In the thread “the choices we make” I just posted the outrageous suggestion that the crucifixion was only necessary so that we could forgive ourselves. Because God will forgive us anyway and the notion of perfection is a standard raised by man and not God.
Taking this thought to its conclusion we are left with the idea that religion is not for God’s benefit at all!
If Religion was just about worship then perhaps we could justify it as being Godly but it is not. Religion always comes with Modes of conduct, sacrifices and other Godly ideals that, although have good intents result in restrictions and shackles and loss of one freedom or another… You cannot do that, or you must do this!
Why did the Old Testament prophets claim that sacrifices were not acceptable? Because of what they were or because of why they were being performed?
The Pharisees were the epitome of the human ideal of obeying God, but Jesus criticised them for not being human. IOW it was the concept that was at fault.
So perhaps I am not so much a Universalist as a sceptic. Religion is fine, until it starts getting self righteous and believing that it is the religion and not God that saves. What matters is not what we believe, or what rituals and practices we attach to those beliefs, only how it manifests in the rest of our lives. If religion is a positive influence then all for the good, but when religion starts trying to dictate or condemn those who do not agree with the set of beliefs… it loses itself and its reason for being.
Religion should be for God, but in reality it becomes a platform for man to laud it over others.