Quote Originally Posted by TheInterocitor View Post
The Pope is taking lessons from the latest anti-religious sociology textbook, when churches in the US have become activist political "social justice crusaders" and when the 2000-year-old tradition of marriage, the bedrock foundation of the church, has been demolished in the past decade, it's not just my criteria.
I'm speaking of the traditional major world religions as their core teachings are commonly understood, not as any individual on the outside of a religion might see it. I agree that the current Pope has made radical departure from the Catholic tradition; he has done a few very good things (demonstrative frugality and love for the unlovable), and a number of really bad things from a doctrinal standpoint, kind of like a math teacher coming along with great techniques for teaching long division while dismissing the importance of algebra.
The example you raise is one that does indeed express failure in my opinion; I am not Catholic for good reason. But a bad Pope can be replaced; an intelligent and committed Catholic will insist that an individual (and the individuals that chose him) may have failed in a short-term sense, but that the institution has not failed. Your idea is predicated on the assumption that the religions are all wrong; my own is that only most of them are wrong; I will similarly defend the institution I have come to. Riddled with individual folly as it is, the folly is still individual and is condemned by the institutional teaching. The Church is proved right, not because her children do not sin, but because they do, and she predicted that.

Quote Originally Posted by TheInterocitor View Post
These are not the old days and the old ways don't get it in these days. North Korea and Iran, soon Saudi Arabia, are run by psychotic dictators three levels down from the cellar of insanity. In the old days we could just ignore them, we had 3000 miles of ocean between us and the crazies. Soon they could blow up the planet to placate their inner mental maladies. We all need to get on the same page, planetwise.
What a man believes depends upon his philosophy, not upon the clock or the century. You're not showing a grasp of the self-understanding of the religions. Religions generally presume that we are all going to die; and how we do that as not as important as that we do. So from the standpoint of the religions, it is ultimately irrelevant whether we "get on the same page" or not. Either all will submit to Allah, or Yahweh, or Christ will reign supreme, or we will all be absorbed into nothingness, etc, whether the planet is blown up or not.

Quote Originally Posted by TheInterocitor View Post
I was never really comfortable with that postulate. It seems to limit the abilities of a human being, act as a continuous damper on his expression and creativity. I am not a "sinner," nor am I an animal, I am a human being. I don; walk around with a cloud over my head.
When "sin" is defined, it will be shown that you and I are in fact sinners. "Sin" is a radical orientation of the self away from its proper object of focus and adoration (God) towards itself. It is brokenness from God and a tendency toward selfish desires even at the expense of self and others.

You have had evil and selfish thoughts, and committed selfish and evil acts in the course of your life, it is only a matter of your being able to perceive that they are selfish or evil. The worse one is, the less one is able to perceive that. This is why the saints tend to speak about themselves as worse than others: they have a clearer perception of their condition.

If you deny that you have had, and sometines continue to have such thoughts and act on them, I'd refer to the Biblical psalmist, David, who said that all men are liars.

Quote Originally Posted by TheInterocitor View Post
When you use different definitions of the words I am using, it is difficult to understand. When you change the definitions of the words I was using and which I explicitly defined so there would be no mistake as to the meaning of what I was trying to say, communication is impossible.
Hopefully, the definition of sin is clear enough. Selfishness is an undeniable human characteristic, and is eminently provable. "Sin is a fact as practical as potatoes", as GKC said. It is the one Christian doctrine that can really be proven.

As to religion, it is generally man's search for, and answers to, truth, in the certainty that he did not create himself and so was necessarily created, and involves a Creator. I think it sufficient to insist that we stick to the major world religions, to Christianity, Hinduism, Judaism, Islam, and Buddhism (partly more strictly philosophical and less religious than the others). Other religions are too narrow, either too local or too small to have a serious impact on the world in history.