A couple weeks back, Nathan posted a comment here
. I had begun to write a response, but didn't have time to finish it up. So I'm going to do that here. A little late I know, but Physics keeps me busy!
That is true, the New Testament is an improvement over the old. As my roommate put it, "The New Testament is after God got on meds.
" Apparently Thomas Jefferson wasn't a big fan of the mass-murdering God either and published an edited version of the Bible known as "The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth
" where he basicly threw out the Old Testament as well as the supernatural parts like the resurrection. He isn't the only one who has attempted to modernize the Bible.
The Bible proclaims to be the word of God and I'd venture to say that most Christians who believe in the divinity of Christ also believe the rest of the Bible to be true, even if not regarded as not as important. Fundamentalists emphasize that *everything* in the Bible is true and must be taken literally. More liberal Christians will tell you the Bible is inspired by the word of God but written by man. So fundamentalists literally believe Noah put to of every animal on a boat and Lot's wife literally turned into a pillar of salt for turning to look at the city of Sodom. Liberal Christians tend to pick and chose. What many atheist writers (such as Richard Dawkins) point out is the picking and choosing pretty much nullifies the Bible as a moral guide. If people simply select what they feel like believing, clearly that decision comes from outside the moral guidelines from the Bible. That begs the question: why then bother to even use the Bible? If you're going to selectively pick what you're going to follow, you could just as easily do this with any book you want.
To come back to your point, Jesus never did away with the laws in the Old Testament. "For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
" (Matthew 5:18-19) There are a few other places in the Bible were the Old Testament is enforced, and also a few places where it isn't. (See the list
Again, if you follow this stuff, you just have to pick and chose--or let someone else pick. My point, the Bible is the Bible, start to finish. If God was
a ruthless psycho, even if just in the beginning, then He's still a ruthless psycho. I won't overlook someone committing genocide and proscribing countless sadistic acts just because they've since changed their ways--not even a God.