Originally Posted by GreaseMonkey
Abraham was tested by God and God provided a sacrificial lamb (mirroring his son's sacrifice). Sounds like he had a plan and was just testing one of his faithful servants. Whom became the father of many nations and, through his lineage was born the savior of the world.
Wiping out cities was something that happened all the time in the OT. It was the culture. Either you warred with other cities or you were taken out. It just so happens that God provided victory to his beloved children in some cases. Other cases he let the Israelites get taken down because they would not turn to him. In either case God used those situations to bring his children closer to him or to bring them back to him.
nstead, it describes a God of violence and cruelty, whose "love" for his subjects is entirely conditional and whose rules are so strict, so harsh, and so cruel that to describe them as love is to sully the very idea of love beyond recognition.
I didn't read any of the references because I'm at work on lunch. I picked up on that paragraph and can see, already, that the author has no clue into the complete, big picture, story of the bible. Just as he claims Fundamentalists pick and choose, so does he.
I accept that God may appear different from OT to NT. I still say that it's the perception of the reader and thier understanding of the biblical story as a whole. I don't have a masters in biblical theology but I have a dear mentor who is. He's studied the bible for 50+ years and litterally is a doctor in biblical studies. He knows what he's talking about and his message is, almost always, that the OT 'harsh' law is God proving to us that we cannot get back to him by our selves and we need Christ's sacrifice to become in right standing (or righteous) in his sight.
I probably won't read through the verses because All You'll tell me is that I'm drinking the cool aid and what I'm saying is based solely in fiction. That and I don't have time to read cherry picked verses from a person who doesn't understand, or won't accept, the big picture of the bible.
I will say one thing. There is a distinct event that happens to start the NT. Jesus being born. Through him the OT laws are satisfied and God may seem more compassionate but only because those that wrote the NT were so blown away by the grace and mercy poured out from the 'selfish' God that they sacrificed thier lives to spread the story.
Edit: Oh, I just read through a part he had in Chronicles where he condems animal Sacrifice. This just proves to me even more that he is probably putting our cultures values and norms on to a culture almost 4,000 years old. You can't do that. Any historian will tell you that.