It is understandable when reading the Bible, especially the Old Testament, that one may assume God advocates genocide or slavery or other horrible practices. God surely is not such a moral monster so some suggest the biblical writers recorded their own beliefs about God rather than God revealing to them what He was really like. Some believe this makes for less angst as we don’t have to defend God’s actions. But, I have written elsewhere that certain passages may be misunderstood and have plausible explanations proving God is not a moral monster.
God clearly is not like the god of the Jihadists. The God of the Bible turns out to not have anything in common with religious extremists concerning freedom of beliefs, women’s rights, or the killing of women and children. God was a respecter of freedom of beliefs from the very beginning. Otherwise, why would a God who is powerful enough to create not annihilate immediately those who choose evil and oppose God? God’s judgments and declarations of war against other nations were not because of a refusal to worship Him, but because people were involved in despicable immoral acts such as child sacrifice. If such nations existed today where child sacrifices were a ritual, war may be the most humane action.
God allows freedom of belief in this life and it is a fabrication that you will burn in Hell after death for such a choice. Hell, not a translation but a substitution for certain Hebrew and Greek words, is an invention over the centuries to scare people into submission and obedience. Sheol and Gehenna, words translated into the word Hell in the Bible, are not a place of sadistic torturing after death for those who do not choose to worship God during their life on earth. The Bible doesn’t say exactly what happens to those who don’t follow God during their time on earth. The God I know though will invite all after death to join Him. I doubt any reading this or their loved ones will not accept such an invitation.
Women are not to be under the authority of men in the eyes of the God of the Bible. This only encourages dominance on the man’s part and dependence on the woman’s part. God did not create a male-controlled relationship between Adam and Eve in the beginning. Nations thereafter chose to be patriarchal, but God does not simply annihilate people because His desires are not followed. Jesus clearly encouraged equality between the sexes and mutual respect against culture norms. Some religious extremists would rather be dead than advocate for that.
I wrote here that God did not advocate genocide thought certain biblical passages at first reading seem to suggest this. God has always preferred to live in peace. But, corruption had thoroughly infiltrated the Canaan nation that a fresh start may have been more merciful. Was that true also in Noah’s times? ISIS has not existed long enough for an entire culture to buy into their despicable evil actions. God never approved war because a nation believed in other gods as opposed to their Creator. But, Israel like nations today must sometimes take the fight to extremists rather than wait for them to come to our land and blow up innocent people. ISIS doesn’t wage war against our armies who can defend themselves. In such a world thousands of years ago or today, innocent lives cannot always be spared. Israel’s God though can make good on His promise to provide a better place after death for the innocent than subjection to adult evildoers.
Differences between the Israelites’ God and the extremist Islamists’ God is obvious. God has been a respecter of freedom of beliefs from the beginning. God knows freedom is necessary for authentic relationships. God only desires to encourage people to listen to their heart. What is not debatable in the Bible is that God never advocates the torture or beheading of infidels. God never advocates that blasphemers be put to death. God never promises a lustful afterlife at the expense of women. You can blaspheme or not believe in God but how you treat others has consequences.