In my own ad hoc backward glance of Buddhism and Zen on the Internet since the advent of Netscape (remember that?), I would have to say that the majority of people who become interested in Buddhism are looking for something other than the Judeo-Christian religion; something without dogma and God. In this same group there are agnostics and atheists many of whom put their faith in science and the materialistic view of the universe which has been around for over 300 years. Almost all accept the belief that the Buddha denied the soul or Ātman. This could be interpreted to mean that these same people believe that Buddha did not teach gnosis of the transcendent. If he did this would be akin to Vedanta which is Hinduism, which the Buddha rejected.
I dare say that if one fits into this mold, they will have many rebirths before they even get close to learning what Buddhism is about. It would be better to imagine that the Buddha's teaching is that of a space alien. Imagine that he came here in his flying saucer to rescue stupid human beings, and as much as he dumbed-down his message it was still too recondite for the average knuckle-dragging human to comprehend. There are several Buddhist works which border on being incomprehensible but nevertheless present Buddhism, accurately. Three that come to my mind are the Lankavatara Sutra, Surangama Sutra, and the Awakening of Faith. There are others. But these go to the pith more directly in my estimation.
But more than these discourses of the Buddha what he taught can be boiled down to a spiritual substance such that when you receive it there is blissful light beyond belief. It is overwhelming and, oddly, productive of intelligence. It is aiming to include all things in its field, from a sand flea to the human race. If this were film, we could imagine something akin to Stanley Kubrick's film, 2001: A Space Odyssey. In our film, the monolith would direct human consciousness to this light by putting it through several hundred years of social purifications. Step by step human beings would discover that their universe is highly intelligent which has been waiting a long time for them to mature! They would eventually discover what love is (S., karuna) and also realize that what they thought was love was only fellow feeling in which I can love my child but hate an Arab child.
People who are sympathetic with the teachings of Buddhism have a long way to go before they meet real Buddhism face to face. The are still wallowing in the mud of Judeo-Christian values and scientific materialism. Just look at the history of the Judeo-Christian (and Muslim) faith. Then look at the history of scientific materialism with its wars of annihilation and its nuclear weapons. This is not civilization. It is barbarism propagandized as civilization.