Aah, I hear you, BradK. I was also born in a country and a political system where the Reformed Churches were the predominant ones and with that the whole traditional theology package. As time went by, I could compare Scripture with Confessions and could see the similarites, but also the differences and contrasts between the two. I now know, for instance, that Sola Scriptura is a noble principle and motto, but sadly also a farce in Reformed Tradition. This is overwhelmingly clear by just engaging any traditionalist on some fundamental or uniquely Evangelical/Reformed theological topic; as soon as the tension or even contrast between Scripture and Tradition is pointed out, the machinery of years-long enculturation starts to turn, and Scripture is remolded to fit Tradition. The creativity in formulating arguments to ensure Tradition prevails can be rather spectacular. Once the imposed meanings to texts are shed and Scripture is allowed to speak for itself out of its historical/cultural/narrative milieu, richness bursts open and truly fascinating meanings are unlocked. Traditionalism to a large extent stifles such discovery.
You are so correct that it is difficult to reassess, rethink and reinvent one’s religious constructs; I’ve done that so many times myself. I therefore value dialogue. But dialogue can only be fruitful if all parties have an allegiance to truth in principle. Dialogue is utterly fruitless if the parties involved have made up their minds, have closed their minds and only have a facade of reasonability; what’s the use, then?
Thanks for your comments above.