There can be no doubt that the Old Testament is full of what can only be described as atrocities. One count put the death toll of people killed either directly by Yahweh or at his command at over 2 million and that is only the ones that were numbered, not including the massive destruction of Noah's flood, the smiting of Sodom and its sister cities (while saving that "righteous" pig, Lot), the plagues on Egypt, etc.
Add to that all the rules that one faithful Christian I know termed "crazy stuff." All the death sentences for minor infractions like picking up sticks on the sabbath or talking back to your parents, while endorsing things we now consider highly immoral such as slavery, or handing out rewards for crimes such as being forced to marry the woman you raped.
Christians love to sweep these things under the rug and say things like the simplistic and dismissive "But that's the OLD Testament" to the attempt at theological sophistication of "Jesus paid the price, so punishment by blood is no longer necessary."
One can and should point out that - at least according to the four New Testament Gospels - at no time did Jesus himself ever condemn, apologize for, or in any way indicate there was ever anything wrong with the "Old" testament, what he and other Jews call the Law and the Prophets. In fact, he said quite the opposite. In the celebrated sermon on the mount, after the parts everyone likes about blessed are the meek and such, Jesus quite clearly stated that he did not come to abolish the Law or the Prophets but to fulfill them. " For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished." Matthew 5:18 (see Matthew 5:17-20 for the whole thing.) Now, last I checked, the earth hasn't dissapeared yet. But still, many will say what he meant was until his own mission had been fulfilled. That is, it applied until his death and resurrection happened. Really? So, it was especially important to say that, oh, by the way, these things are still in effect for a little while - three years tops - but after that it's a whole new set of rules!
Fine, even if we accept that rather absurd interpretation, my next question is: SO WHAT???
Jesus was not only a devout Jew, he claimed to be the Son of Yahweh who, by his own "word" (aka the Bible), demonstrates that he is, as so eloquently stated by Richard Dawkins in the God Delusion,
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.You can try to justify, equivocate and excuse all you like. You can tell me "who are you to question god," or whatever. But it changes nothing. I cannot escape the conclusion that Yahweh, even if one could convince me he actually existed, is a barbaric and vile deity, unworthy of our love, devotion, worship or praise. I would not expect anyone to praise a bloodthirsty dictator just because his son was somewhat more gentle than he was. Saying "but,that was the Old Testament!" is like saying "That was the OLD DAYS, Grandpa is a much nicer Nazi, now.!" An unrepentant old Nazi is still an evil man, even if he is no longer running a concentration camp. An unrepentant evil deity is still an evil deity, even if he is not currently engaged in ordering his chosen people to steal land from its native inhabitants through a genocidal war of total destruction. But he is apparently still "allowing" souls to be tortured for all eternity. Sure, he set up the system that made their suffering inevitable, but since he's not actively pushing them into hell, we'll let him off the hook, right? You can. But I won't. In fact I am ashamed to admit that I once worshiped Yahweh.
I must also admit to being dumbfounded that many of the Christians making these arguments about god's atrocities all being in the past are of the variety that believe that the book of Revelation is prophetic. Have you read it? It's one of the bloodiest books in the entire bible and the things it says god will do are truly the stuff of nightmares. But he loves you...