The Christian Gospel has many flaws that betray its origins as a man-made scheme for manipulating people, and one of the more obvious examples is the idea of conditional salvation. People will work harder for something they might achieve than they will for something that’s either guaranteed or impossible, so psychologically it’s a clever tactic to preach a salvation that’s not an automatic given.
Conditional salvation also appeals to a certain selfish vanity that wants to be able to say, “I’ve got it and you don’t, ha ha ha.” People like to feel that they’re part of some elite, exclusive inner circle with awesome special privileges. Granted, in the case of the Gospel, these special privileges don’t really kick in until after you die, but with typically perverse human psychology, that’s actually an advantage—there’s no risk of you finding out those “special privileges” aren’t all they’re hyped up to be.
What’s good as a gimmick for manipulating people, though, is really bad as a divine plan for Eternity, especially on the part of an actual, almighty, loving Father God. Making salvation conditional means making sure that You are going to fail to save at least some percentage of those You’re supposed to love. What would be the point of that? Offering some kind of universal salvation might make people a bit less motivated to try and earn their salvation, but (a) who cares as long as everyone gets saved? and (b) we’re not supposed to be earning our salvation anyway.
The typical response to this observation is to try and suggest that somehow God has no choice, and that some power higher than God is limiting His ability to succeed in saving His own beloved children. The problem with that excuse is that God is supposed to be the only self-existent being, which means that no powers that exist except those which are inherent in His own nature, and those He has created ex nihilo. There can be no power able to force God to fail unless He has created it Himself, or unless His failure to save us is inherent in Who He is.
If we look at the gospel, and the ways God is said to fail to save us, there’s a pattern of manipulation: God’s weaknesses, like conditional salvation, appear just where an unscrupulous charlatan would fine-tune his message in order to exert the maximum amount of influence over his subjects. What is inconsistent and counter-productive when viewed from the perspective of an almighty and loving Creator becomes straightforward and productive when assessed as a ploy to ensnare and exploit the credulous.
This is only a trivial example, but it’s the sort of thing we find consistently in the Gospel message. Theology is designed and improved according to what works best at persuading and motivating people, regardless of the implications. It’s not just that the Gospel has flaws, it’s that the kind of flaws are those that would show up in a manipulative myth fine-tuned by and for propaganda purposes. Some people claim fine tuning is evidence of intelligent design, and while that doesn’t work too well in physics, I have to admit, it’s certainly suggestive in the case of the Gospel itself.