We cannot think our way to Christ...
Understanding how sacred writings come about must be factored into how we apply them.
Applying Christian teachings in non-Christian ways is at the heart of Churchianity.
What are the fewest degrees of separation we can manage before we connect with Jesus, at least as directly as possible?
To induce fear that eternal damnation awaits those who believe differently is a patently un-Jesus-like thing to do.