ON TOP of all this, the Bible is FILLED with contradictions:
Why would you take any of your morality or beliefs from a book like that?
I'm not meaning to be disrespectful here, just giving my two cents.
Also, I'd like to join the club. The topics of Religion and Secularism greatly intruigue me.
Haha, no, no. It's cool that you wanna share your views. I took a look at some of the "contradictions" on that website. However, some of these seem to be very minor and can hardly be called legitimate contractions. Yes, it is true that the various books of the Bible were written by different people. Look at the "contradiction" where Satan takes Jesus to the temple, for example. The truth is, it doesn't change anything. Both authors wrote about the same thing, but we must remember that these men probably weren't worried so much about the order of places Satan brought Jesus. The order doesn't teach a person anything. The main goal of these authors was to get the message of Jesus across. What was important was the context: how Satan tried to tempt Jesus but failed to cause him to stumble. Plus, read the passage from Luke. He didn't use any words indicating time at all. Perhaps Matthew was more accurate with chronology, but that doesn't remove the context of passage. Also, we need to go back to the original language of the Bible. Sometimes translations brings about variances, those differences are so minor and unimportant that they do not change the ultimate message of the Bible. These cannot be viewed as contradictions that discredit the Bible.
As for the atrocities, yes, there are atrocities in the Bible. As for the sins that the people of God committed, the Bible is in no way supporting those actions. The Bible has stories. Stories have ups, but they also have downs. We must also consider the culture of the people of the time. Although some things were acceptable during a specific era or culture, the Bible does not support these things at all. However, if you read throughout the Bible, one will be able to discern what is right and what is wrong (there are many verses that are very direct about what is right and wrong). If you put the entire Bible together, it all points back to peoples' need of a savior, Jesus. As for God destroying nations, we must recall that those nations were wicked and enemies of his children, Israel. God is just, and he must punish sin. It's just that in the Old Testament his punishment was much more swift and direct. The New Testament is were the new covenant comes in, where the Gentile people are introduced into God's family. If you read the Bible, you will see that the things it does support are morality and righteousness.
And I know you're not trying to be disrespectful.