You have some good points here that resonate with a problem that I have struggled with for years. Is there anything worth salvaging in the wreckage of religion. As you point out the whole structure of religion based on literal acceptance of some mythic tradition stands in the way of the generally agreed abstract ideals of mindfulness, compassion, and knowledge. Yes, I’m using contemporary terminology that originated from Buddhist thought rather than the Judaic-Christian-Islamic religions. But the reason for my preference is directly relevant without getting into popular, meme culture. If I understand you correctly you are suggesting that Christian religionists should focus on the core abstract ideals of the religion maintaining faith in mercy as the result. Or is it faith in mercy as a reward? Perhaps that faith is the goal? Is the knowledge of mercy the goal? What’s the outcome?
Unfortunately if you remove the literal belief in absurdities from religion there is not much left. And faith itself is a problem as it exists only to force acceptance of absurdities. It almost seems you’re saying to put your faith in faith. Literal belief and fundamentalism in its modern form is the recognition that religions founded on external divinities providing rewards and punishments are nothing without their absurdities. That traditional way of thinking simply cannot adapt.
As a result I would suggest getting rid of faith. It seems to me that the externalized god(s) that requires faith leaves no way for people to internalize mindfulness and knowledge as the foundation for compassion. Isn’t mercy the result of compassion? Shouldn’t we be the source of mercy? Arent these the rational products of knowledge?