A loving and just God is indeed strict

Your "10 things about God" (March 28) really warrants a longer reply. But, on point 10, which contrasts a cruel Old Testament God with a loving New Testament God, it is worth noting that Jesus's best-known summary of New Testament religion – "Love Yahweh your God with all your heart and mind and soul and strength … and love your neighbour as yourself" is a direct quote from Moses in the Old Testament.

The heart of religion in both testaments is that of a love relationship between a holy God and an undeserving, and hence deeply privileged, people. If other nations were destroyed at God's command, it was because they worshipped deities to whom love was totally alien, and lived accordingly. God's judgment fell on his own people when they ignored the justice, mercy and compassion that were supposed to be the hallmarks of a people loved by Yahweh. You are right in saying they were severely disciplined. – Andrew Marsay, Johannesburg

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