Note: This was supposed to be last week's comment. Sorry. Got too busy at work.
Preface: I am Catholic, raised strictly such, but have been leaning outwards for some time now. My husband has found this Oriental philosophy of being one with nature and the center of the universe that fits well with and was influenced by his Aikido training. We have lots of religious discussions, and here is another one.
Another Note: I use "He" because that is how I was raised, but God is neither male nor female so really it should be "IT" or "I AM", which is how I think of Him. The "He" is just force of habit.
One of his biggest gripes about Church dogma, and one I find increasingly hard to justify, is the idea that we are broken individuals. He thinks it's cruel that God, all-knowing and all-seeing, would create us with urges and desires that go against His rules and then punish us for choosing to follow the flesh. He thinks it's insane to believe that an all-powerful God would create us purposefully broken to the point where we needed a savior. He doesn't agree with the theory of Original Sin.
In Original Sin, Man disobeyed God and broke His covenant. Man became imperfect and could no longer mend the rift, so God came down as Jesus to fix the bond. My husband argues that since Man broke the link, Man should be able to fix it, not God, but that is exactly why God became Man, to accomplish this from our point-of-view. The thing is we make and break this connection all the time and it's really all about free will.
That's never quite as harsh as I saw it although there are parts now that I refuse to accept anymore. We aren't really broken; He made us in His image: light and life and love. He gave us free will so that we could choose to love Him in return instead of being forced into always loving Him. The story of the Prodigal Son reflects this idea, that He is happy with those who are continually with Him yet He rejoices when those who had chosen to leave decide to come back. He never does the punishing; we do that to ourselves. His laws are not against nature and our bodily needs--it is good to eat, it is good to have sex, it is good to have pride in ourselves--only when we take those things to the extreme and let them run our lives do they become unlawful. Moderation is fine; obsession is corrosive. And, though it may seem to feel good performing activities contradictory to His will, in time it is noted that those things are quite harmful to everybody. Excessive drunkenness leads to liver problems. Sleeping around leads to STDs, unwanted pregnancies and lowering of women's self-images. Embezzlement leads to imprisonment and reduced standards of living for families involved in the company. Child-abuse leads to greater violence. The list goes on and on and nobody is happy in the end. But if we choose to act properly, kind and caring, then everyone benefits and the world is a better place.