MM, here's what I honestly don't get.
Why is the belief in Jesus such a vital piece of the puzzle?
I'll grant that we all have our various human failings. Some people, religious or not, have greater success in overcoming them, and likewise others, religious or not find themselves constantly falling short. So, obviously, simply believing in god doesn't actually confer any immunity from "sin".
Most people will feel regret when they fall short. Most, if they do something to hurt another person, intentionally or not, will apologize for it. Most will readily admit to their failings, and will feel feel some sort of guilt. They will repent and strive (with various degrees of success) to do better in the future.
Then there are those whos imply don't give a damn, and live their lives with a "me, me, me" attitude, not dwelling on how they might morally better themselves or who they may have hurt or marginalized in their self-centeredness. Many of these might, indeed, be self-professed Christians, but that's really a whole separate issue.
The point is that it simply makes no sense to me that if god existed, and if Jesus came to free humanity from the wages of sin, god would ONLY look at the religious beliefs a person held and not at their overall attitude toward themselves, others, and how much effort they put into being the best person they could be. Why would repentance only through Christ be the only sort which counted?
Thus it is, in your belief system, that those who go through their lives with any number of really serious "sins" but believe and repent in Jesus are saved, while those whose failings are all but impossible to notice, but who are, nonetheless, penitent and strive to make amends and improve in the future simply because that seems to them the right thing to do, without believing in or needing a "savior" are damned and will suffer in a literal hell for eternity.
Why would this hypothetical god, who made the rules and provided the means to salvation care WHY people repent, atone and strive to lead better lives if he sees that they do it? How is it that a repentant murderer who accepts Christ is saved while someone who repents for saying a harsh word and apologizes to the person directly without any religious belief involved is damned?
Surely, if Jesus came to save us, and god can see into our hearts, etc, this god could just as easily extend this salvation to anyone who made true efforts to live in such a way which would be pleasing to him whether they did it through faith in him or not. If Jesus' sacrifice was meant to save all of mankind, then why is the vast majority of it still hellbound by this rule of faith?
As I said, this simply does not compute with me, and is a major part of why I find myself unable to believe in god as presented by Christianity.