Christianity, as we have experienced it, is a confusing "hodge podge" of conflicting and irrational doctrines. For that reason the very label "Christian" is almost meaningless. To declare ones self to be a Christian could signify anything in terms of beliefs and behaviors.
To be a realistic follower of Jesus really has nothing at all to do with theology, doctrinal knowledge, or proper acts of worship. All of those things derive from the institutional church, and of course that institution came about centuries after Christ, He knew nothing of church practice with all its requirements and trappings.
The significance of Jesus lies in his moral teaching. Though a Jew by birth, he delivered an astounding message to his followers, a message which did not align with his Jewish heritage. Jesus over threw the Jewish ideas of eye for an eye justice and righteousness by right religious practice. He was the instructor par excellence in a counter intuitive ethics which subverted all the natural tendencies of mankind.
To the extent we reject what Jesus taught his followers during his earthly ministry, we deny and reject Jesus. In that respect most of us probably reject him much more often than we actually embrace him. The church's historical contention that being a follower of Jesus requires accepting church doctrine and practice instead of embracing his ethics is the greatest possible subversion of Jesus.
If we can't show those of other religions the same respect we would like from them, we may claim the label of Christian, but we do so while denying Christ. If our focus is still on eye for an eye justice, then we ignore Jesus and just go on doing what we feel like without regard to what he taught and exemplified.
Church doctrine attempts to summarize human history like this: We are the good people, accepted by God, and destined for eternal bliss. You, however, are the bad people, rejected by God, and on the way to eternal torment. Our divine duty is suppress you any way possible, including killing you, if necessary.
Of course, the church is always in collusion with the secular government in the killing part.
Wars and executions by the state are the church approved way to kill off those who are bad. However, a little personal vigilante killing is also acceptable.
No, it isn't easy to be associated with Jesus. Loving like Jesus is excruciatingly difficult in our culture. The concept of equality that Jesus taught is totally foreign to our normal thinking.
Western civilization is supposed to be an outgrowth of Christian influence. It most certainly is the product of the institutional church and its doctrines. However, most, if not all, aspects of western culture are based on Judaism, not Jesus. Jesus is just too much the religious and ethical revolutionary to be believed and mimicked. The Golden Rule in all its implications is straightforward enough, but it challenges the carnal mind at its very core.