Great article, George!
So many times we see two people having a conversation, and one will be waiting for the other to finish so that they can say what they are preparing in their mind.
Neither is really listening to the other.
The proper use of the mind is to pay attention. Take in what is being presented, and not to analyse it. That happens automatically. Once your run your own thoughts over what someone else is saying, you're not listening to them, you are listening to yourself.
I'm not a Christian, but I Jesus-smuggle. And Mandela-smuggle. And Plato-smuggle.
Jesus, and many others, had some great advice for living a good life.
I believe in the messages of Jesus, not so much in the stories used to carry those messages.
Jesus spoke about the Good Samaritan, but was he talking about an actual incident? Could one of his listeners do a little detective work, discover the place, the people, the circumstances?
Maybe Jesus made it up on the fly. Doesn't matter. What matters is the message, "Love thy neighbour". In the circumstances of the question that prompted Jesus to tell the story, this was significant.
After Jesus, the wise man was gone, and his followers wanted to spread the word. They became an organisation, and they needed supporters, and they needed something to sell.
So they began selling a pleasant afterlife where things were great. All this supernatural stuff that appealed to people, but the preachers didn't have to provide themselves.
All the prophecies, all the miracles, all the promises, all the theology, they were added in later. The Trinity came from Plotinus when Rome adopted Christianity.
But if you look at what Jesus - rather than those who came after - said, that's where the true gold is.
Jesus-smuggle all you like. You can't go wrong if you stick to what he actually said and leave out the extras.