I will jump in on the Bible understanding side.
To the dismay of many, it is a mix of literal and symbolic writings.
I believe in the Creation.
But for those “fundies” who it all has to be literal, and think that Creation happened in six 24 hour days, I just point to the books of Daniel and Revelation (anyone of any IQ over room temp would have to agree that there is a whole lot of symbolism in those “beasts.”) and the fact that the Jews of the Gospels often referred to them selves as the “children of Abraham” when he had been dead for almost 2000 years.
This whole “fundie” thing is kind of sad. I have met people who actually believe that Moses came down from the mountain carrying the 10 Commandments in the Old English of the King James Version.
I have to agree Digit in that the OT was written for the Jews. (As separate from the Hebrews. One was a religion, the other a inherited culture.) And that Jesus was a real historical person. In fact there is an very good argument that he was the “perfect Jew.“ And, as such, he fulfilled all the “Messiah” requirements of the OT prophesies.
But in doing so he also opened the “door” to non-Hebrews.
The NT is a mix.
Peter, in spite of his being entrusted with the “keys of the Kingdom” and being the first to experience the fact that non-Hebrews had “received Holy Sprit,” he was clearly interested in the Jews. (BTW, he never even visited Rome. He kept to his comfort zone and preached to Jews in Jerusalem and the very large Hebrew community in Babylon)
He seems to have accepted non-Hebrew converts to Judaism as OK.
(There is an re-occurring, and interesting, reference to “God fearers” in the NT. It appears to refer to non-Hebrew converts to Judaism. Those who saw the logic of a monotheist religion but were not “sons of Abraham.”)
Paul, who is widely considered the one going to the non-Jewish peoples, like any good salesman, concentrated on the “low hanging fruit” and spent his first 2 journeys going first to the Synagogues, which were full of believers in the OT, since Christianity was such a clear progression of the OT teaching.
But Paul is also the one who constantly complains about those who want to stick with the “Old Law.”
It has been replaced.
You can tell he was trained as a lawyer.
His logic is impeccable.
You do not have to be a Jew to be saved.
They had their chance and blew it.
It is open enrollment time now.