My problem with moderate theists is the aiding-and-abetting aspect of belief that provides support to morally repugnant “holy" book(s) and their capricious interpretations by institutions and individuals that stem from the many dogmatic bronze-age mythologies as well as medieval thinkers with ulterior motives . None of the attempts to explain away the violence in these books is even remotely satisfying. The best explanation I've heard is, "don't look there." Is violence really the only metaphor, allegory, simile etc. that an all-powerful being can think of to make a point. Somebody needs a better creative writing professor.
Walter Sinnett-Armstrong makes this very point in the essay Overcoming Christianity:
"Still, by calling themselves Christians, they associate themselves with certain institutions and views. That association buttresses those institutions and views by allowing true believers to claim more support than they really have. It would be clearer and better to emphasize the differences between their "spiritual" views and traditional religion. If true religion is as harmful as I think, then we all should want to dissociate ourselves from it."
Let me offer my little allegory in response:
A couple with two young girls wants to go out on Saturday evening for dinner. The both couple's parents are busy so they have to find a babysitter. After several recommendations from friends, they settled on a young lady that came highly recommended from everyone.
The babysitter arrives on Saturday about 6:30 pm at their home and the father of the young couple introduces themselves and the two young girls to the babysitter. After showing the babysitter around the house, the couple hands her a basic list of rules and suggestions for the course of the evening as they walk out the door. They all wave good-bye and nothing more is said. When the babysitter looks down at the list it reads:
1. Don't let the girls go outside the house.
2. Feed them dinner around 7:30 pm.
3. Don't let anyone in the house while we're gone.
4. Put them to bed at 9pm sharp.
5. If they don't want to go to bed, drown them in a bathtub full of water by placing your bare hands around their throats so they and those that witness this holy event will know that you are their lord and master.
6. Don't let any harm come to them.
At first blush, one could argue—even without a Ph. D. in logic—that 5 and 6 seem to be in conflict with one another. Obviously, any babysitter would be confused. What’s that old adage? “Do what your told.” The rules seem simple enough but now the babysitter is faced with what most Republicans would call a moral dilemma: Follow the demands of their employer and drown the two children (the couple is obviously providing jobs to Americans and supporting the economy)—after all, it was written on paper, or second-guess the employer’s wishes, ignore the commands, and risk the chance of losing the job from a job-provider and be left to live out life as a parasitic socialist and worshiping Saul Alinsky in a hippie commune.
Luckily, the babysitter never even considered the options. As the evening progressed and girls being girls, they didn't want to go to bed at 9pm sharp. SpongeBob SquarePants was being shown on Comedy Central and Fox News was carrying Newt Gingrich's speech on child labor so they had vested interest in staying up late. The babysitter simply ignored the couple's rules on basic principle alone and offered to read them Hansel and Gretel as a bedtime story, which was much less incendiary than the moral platitudes of the Gingrich speech.
The evening went without a hitch. But, upon the couples return, the babysitter questioned them about the morally reprehensible list of rules they had handed her prior to their departure. As it turns out, the list was written by their senile great, great, great, grandfather who didn't like kids. Since the entire family thought so much of their ancestor and he went through all the trouble to write the list—it had been in the family forever—they said they didn’t have the heart to write a new one (after all, it was in his handwriting).
The father turned to the babysitter and said with a laugh, “Don't be silly. We just interpret #5 as 'read 'em a bedtime story.'”