If you might have an inkling for exploring the relationship between "pain" and religion, I very highly recommend the writings of Riane Eisler (The Chalice and the Blade and Sacred Pleasure). Sacred Pleasure, especially is a masterly book, replete with extraordinary insight and wisdom. I am wondering if you have already made the connection between "pain" and domination and the basic structures of human relationships and society?
The co-opting of Jesus (Yeshua bar Alaha) by the evolving, yet already dominant, human social structures (male) -- from radical, nonviolent and feminist, Rabbi, to Authorized Savior and Judge -- is both stunning and bizarre (well, not really: dead and twisted heroes always make for good copy). It worked, right? Christianity became the primary and dominant social force and the "curator" of Western Civilization. Now weakened as an institution by international and competing forces, it nevertheless is cemented in powerful perspectives, attitudes, and actions (policies). Men continue to dominate women: humans dominate the environment: and violence, or the threat of violence, lurks around every corner.
Ah, but the mystics! Yes! There is a vigorous flow in that underground river... Every religion has birthed its share of mystics (indicating a likewise vigorous essential unity of spirit)... Streams of mystic practice and thought pervades the world: the Tao; yoga, and yogis like Ramakrishna, Yogananda, Aurobindo, Mahatma Gandhi, Anandamayi Ma, Neem Karoli Baba, and Amma; Islam, Sufism and practitioners like Rumi, Hafiz, Kabir, Lal Dal, Irina Tweedie, and Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan; Judaism, the Kabbalah, and Martin Buber and Abraham Joshua Heschel; Buddhism and saints and practitioners like Thich Nhat Hahn, the Dalai Lama, and Pema Chodron; and, of course, Christianity and saints like Hildegard of Bingen, Francis of Assisi, Teresa of Avila, Martin Luther King, Jr., William Stringfellow, Catherine de Hueck Doherty, and Dorothy Day, ...
Inspired by the mystics and saints, countless numbers of human beings have let their light shine in the darkness of domination, exploitation, injustice, and violence. And here's the essential thing: alternatives to domination abound in the minds, hearts, and lives of these Leaders of a New Earth and Spirit! Small groups and intentional communities are the yeast of global transformation, leading inevitably to an approaching tipping point... We are now everywhere: we are where Women are ordained and organizing; we are where a Soup Kitchen opens and the hungry are fed; we are where friends meditate, conversate, and read poetry together; we are where one person or crowds march for science, gun control, and peace; we are where Black Lives Matter; we are where children are free and adored; we are where women are demanding and living equality; we are where LGBTQ lives are equal and cherished; we are where Earth is cherished, honored, and regenerated as our home; and we are where there are circles of prayer, contemplation, gardening, loving, and re-creating the meaning and heart of community... We are Church-Temple-Mosque!
Yeshua bar Alaha (Jesus) is the prophet of our human possibilities and future. Imagine the extraordinary possibilities seeded within the Beatitudes, the Sermon on the Mount, and the stunning revelation of human meaning and purpose as revealed in Jesus' Parable of the Last Judgment: I was hungry and you fed me: whatsoever you do to the least person among you, to every person and to the Earth itself, you do the very same to me! (Matthew 25).
Jesus, Master-Mystic, has given humanity a Tao, a Way, a Gospel meant to guide us in our active participation in the un-folding of divine life on Earth: we are not meant for the exploding shit of violence, cruelty, injustice, and exploitation (the dominator paradigm): but instead, we are meant for beatitude, the natural bliss of awakening into loving and neighborliness... Don't you think so?
What are you going to do with your one precious life? (Mary Oliver)