclectic and creative and open ended, open minded; a lover of possibilities and fresh air.
My take on things:
(but is is only one sauntering and stumbling fool's opinion).
Surround scripture from any culture with this “fresh air” of thoughtful contemplation; and let intuition lead where it will.
So, it follows for me that I read and interpret scripture, literature, science and the unfolding world around me as a fresh-air-poet; I look and listen, breathe it all in and tumble it around and then make up my own mind and that mind of mine interprets it all “poetically”.
You more or less hypothesize above, “If it gets to the point where I am broken, maybe I will be able to accept Jesus, but I don't think so.”
“It’s about Jesus…It’s about hell…and it is also about being …unbroken.” (Manna)
I'd like to clarify/expand on this concern of yours:
“Jesus died for our sins”
Saint Paul/Saul said this; not Jesus.
(Pauls letter to the Corinthians: 1Cor 15:1-4)
It is important for me to differentiate between what Jesus is recorded as saying and what others, like Paul have interpreted.
And Christianity has tended to interpret Jesus through the mind of Paul. And I am not always a fan of Paul.
So for me, your problem is with Paul,
not Jesus. You find it difficult to accept Paul’s take on the Jesus story.
I like those bibles that have the words of Jesus highlighted in red ink, I think it is the King James Version.
Because I was brought up a Catholic, I tend to use the advice of Jesus and I like to read those red quotes occasionally to refresh my knowledge of what he is supposed to have said….and this is when the poet in me kicks in; I interpret the words as I see fit; as my Poet sees fit. (And I do the same for The Bhagavad Gita and the IChing, the Sufi Poets and so on.) ...and the poet in me communicates with the Poet in all of those interesting people/mystics.
But I am a bit of an apostate (one who rejects the religious interpretations of their up-bringing) as for me, it is the only road to freedom of thought and personal responsibility. An apostate rejects the interpretations of others if they feel they ought to.
And there-in lays their freedom. (+ personal responsibility). An apostate strives for Truth when it comes to matters of the Mind. As a scientist you know and understand the importance of this objective attitude and for “fresh-air-Poets”, (like you, I suggest) this attitude saturates all disciplines.
…and as for sin, Judgement Day, Hell and all that stuff, I simply say to my little god (inside of me); “Thy Will be done”.
"If it be your Will" (Leonard Cohen)
But “sin” is such an interesting word, an interesting concept.
The term "sin" is an ancient Greek word for when the archer's arrow missed the bull’s-eye of the target. Therefore, he who masters the bow is without sin.
(This is also the crux of the Hindu poem , The Bhagavad Gita where with Krishna's help, Arjuna learns to "master the bow" of himself).
Their degree of 'sin' was relative to their degree of inaccuracy. And as most archers miss the bull’s-eye most of the time, to “sin” was to be expected.
So, being human, we are all sinners in the sense that we are all expected to fall short of our aims at times.
Therefore Jesus' statement, “your sins are forgiven”, makes perfect sense in this poetical context.
Nowadays we interpret ‘sin’ as a bad thing but, in my opinion, it was never meant to be interpreted as such. It was merely the degree of inaccuracy we achieved while striving for a goal. No big deal, really.
Like you, I am also uncomfortable with the cop-out that states, “Jesus died for our sins”.
I wouldn’t suggest for a minute that “Jesus died for our sins”. I would suggest the poor guy got nailed up because people around him judged him in-accurately. They missed the target (sin). And in that sense he died for/because-of their “sin”-ful inaccuracies, to use their terminology.
But I will say that he died trying to live and preach his own Truth; and by living that way and preaching that message; it cost him his life.
His contemporaries/superiors, were not interested in his perspectives/understandings on how one might be able to connect with their God (Yogic Union or Communion), and they saw him as a threat to their established order of things.
I would argue that Jesus knew the inherent dangers of going against the status quo, and, perhaps foolishly, he did not follow his own sound advice:
“Do not throw your pearls (of wisdom) before swine, lest they trample them (your ideas) into the mud and turn on you to attack.”
You do not have to be a prophet to know many people will attack you if you suggest new ways of understanding/knowing your/their God!
That is still a hot topic.
Maybe Jesus and that character mentioned a few posts above, Pinocchio; you say:
“Like Pinocchio, Leonard seems to struggle with the thought that he deserves his existence as a real boy
That is a valid point you make, Manna. A Brilliant point, really.
Leonard, and maybe Jesus did too. Maybe he wanted to be a 'real boy' too?
…and it follows that maybe manna deserves her existence as a real girl; or to con-temporize things, a real human being, with her own View of her God and the world. I think it is a noble wish and an attainable goal.
I suggest you are on the right track, manna. Think for yourself. Follow your intuition. No pain, no gain, as they say.
But I also suggest you avoid the impulse to “throw your pearls…” before those who are not able or willing to hold that liquid, contemplative, Poetic view. They’ll “do you in” as we say over here in Oz.
Or maybe they just can't play that game of "fresh air thinking". It is too confronting for them. Too hard and fraught with danger, in their eyes. Too uncomfortable; not right for them. And that is their road, of the many roads to Rome.
Your little fears...
Thy Will be done.
I took my 'pearls' "to the pawn shop,
...but that don't make it junk"
MatbellybuttongazerJ (and thanks for the name
"Without light or guide, save that which burned in my heart." San Juan de la Cruz.