Q & R: divine violence thrown like a grenade at me?
Here's the Q:
Just discovered Brian through Red Letter Christian site. Need someone to help me understand the God of the Old Testament (violence, genocide, etc.), how to reconcile Him in my mind and, especially, how do to explain this to nonbelievers who throw that like a grenade at me? I understand them being put off by that God but I have no answer to their questions because, to be honest, they are my own questions.
I'm glad you discovered this site ... and I'm even more glad to be associated with the good people at Red Letter Christians.
The bad news - I can't give your question a lengthy answer here (although if you put "violence" in the search box, you'll find a lot).
The good news - I've written extensively on this subject, especially in four books, listed roughly in order of relevance to your question.
A New Kind of Christianity
Why Did Jesus, Moses, the Buddha, and Mohammed Cross the Road?
Everything Must Change
Secret Message of Jesus
I think you'll find a lot of help in any or all of those books.
I also think you'd enjoy my short-fiction e-book The Girl with the Dove Tattoo, which also grapples with this important issue.
One comment: it's not just the Old Testament. There is a lot of material in the New Testament that also can and has been used to promote a violent view of God. So it's not simply a question of which parts of the Bible we're talking about - but how we interpret all of the Bible. Be assured - you're not alone. Many of us are grappling with this question, and the results are (in my opinion) really exciting and liberating. Among many other benefits - they help us appreciate Jesus more than ever.