My writing partner, Marc Schooley, addressed this objection to Christianity in a blog series four years ago. Some excerpts:
Let’s take a brief look at the genocidal God objection (GGO) in the light of experience, science, and reason.
As far as I know, no one has direct experience of God committing genocide. I’ve never seen Him do it. I think it’s safe to assume no reader or commenter has either. If the objector is willing to grant the accounts of the Old Testament as historical, I say bravo. Let’s admit them as testimonial evidence. But once they’re admitted, let’s not de-admit them once we move on to other topics.
At any rate, this does not represent direct experience and does not provide a rational foundation by means of direct experience for or against GGO under ESR.
I’m not sure if skeptics understand how much of their professed position they’re giving away by even beginning with this objection. Part 1 overviews some of that.
Perhaps our humanistic culture has influenced us to think that this life is all there is, and any disruption of unfettered pleasure on this earth is an evil. Or, in the case of Christians, this life is somehow the truer, more important life that must be prolonged at all costs. Perhaps North American and European prosperity has blinded us to the true evils on this planet.
In this, we value this life above all else and, in so doing, deny the very God that created us for an eternity with Him. How sin persuades us to exchange the substitute for the genuine article, the schlock novel for a Crime and Punishment, this fleeting realm of degradation and becoming for the realm of never-ending heavenly lights — and we do so all along cursing a holy God openly for acting justly. It’s as if we’re cursing the rehabilitation doctor that denies us our heroin.
Part 2 bases its argument on a particular theology of eternity that I don’t necessarily agree with; that is, it fits into the framework Marc posits very nicely, but it arises from slightly different theological premises than I personally hold. Regardless, it takes what the anti-theist must acquiesce to in order to make the GGO complaint, and claims the ground for the theist case.
…the GGO, as it turns out, is not only not a logical objection, it’s not an objection aimed at the existence of God, the truth of Jesus Christ, or the resurrection. Stunningly, even if correct, the GGO succeeds only in refuting a certain Christian doctrine: the inerrancy of Scripture. If it were true, and in no sense do I grant that it is, the GGO would only demonstrate that Moses — or if the inerrancy of Scripture is false, perhaps several redacted sources — was incorrect in his assessment of the nature of God as it relates to the conquest of Canaan.
Nothing more is demonstrated by the GGO. It does not question the existence of God. It does not provide any rationale for believing the resurrection is not an historical fact. It does not question any major doctrine of Christianity, except biblical inerrancy.
This, too, follows from how much the skeptic must give up of his own skepticism for the sake of this case. It makes clear why I consider the GGO to be a time-waster as objections go, and also why I consider it valid to pursue the complaint from Christian theist premises rather than naturalistic or secular humanist ones. It’s not truly a non-religious skeptic’s complaint, but a religious skeptic’s.
So, why does the skeptic resist God’s will in the matter of life to life translation? … Perhaps because for the skeptic death is indeed the end? Because it’s the bane and evil of mankind, his ever-present sorrow in the midst of joy? If this life is all we have, it seems threatening that God might actually take it away before our allotted three score and ten. It’s not fair, they might be heard saying, that I’m not in charge over life and death — that perhaps there is something wiser with the capability of enforcing its will when it deems it necessary.
In fact, they could be heard saying as much in our comments section not too long ago at all. If the primary complaint against a belief in omniscient, gracious and incorruptible justice is that it’s not fair I’m not its wellspring, I’ve only made a case that I’m definitely not its wellspring. The more vociferous complaints only help to undermine any assertions that humanity is gracious and incorruptible enough to be arbiter of its own destiny.
There are arguments against believing in the Christian God. This is not one of them.