Hi Logans, and thanks for your kind remarks about my, er, humor. I do what I can when ever I see an opening to weasel in a funny remark.
As to the other stuff, I don't KNOW any of this stuff for a fact, and I'm not really presenting it as fact. I'm presenting it as an informed, educated opinion. I started out my higher education in organic chemistry, switched to particle physics, and - in something of a simple twist of fate - switched again to journalism since I was in radio, TV, and newspaper journalism paying my way through college and I really liked it. But I never gave up my interest in, my insatiable curiosity for science. I can put two and two together with the best of them.
Lessee, yes, you are correct. I totally reject the notion of the ransom. Mainly because of the nature and character of God that would have to be the case in order for the ransom sacrifice to be true. Sacrifice? Even the word is offensive, reeking as it does of primitive men and women dancing around a fire just before they toss an infant into a volcano so that the rains will come (just as they do every year, infant or not). Nope. I can't, won't, don't accept that concept of who and what God is. Why do we need to buy into this primitive concept of God with all the blood and sacrifices and foreskins and horseshit? It is very offensive to the "scientist" part of me. So since I don't buy into the ransom, that means of course I don't buy into the atonement concept, which also means I don't buy into the idea or the reality of original sin. What a beastly idea is this original sin business. Unworthy of God, unworthy.
But we HAD to come from somewhere. Life on this planet had to have a start of some kind. And I believe firmly that life got here via evolution when a smart molecule(s) were released in the warm, shallow seas of this planet by agents of Deity. Which brings me to the second item implicit in your question. Yes, I believe in God, and I believe he/she/it was and is behind the evolutionary motive force of life on this planet - and everywhere else. And I don't really think that any of my speculations have to follow any known pattern of logic. That is a function of the left brain. Strides in physics now are being made via use of the right brain. Think of quantuum physics and you'll know what I mean.
I think we are intellectual babes in the woods here. Look at it this way. We did not progress through four hundred years of the Newtonian/Cartesian Paradigm only to arrive at the unchangeable NOW. We STILL are taking baby steps in our knowledge of cosmology. And spiritually, well. If we still are worshipping a God who has got to see the blood of a wholly innocent and much-loved son before his tender mercies are forthcoming, we've really got a ways to go before we can claim understand the real nature and character of God.
In the end, I do not for a moment believe that, when all is told, there will be any arguments at all between science and religion. None. How could it be otherwise when the God of religion is also the uncaused cause of philosophy and science?
The Bible? Pitch the entire Hebrew scriptures. The gospels? Take 'em with a grain of salt. Written years after the facts they perport to portray by old men who didn't understand The Master when He was standing among them. Read and think about what Jesus was really saying in his parables, and while we're at it, let us not make metaphor of every parable. I don't believe they were meant like that. Jesus was attempting to get across a new concept to intellectually naive fishermen, and tax collectors and whatnot. And he was doing so using language that would not at the same time cook his goose with the Pharisees. Parables. We cleave to His use of God as King, but we forget all about his use of God as Father. The Jews were looking for a King, and when His apostles wrote about Him and His doings they spun the story to make it comport with their expectations. So. You then must sift through what the apostles wrote to tease out the real meaning of Jesus' parables. Paul? Pitch Paul, except for his statement "God is Love." All the rest? Grain of salt.
In fact, I don't believe the bible is necessary for continuing enlargement of the spiritual nature. Jesus clearly said, "The kingdom of heaven is within you." No parable there. Well, if it is, then it is contactable there. And therein lies the entire meaning and goal of spirituality (as opposed to religion): contacting the spirit that lives within and then following the leading of that spirit. And once one begins to follow the leading of the Spirit, He will lead you into all truth.
And we're just getting a start on understanding this. Oh, there have been spiritual geniuses in all ages, most of them anonymous, some not, like Buddha, like Gandhi, St. John of the Cross, Thomas Merton, Krishnamurti, and on and on. But, to me, the answer to enhancing spirituality is not to be found in reading about the spiritual journeys of someone else; it is found in the entreaty to "be still and know." To quiet the chatter of the left brain, and to search for, to grapple for, to grovel for, to find and to know the indwelling spirit which is "closer than your own breath" to you. That to me is spirituality, the real thing. Religion is just a social phenomena. No group of men sitting in conference trading opinions and voting can have any meaning to a truly spiritual person. Let them contend. I have the spirit within saying in its quiet, low voice, "this is the way." And so do you, and so does everyone else. It's just a matter of getting still enough and quiet enough and sincere enough to actually hear the leading of this Cosmic Mind.
I MUST stop. I feel like I've over-answered your question by several orders of magnitude. However, I always learn something when someone asks me why I believe what I believe. It's good to have to stop and think about it and see if I explained myself. Did I?