I am not a Christian. I don't come from a religious family, but I have friends that have parents like your dad. At some point, they all decided what was right for them--and only them. This is your life. Your life, not theirs--you have to live with what you believe and what is in your heart. At some point your father will be gone. If you've only been believing to please him...what happens when he's gone? Imagine the life and experiences you could never have.
I hope I've helped in some way. I'm sorry this is reviving an old thread but I wanted to help. I hope I did.
Definitely do some research, like reading the Bible, by yourself and make up your own interpretations on the religion. You don't have to follow in your families footsteps. Also, since you're questioning your faith, I'd suggested praying. Even if you're like "Hey, God. I have no idea if you exist or not...but can you help me out? I'm starting to question if you exist, and if you do, I'm afraid of turning away from you...so, a little help please?" Or whatever.
So Yahweh commanding his men to take virgins as war prizes, to kill homosexuals, pagans and rape victims and to tear open pregnant women's bellies and smash their unborn babes against rocks counts for nothing?
Also, that means talking snakes existed at some point.
1.) Could you please cite the verses where these were stated? 2.) Pagans and Christians are equally guilty of killing each other. 3.) Why are you taking the Old Testament so seriously and literally? Science has discredited most of the stories in it, so obviously it is not a factual work; it is simply a collection of stories from an ancient culture. Many other cultures have gory, violent accounts of the ancient times. But do you know what? No one cares. It's like reading a history textbook or a classic piece of literature. The readers think, "Ancient people were barbaric! I"m glad I didn't live back then." Then, they go back to watching Honey Boo Boo or playing Angry Birds.
In short: It really isn't hurting the people of today, so it doesn't amount to much. IF any of what you said was actually stated in the Old Testament, it really has no effect on the people of today. Many people today are atheists or they are modern Christians who focus more on the New Testament anyway, which is nearly the complete opposite of the Old Testament (save for Revelations.)
1) Deuteronomy 20:10-14, Leviticus 20:13, Jeremiah 9:12-15, Deuteronomy 22:23-24, Isaiah 13:15-18. Those aren't even the only verses where the encouragement of these things is listed 2) Name one other religion that's not Judeo-Christian that went out of its way to scour the globe to find other religions and slaughter them. You'll find none. Pagans have been killing each other for thousands of years, true; but you will NOT find such a great number dead in the name of a Pagan god. 3) I'm taking it seriously and literally because people still worship it, regardless of what it really is.
Before I continue with a reply, I would like bring up the concept of culture vs. religion. Many people seem to interchange the two, which is understandable. Culture is unique to a people in a specific part of the world, while religion is international. Religion also tends to be interpreted differently by different cultures. Take Muslims, for instance. Muslims in America or even India are very different from the ones in the Middle East. This is something that needs to be considered when examining events with religious connections.
I did some reading up on these African witch hunts you mentioned and they are indeed extremely barbaric. However, they are mainly focused in countries where magic is still a belief in the culture. The existence of magic is denied by Judeo-Christian denominations in general, so any Christian connections are slim at most. Also, it is said that "Witch-hunts in Africa are often led by relatives seeking the property of the accused victim." [link]
1.) Deuteronomy 20:10-14: With a little research, one could find that this was typical in battles of the day. Woman and children were considered property to the culture of the ancient times, whether they worshiped God or the pagan gods. -Leviticus 20:13: This is not a common practice of Christianity today (although many are anti-gay, which is a problem I have with the Christian faith.) Once again, I bring up the cultural component: Ugandan religious leaders were attempting to pass a "Kill the Gays" bill, but the Vatican shot it down and even lobbied against it. -Jeremiah 9:12-15: I don't understand what this is supposed to be promoting. God's punishing the Israelites for disobeying him, something that seems to happen a lot in the Old Testament. -Deuteronomy 22:23-24: People are stoned to death for an affair. This is a very outlandish punishment, but I have yet to see it practiced in modern culture today. -Isaiah 13:15-18: If you examine the verses surround this passage, it's another passage in which God is punishing sinners for disobedience, not encouraging the Israelites to do such actions.
2.) Radical Islamists have a tendency to do this. Here's a list Wikipedia provided of some of their recent attacks: [link] Once again, the culture vs. religion spiel pops up here. Most radical Muslims come from the Middle East. The Muslims I have known here in a modern culture have been some of the nicest and smartest people that I have ever met. This can be applied to Christianity as well. Also, the only instances of Christians "scouring the globe to find other religions and slaughtering them" occurred with the Crusades between the 11th and 13th centuries.
3) There will always be someone out there who believes in something radically different; that's just how humans are. Whether it's an entire culture or a few people, you aren't going to force them to change their ways. However, in modern cultures such as Canada, England, and America, practicing radical ideas stated in the Old Testament are heavily frowned upon and illegal.
Now, as for the links... I believe I covered the first link in my paragraph regarding witch hunts, since the people mentioned in the article were originally from Democratic Republic of the Congo in Africa.
As for the second link, I was not aware of the Abortion Clinic bombing and would like to thank you for bringing that to my attention. However, I would like to remind you that the authorities intervened due to the fact that this is obviously not acceptable in our culture, as well as the fact that this is not the norm at all.
As for the third link, while it is a tragic story, there are no visible religious ties reported in the article.
To me, it seems like you have something against Christians in general. Like every religion, Christianity has some bad eggs. Since it is the largest religion, it is bound to have more bad eggs than a smaller religion. The reasons for this are usually due to their less scientific culture. In modern cultures, the Old Testament isn't upheld as highly as the New Testament and is widely believed to have more significance as a historical document than as a work of fiction. The few groups that do promote more of the Old Testament's radical values -- such as Westboro Baptist Church -- are hated even by other Christians. Heck, almost all of the Christians I've met either in real life or on the internet are all pro-gay, bi, lesbian, transgender, etc.
If you want a more Catholic view -- which I am a bit more familiar with -- the Old Testament is taught to be purely symbolic, and the passages such as Leviticus are a summary of the laws from the ancient days, and they were "abolished" when Jesus came and fulfilled the New Testament.
Now that I have looked into the matters that you have presented, I can look into your eyes and say that yes, it really isn't affecting us. We live in a more modern culture, since we are both debating this on a non-regulated or censored internet with a computer and/or laptop. If you want to take your issue up with a culture in which the Old Testament and magic appears to be more prominent, perhaps you could present your evidence to them instead.
Honey, I think you're the one getting 'culture' and 'religion' mixed up.
It's culture when the ancient Hebrews do it themselves. It becomes religion when the act is commanded/condoned by God.
As for the part about Christians today not believing in magic as a whole, perhaps you should look up the attempts to ban Dungeons and Dragons, the huge Christian counter-movement against New Age religions like Wicca and neo-Druidism and the Harry Potter book-burnings that frequent southern America.
The entire witch hunt going on today is Christian-driven How you didn't see this, I'll never know.
And yes, I do have a vendetta against Christianity. I've been tormented, teased and taunted by Christians for the majority of my life.