There is a lot here. But let me say the following.
I know religion has been, and continues to be applied to manipulating of people.
Religion, however, is not the same thing as a ‘cadre of spirituality’, which is what Jesus Christ ushered in with His teachings. Note that Christianity did not become an organized religion until about 325 AD, almost 300 years after Jesus was crucified, and as I and other Christians believe, was resurrected and ascended back to heaven.
Peter, who became leader of Jesus’ apostles went through the toughest temptation of all of the apostles. No oppression of leadership here, rather the leader shielded those weaker than himself from temptation to which they likely would not have had capacity for recovery. It was Peter that was arrested and almost killed by Herod, not doubting Thomas, a dilly dallying Philip. The leaders shielded everyone else from trouble to the extent they were able. When Saul started persecuting Christians, the Apostles stayed in Judea allowed all other disciples opportunity to resettle wherever else they could build a new life. Does this sound like taking advantage of others to you?
History is clear Jesus was a real person who lived on this earth and was crucified by the Romans. The only point of disagreement is whether He resurrected or not.
All of this being said, let me point out the following:
The evidence for creationism is stronger, more consistent with rationality than the evidence for evolution. Over 6,000 years of documented history of planet earth, not a single animal or plant, or human being has been observed to transform into another physical shape. Over the same number of years, gestation period for a normal human child has remained 9 months. Consider this. For 6,000 years, year in, year out, decade in, decade out it always has taken 9 months to produce a normal child from pregnancy. Where is the evidence for evolution in this scientific fact?
Nobody has produced a Code of Hammurabi that encompasses essence of Moses’ law, which is, “Thou shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and soul, and might.” Absent this, all of the talk about Code of Hammurabi is convenient abstraction from truth. No one in fact has produced the Decalogue given to Moses out of the Code of Hammurabi. Why is it people are so determined not to give credit for our moral and civil codes to the God of the Bible?
Death is evidence that neither we nor animals are merely our bodies. If we only are our bodies, either our existence is a figment of all of our imaginations — the money we spend and the money that enters our bank accounts inclusive — or we have spirit that leaves the body upon death. If we have spirit that leaves the body upon death, an event that turns the body cold and lifeless, we are spiritual beings. Spiritual beings need to take care of their spirits, as such are requiring of spirituality. Enter Jesus with the most profound and credible spirituality system ever introduced to others by a man.
If you count the proportion of total GDP created all over the world by Jesus’ teachings — Churches, Books on Christianity, Christian Music, Christian movies, Christian run schools, hospitals etc. — you probably would end up with no less than 25% of all of the world’s GDP.
By your assertion, a man who created income opportunities for say, 25% of the world’s population was insane. What then do we say about Amazon, Google, Facebook founders? That they are more insane because they only can account for 1% of aggregate world GDP, while Jesus’ teachings rationally generate 25 percent?
If Christianity floundered, are you in a position to create new sources of income for that large proportion of the human race which relies on Jesus’ cadre of spirituality for their livelihoods?
You may argue that Christian organizations exploit. I will not argue this point because Christian organizations do often times mistreat, take advantage of Christians who trust them. That being said, Christian organizations that misbehave merely are bad apples, much like there are bad apple politicians, bad apple CEOs, bad apples in just about everything.
Jesus taught love. Would you desire to live in a world without love? What is insane about a man who teaches that only when we live in love towards one another can society be peaceful and balanced?
Jesus did not teach absence of competition in society. What he taught was winners should not attempt to take all, not turn winning into oppression. Peter, James, and John won the competition between Jesus’ disciples. Check the New Testament, the most notable writers, Peter, James, John, and Paul, with Matthew added to the list as perhaps the fourth most prominent disciple. No other disciple wrote a book of the New Testament. Paul was not part of that competition, earned his place outside of that competition.
Jesus practiced meritocracy, but a meritocracy that does not declare, “because I won, I should keep all, and no one else have anything whatsoever.”
All of Jesus’ disciples became known in different parts of the world. Only those who merited it became authors of books of the New Testament. John knew Jesus better than Peter, wrote the most profound gospel, and three epistles. Peter wrote two epistles. Paul was the most educated, the one who would find writing easiest, wrote a host of epistles. Matthew wrote one gospel. Meritocracy.
I am rational and blessed to be able to call Jesus my Lord and Savior.
I hope you find my response and choice of words consistent with civil responsive discourse.