"... do religions or rather religious institutions tend to bring the person down, make them realize how lowly they are, and basically guilt-trip them so as to make them in a position where they recognize that they need God to save them from their sorry state?
i can see how this could be structure and process of religious institutions. but i think for me the story is personally is about the created and the Creator, and how the created in trying to find meaning for itself, must go back to the Creator to understand itself. and then because i believe that the Creator loves, it provokes a reaction in us and causes us to want to know Him as well, and understand him.
so do religions bring back down into a sorry state and should they do this?
i am hesitant to make any claims. i do see it as the created must understand who he is and cannot ever mistake himself as the Creator, and hence there must be humility in his response. but maybe i would advocate that instead of telling people you are wicked until you know Christ, i would say it is important to recognize that you are only human and therefore not enough. and in the word human, is implicit all the understandings of what imperfect and selfish beings we are, and why to understand a greater meaning in life and to know to love and what is right, we need to go back to a God who is in a category above and beyond all humans."
"I know. I can never now make any claim unless I have been so seized of its truth that to deny it would be to deny all that is good. Everything else they tell me will have to wait in my box of skepticism until the Lord has allowed me to deal with it in his grace. But until then, I will live my life the best way I know how: loving and free.