what an interesting discussion.My point on the Bible is that I dont actually think its as bad as we think, I actually have reverence for the Bible. I believe you need to read the Bible under the influence of the right spirit. Though I must say sometimes it does come across as quite condemning , the parts filled with love personally show me that the fear of God is actually respect in that we know he does not like what causes us and others harm.
I do understand your point of view with relation to this, as I used to be heavily religious when I was younger, up to the age of 16 (Iíve also read the Bible numerous times and Iíve studied it in courses, etc). But with all due respect, I believe the Bible is as bad as we think. I'm an atheist now, but the fact that I've studied it so extensively is the reason why I stopped being religious initially - because I couldn't ignore all the atrocities and the contradictions. To quote the brilliant Richard Dawkins:
"The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully."
I know you say he does not like what causes us harm, but yet in full knowledge of what was going to happen, he created a universe that he knew was going to disobey him. Yet, despite this, he created us anyway and gave us a choice to be religious or not... And in turn has killed thousands, perhaps even millions, of good people (the great flood is one prime example) simply for not believing in him. He's sent millions of good people to a fiery pit of eternal torture also simply for not believing in him. He knew all this was going to happen when he created the earth and that he'd have to murder decent people. Why would he do it, then? Sadist! My idea of a perfect God would not be jealous and wouldn't punish good people. The God of the Bible is anything but.