Well first to correct Israel is Near East (in Serbian ar least). What you exposed is lets say agnostic wiew and I respect it. Or even Christian by culture, which I respect also. But rest of this is simplification and generalisation. First of all, since I am getting in touch with people going in Church on regular basis, and that people do believe in Him, and quite avare of basic dogmatic principles of Christianity. That Carpenter is Son of God (there are folk songs about it, after all they could hear it from chants). What we have now if caused more with 50 years of militant atheism, people who went in Church, or who celbrated Slava (btw secon name for it is "Krsno Ime" it is obviously Christian) could lose job. You are older of me and you know it even better. Among Serbs there are people with different level of knowledge about Christianity and with different levle of identifying with it. Before Comunism, those knowledges wer significantly bigger. I could just point you to read few poems folk and artistic alike written in accordance with Chrstian techings. Well, I could also point you on few our films even from comunist times where people reffering Christ as God. Point is peole did not elevate Christ as demi-god, they are more or less avare that He is God. (in their understanding of Christianity).
Concernign preservation of ancient costumes (not believes, since wheather imposed from Church or evoluted from previous, they significantly changed), I do not deny it. I am just against overexaggerations, misunderstandings, confusions, folk etymology and such
unscientific methods. Nothing more.
Ethnogrphy, Linguistics and History are serious thing. I am avare most of people are amateurs in those disciplines. I am also, except for History, but you should allways keep your critcal mind when researching Slavic traditions and history and belief. Last sentenc is for all Slavorumers.