David Hayward has a cartoon today that gets at the heart of an issue many of us have with the depiction of God in some Biblical stories as well as elsewhere:
We would be horrified if human parents did these things, and yet few seem to reflect on the sort of impression they give of God when they depict God along these lines – the allusions of course being to the story of Noah and the concept of hell.
This was my point in my post about not worshiping a God who is less loving than you are. What we are talking about are human depictions of God. Unless you view God as genuinely morally abhorrent, then you should not attribute to God views or actions that you would consider worthy of condemnation in humans.
That would seem obvious, but to many it isn’t. And of course, the irony is that those who claim to be most beholden to Biblical imagery, and say that any compromise on Biblical authority represents an abandonment of the “one source of objective morality,” then have to bend over backwards to avoid the impression given in Biblical passages such as those in view in the cartoon.
It is better, I think, to acknowledge that whether the images used come from ancient authors or our own time, they will all be by definition inadequate and laden with human shortcomings, and to then do our best to avoid projecting our own narrow perceptions and our worst failings and shortcomings onto God.