I don't think it's coincidental that America is pretty much the only free, advanced, civilized western society that still enforces capital punishment (in many states and MOST bible-belt states) and is also home to most of the fundamentalist Christians in the world. American fundamentalist Christianity has created God in their own image. As a friend says, "The practice of our belief and faith is the reflection of our God", and fundamentalists see God as vengeful, hateful, judgmental, and intolerant. The image on our side of the mirror is seen in our religious endeavors, personal interactions, and positions on social and political issues.
The "gospel" of the fundamentalist God is more or less "Love me!...or I'll kill you forever, except you won't die...you'll just live in the torment of the second death." I have a hard time seeing a difference between the fundamentalist God and the serial killer in The Silence of the Lambs - "It puts on the lotion!!!" Seriously. I mean, the fundamentalist God is only satisfied by blood. Innocent blood at that. To the point that he had his own innocent son killed to save the rest of us...essentially from him. It isn't like we were invited to the planning table for this game of life and afterlife. It's all the fundamentalist God's creation. Mind you, in saying this, I'm not advocating for or against the Christian faith, but rather hoping to provoke some thought about it. I AM, however, most certainly and passionately advocating against the American Jesus and the American fundamentalist God.
I'm still rather frequently hit with looks of shock, horror, and dismay, and the "You pick and choose from the bible?!" line whenever I discuss matters of religion, faith, and the bible. As has been my answer for a while now, YES, I do. The question that most often follows is "How do you decide what's true and what isn't?!" My answer is pretty simple. If God is truly good, truly lovable, then I can pretty much discount the parts of the bible that portray God as an asshole or as an entity less decent than me. Why would anyone worship ANY "Supreme Being" that isn't or wasn't a million times better than they are? The OT God does things I could never do in good conscience, makes demands I could never make in good conscience, has faaaar less patience than me, is faaaar less forgiving than I am, is considerably more petty and openly self-centered than I am...and I'm no saint (although not deserving of eternal torment even on my worst day). I mean, dude treated Moses like CRAP. Think about it.
People gotta stop worshiping "the bible". It's a violent book (at least the first two-thirds of it) which conveys a largely violent, compulsive, and petty God. I haven't read the Quran, but I'd have a hard time believing it could be as violent, overall, as our own Old Testament, and I'm a firm believer that if our own New Testament included as much as one single line encouraging believers to kill unbelievers, fundamentalism in America would be less about political militancy and ignorance and more about physical violence. Fundamentalist Christians are THAT committed to the culture, so much so that they don't even really need a Jesus to maintain the culture, because (as I've said before), the culture is their Jesus, their salvation. God can seemingly only speak to them through a collection of books, because that collection becomes the barometer for everything that speaks to them, and the box into which they try to put everyone else. Something's only ok because "the bible" says it's ok. Something's only wrong because "the bible" says it's wrong. The rest of us in America are often held hostage to this form of religious addiction, imbibling, and moral paralysis.
No decent God would require you to be stupid. So stop being stupid. Please.
If I were God, and I were a truly good, truly loving God, I expect I'd be looking down at all the world's religions going "What the...?!"