That’s a really nice and thorough way to explain it, Think; the paragraph explains a great deal and provides opportunities for common ground.
A skeptic might begin by asking who, what, or by how it was deduced that conforming with this particular set of rules and guidelines is any guarantee of Divinity or Divine authenticity, and a skeptic might dispute the premise that one particular religious text is necessary and a prerequisite, or why any particular religious text is needed at all. It could be charged with comparable strength that these, too, are rules and guidelines conceived purely by the minds of human beings with no particular Divine insight.
But instead, what you wrote fits well inside my own worldview; I agree emphatically that hermeneutics, Christian or otherwise, depend in considerable part on understanding the culture, the environment, the current events, the politics, and the pressures and trials of the time and immediate area.
Many a modern Christian salvation allegory is told in terms of a rescuer or guide of some sort. With hopes that you will take this in the spirit intended, Christ can be compared to a firefighter showing a crowd of lost, panicked people the only safe way out of the burning building whose fumes are beginning to overcome them.
From that perspective, in that place and time, there is indeed only one way to safety.
I happen to be in a different endangered building.
Different threats, different floor plan. It’s a consideration of environment that is similar in essence to what you explained above, only broadened to cover more spacetime.
My view is if we take enough steps back to recognize our human limitations, most of the apparent contradictions between faiths go away. Instructions that may be different in their specifics to different groups of people are not contradictory if these groups of people have to navigate different adversities within different floor plans.
If there is any fairly reliable rule that I have found which can distinguish the sincere spiritual seeker or religious person from the self-centered power hog, it is whether that person spends more time talking about the need to improve themselves, individually or as a church – in contrast to spending most of their time talking about how to fix everyone else perceived sins or faults.
Whenever it always seems to be about “those other people,” it’s usually more about obtaining earthly personal power than humble, open-hearted devotion.
And that ingredient is always present on one or both sides of religious conflict.