I'll preface this by saying that's a very clunky thread title, as I'm not quite sure how to define this yet...
I know religion tends to be a divisive topic on here, and hopefully this will remain civil, but thought I'd share an ongoing experience, if only because I'm finding it interesting. I am not a religious person, never have been. There will always be obstacles to me accepting any notion of deities or divine individuals (of any tradition), and if asked to label myself, I will likely always say atheist. I do not hold the Bible (any version thereof) to be the word of God and I have misgivings a-plenty about mainstream religious belief and religious organisations. Personal opinion is that if you have a belief, it should take the form of a personal relationship rather than dogmatic adherence, and be as free as possible from intermediaries. Personal truth, if you will.
With that out of the way, here's what I'm experiencing. I've always had an interest in the historical Jesus, that is to say the flesh and blood man, what he said, who he said it to and the impact it had, but up until reasonably recently, the religious "gift wrap" has been a barrier my brain just wouldn't cross. In the last few years, I've been discussing the subject with a friend and former housemate who is Christian, usually through most convivial conversations involving food and wine (irony not lost...), which has spurred me to research more about the man, free from the usual "atheist vs Christian" stuff, as that way lies perception bias, entrenched positions and ultimately futility.
Defining exactly where I'm at is hard. I still identify as atheist, but there's definitely been some sort of change in my perception, as without quite knowing what form it's taking, I think I'm carving out my own relationship with Jesus in a personal way that makes sense for me. It's a connection with the human individual of that name rather than any notion of a divine entity, as I don't consider him the son of God, nor do I believe he died for my (or anyone else's) sins, but...something has "clicked". Connection rather than conversion. It's a touch confusing, but in a positive sense.
I'm not about to base my ongoing spiritual(?) journey purely on a discussion in an ABDL community, but I know there's a reasonably significant Christian demographic here, so felt like as good a place as any to open up a bit more, which itself is quite a leap for me. Wondered if it resonated with anyone else?