Thom, Thom, Thom,
Please do us all a favor and stay away from religion. You are so strong on politics, history, science, healthcare, economics, the environment and almost everything else. You seem to have a significant blind spot on religion. It's embarrising the way you twist and turn like pike on the line whenever it comes up. Just walk away from it until you get it straight in your own mind.
So far you have been unsuccessful defending (or even explaining) your position to either side of the issue. This is not a good topic for you. I see no coherance in your position. That is very unusual. Normally you are so reasonable and logical.