I asked a simple question on a religion discussion board recently...
The OT contains dozens of stories where God commands people to behave in immoral ways. Did God really command people to rape, torture, murder and enslave other people?
I think that's a simple yes or no question.
There appear to be three types of response:
1) Of course He didn't. These are stories of stone age and bronze age people using God as an excuse to justify their behaviour. Every culture has examples of gods like this. God is good and loving and gave us salvation.
2) It's all literally true. The bible is inerrant. God can Command whatever He wants because He is God. He doesn't have to justify it. We are too puny to make judgements about what God does.
3) It's wrong to take verses out of context.
I consider (1) and (2) to be honest views even though I don't agree. But (3) seems dishonest and evasive. On further questioning the people who hold this view refuse to answer the question at all and just refer to the "route to salvation" or quote the sermon on the mount.
I think the people in (3) have a dilemma. They can't give a straight answer because they know it opens up a new argument because they are admitting that parts of the bible are fairy tales and they can't bring themselves to admit it.
They are trying to have their cake and eat it - trying to appease the type (1) and type (2) Christians at the same time. Too afraid to disenfranchise the liberal Christians or the fundamentalists, they try to unify opposing views. They obviously can't admit that their argument justifies torture, rape, slavery and murder because they know those things are wrong.
I almost feel sorry for them.