I was born and raised in Sweden. I grew up with "kinda" Christian parents. However, I can't remember ever going to a church except when somebody had died or got married. I couldn't tell you which of the numerous "branches" that they believed in, but that's sort of at the core of my question: why exactly does it matter?
I realize and recognize that it does clearly matter to an enormous amount of people.
I just don't understand why exactly.
Why is it of such importance that other people also believe the exact same set of ancient stories, and interpret them in the same manner, as yourself?
Frankly, as cozy and nice as Christianity can be, I would not feel any sorrow if everyone around me were, instead of Jesus and God, referring to Thor and Oden. In practice, what I like about religion is the concept of unity within a people. Having structure and tradition and recurring events, etc. Some common set of rules which bind a people together and empower it against the outside world.
Note that I'm not saying that peoples should be fighting or going to war to somehow force (or even attempt to convince peacefully) each other about how "they are right". This is also at the core of my world view. I don't understand the futile struggle to travel to Africa (for example) and tell them about our Jesus and God and how they should be living. It's frankly insulting to me. I wish that Christians would never have tried to go on "missions" to "spread the faith", but rather keep it as local as possible.
As somewhat of an "outsider", although still definitely not an Atheist, it seems absurd to me the amount of time, efforts and sorrows are expended arguing and fighting with each other about religions, which can be seen as a metaphor for races, and the belief (no pun intended) that one can "turn" somebody into a Christian (or any other religion, for that matter) by convincing them with arguments. Or that this is meaningful even if it is possible.
I suspect that you will respond:
Well, in so-and-so page of the Bible, Some Person said so-and-so, so that's why we try to spread the gospel!
I don't mean to offend anyone, and I find the Bible fascinating in many ways, but at the end of the day, what's the end goal of trying to spread a religion/faith/world view to people who are fundamentally incompatible and even violently opposed to hearing what some White Christian tells them, since they already have their own views and traditions locally?
I'm truly not "taking any sides". I just wish that Christians in particular would not try to push their faith (which appears to vary wildly between the numerous "branches") onto people who are just as disinterested in "becoming Christians" or "letting Jesus into their lives" as you would be if a Muslim told you to start slaughtering animals according to the Halal method, or told you that you can only go to Heaven/Valhalla if you believe in the Nordic mythology.
I hope that my point is coming across clearly and that it doesn't offend anyone. I'm genuinely trying to understand why it's such an important thing for Christians to promote their, what amounts to, traditions and rites, toward other people.
Even just trying to convince another Christian of a different branch that what they grew up with is "wrong" is an exercise in futility and appears, to me, almost as if the people trying to do so are actively "picking a fight". In either case, that's what inevitably happens when you tell somebody (or imply) that they are wrong and you are right; they just become stubbornly convinced that their way was right all along and that these external people are trying to sell them something which they have zero interest in.
Would it really be out of the question to simply have your branches and churches and do what you wish in there and if somebody shows interest, they can be invited to join, but this isn't some "end goal" or "the overall purpose" of gathering and believing a certain branch of Christianity (or any religion)?