My response (as originally posted on RDnet):
That was a nice, thoughtful article. And I have a suggestion regarding "how such a confusion (can) have occurred". It goes a little something like this:
Christianity isn't, for many (if not most) anything to do with developing as a decent person. It's all about getting into Heaven. It's a game, ultimately, of ultimate greed. The notion of "working on one's relationship with God" is really just a euphemism for "sucking God's cock so He'll keep me out of Hell". Another way to put it would be that it's the metaphysical equivalent of obsequiously sucking up to the boss in the hopes of getting a promotion.
This, incidentally, is another reason I find this shit ridiculous. If there was a God, and it's the kind of God that would reward such lackwit arselicking over genuine inquiry and integrity, I could in no wise bring myself to worship it. By their fruits, after all, shall ye judge them.
Anyway, this is the problem with the whole "eternal reward" basis of a morality. People are inclined to go for the prize. We evolved as social apes, and bribery is pretty much an instinctual part of that social milieu. So if the prize is presented, and there's a judge determining who gets it, humans will try to bribe the judge. Or find other ways to influence the decision.
We're tricky, clever little buggers, humans. We're pretty good at manipulating systems, or at least attempting to. We like to fuck with the rules, or simply ignore them if we think we can get away with it. So what you tend to see, when you hold up "eternal reward", is that people become highly motivated to get that reward, and instinctively try to find any way they can to get it as easily as possible. It's far easier to suck the ineffable cock than to actually consider one's actions and the people you interact with. They don't matter, only the prize matters.
And even if people are minded to pay attention to the rules, and the rules say "the only way you get this prize is by being a really tops person", all it really tends to produce is a sort of braggadocio, an unsavoury strutting about, a display of "look how fucking nice and wonderful I am!" in the hopes that God will be fooled into giving you the prize.
It's a fucking joke, because the motivation isn't to get along with others, and help build and develop a society which is actually really fucking awesome for everybody, because that is something so mind-blowingly fucking cool and I'd really like to live there. It's a simple, selfish, misguided and horrible desire to win an imaginary bauble and laugh for eternity at the fuckers who didn't. It's obscene.
(Edit: such != suck)