// but I also can see that both are very difficult to obtain. In fact, I would go so far as to say that it is impossible to keep all of the law perfectly all of the time.//
Else it would kill the purpose of world being a test. I wouldn’t say it would be impossible… It will happen soon. God is soon to show how perfection could be reached from the depths of sins. If one is a believer, they also believe the perfect law ‘Just Law’ will prevail. For how long will it be; depends on how strong and lasting God lets it.
For an individual basis, how can one define perfection? How can one know the ways to follow a path of perfection? Every action of an individual causes an effect. Negative or positive! You mentioned yourself.
// That is why I rely on Jesus, who was perfect in my place//
To me, Mohammed (PBUH) is the perfect example. Differences are HUGE (in the way both prophets [PBUT] were blessed) yet both taught the same thing. Their views were from different times yet message was the same.
Reason why I say that is also because of the incredible differences in both prophets. Mohammed (PBUH) had a responsibility of deliverance (Quran); and in human history, an example of a perfect HUMAN. Jesus (PBUH) overcomes this condition by being blessed with (upon-
The claim of perfection with Mohammed (PBUH) is so strong that any valid Sunnah (Prophet’s life) mirrors one or the other aspect of Quran (verses).
With the same strength, once a person knows Quran, they can identify the edits, changes and omissions in Sunnah as well as Bible compared to any given truth in any version. Once you compare all versions, you can then come to a common understanding of how it is preached.
// Of course, you would know all about Jesus' sacrifice on the cross as you've been on this forum for some time now.//
That is where my catch comes in as well. I have limited verified knowledge that I can share on topics I don’t know much about. If one has to preach Jesus (PBUH), everyone knows Him (PBUH) differently; according to how they are told.
I know about the event as much as you know. More to that; I believe it was a plot against Jesus (PBUH). Did the event actually take place? Maybe! Was it actually Jesus (PBUH)? I don’t know. Did He (PBUH) die on the cross? I don’t know. Is He alive? Yes. What is the confirmation? Quran speaks of Him (PBUH) not dead but taken up. Is it spiritual or physical? Don’t know. Where is the physical appearance? I don’t know. Did the rock move by itself? I don’t know.
Can I come to a conclusion of the event after the variations I have read based on: by whom, who was used as witness and the way presented in all scriptures? I don’t think so.
I still have not cracked a lot of codes myself. There are things that God has kept hidden for some reason. I don’t question why, I say Thank God – There was a reason to keep some words going and some to be left for the end times. To me, the answer to all such questions can only be given either by God or Jesus (PBUH) upon the second coming.
// but unfortunately, there is no way to know for sure if you're forgiven for everything.//
If you are to be known you are forgiven, you get known. While prophets in their times have informed people who they shall meet in Heaven with them, God already showed us that there are ways a person can know about it and was through a valid source – prophets.
Maybe that is why God left it to be told through prophets. Personally, it kills the charm of life… What would be the suspense in life then? The way I look at it, if it is fair to give a non believer a chance to repent till the last day, it must be fair to test a believer till the time appointed as well.
// And, while we might have the best intentions not to sin and try really hard, I know I still fall into temptation and sin.//
It is in our blood. Our father (Adam) was a sinner. He (PBUH) repented… so let’s just keep following since we realized DNA talks.
// Following the way of the law must be an incredible burden to live under//
I’m going to smile and say… NOP :D
Well, if you had a huge responsibility over your head to serve then yah. You can die of depression serving a majority who will not understand what you say as truth itself has been preached in so many versions already.
For an individual, when you see yourself accept and adapt the righteousness that you investigated into; is when you know you are walking the right path and confidence (trust in learning) backs you up. When you learnt all good and evil around yourself, understood the cause and effects of all, learnt the way out with proper balance; it becomes like a walk in the park.
// So, by the path you described the only way is to really try to remember each and every rule and regulation set forth (and there are many) and try to follow them as best you can, and hope for the best.//
Before I get to that track, I need to make sure of what I am actually following is the right track. Will I be rewarded for how many degrees my child gets or how many days my child learnt something in school that God actually told me to teach my child. Did I investigate into the truth before I teach anything to my child? Did I take that sacrifice of walking the path within evil that brought not just my self but others to light? Can one remember all these rules and regulations at all times? Yes. Just program your mind to do that. Train yourself with TRUTH. If you can not validate it, keep investigating.
If one has to go to such details of refining things, then certainly you see the world as you described as impossible – become possible. Trust me. It is possible. People just need to start looking at things in a united way that is right and not try to put their versions of righteousness and expect unity.
// how do you personally feel that you do with keeping the religious path? Do you ever feel discouraged because you can't keep all of the religious obligations?//
To be very honest, I do not consider myself religious at any extent. This is mainly cause of the point you asked: it is discouraging. If I were to follow religion, then I can not enter any mosque which is not based purely on pity. I can not enter a church that has any sculptures. So I consider myself as a commoner who is trying to figure things out as well. Figuring out what the real obligations are – Starting from scratch.
It saves from going into extent and then getting discouraged; because the expectations were based on doubts. Clearing all doubts can help you make a realistic action plan.