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<< I find the various religious schools of thought to be arbitrary in what they say is now okay, and what still isn't.
Me too!

My two cents, faith is good, but religion is corrupt. Faith is a spiritual bond with the universe, religion is an institution that promotes its own hierarchy by instilling cultural rules that have to be followed so, according to them, the individual will be on the big guy's good side when they die.
I would suggest that there is a distinction between religion and a religious organization. A religion may be false or true but not corrupt. A religious organization can be corrupt, hypocritical... etc.

Faith doesn't need interpretation by some for the many. It's as personal as eye color and disposition.
I am not sure faith is as diverse as eye color, I am pretty sure it is not as diverse as disposition! However the NT teaches to respect diverse beliefs in such matters as a Sabbath Day, eating meat, and other things. Telling us not to judge one another on such matters.

My belief is that we should live up to the faith that we have. Those that have little, little is expected, those that have been given much much is expected.

As far as the teachings of the church is concerned the NT teaches that we should respect our leaders in full humility and I try to. But those who have the Spirit of Christ also have the Spirit to guide them.

1 John 2:27
As for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him.

John 16:13 But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.

Some religions teach that the power and knowledge rests with hierarchy of the religion even some that go by the name of christian... the NT teaches the power and knowledge rests in the Father the Son and the Holy Spirit. As we abide in Him and HE in us we have access to both... apart from Him we can do nothing.
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