Why can't God just mind His own business and let us mind ours?
The New Testament (which is directly addressed to Christians) has no commands asking Christians to do anything violent. But if God asked Israel to take violent action in the Old Testament, this means that the Bible sanctions violence by Christians against those who disagree with them!
This is a faulty argument because Israel and the church are two different entities. The biggest error in Biblical interpretation is to confuse Israel and the church.
Specific commands given to Israel do not apply to the church. These commands can be distinguished from general commandments that are applicable to us also using the principles of Biblical interpretation.Keeping this in mind, let's examine the passages that skeptics object to:-
In 1500 BC, God asked Israel to wipe out the Canaanites. Skeptics use this to infer that Christianity is violent. Such a conclusion is absurd, because this instruction was given to Israel, not the church. Moreover, it pertained to a single, specific situation only. In fact, God warned the Israelis not to trouble the Arabs, who were then living in the "East Bank" (see Deuteronomy 2:9-19).
God gave the ancient Israelis a penal code since they were a nation. This included harsh punishments. For instance, adulterers were stoned to death (Deuteronomy 22:22). So, does this mean that Christians should try and stone adulterers to death? No! The church is not a nation, and thus has no penal code! God has asked Christians to obey the laws of their respective nations (Romans 13:1-7). Adultery is against the character of God, and thus is wrong even today, but God is not asking Christians to punish adulterers!
Israel was a theocracy, because God had taken Israel out of Egypt, and brought them to Israel, and they had all agreed to follow Him after seeing the miracles He did (Exodus 19:8). Thus, apostasy was punishable by death (Deuteronomy 17:2-5). So does this mean Christians should kill non-Christians?! No! The church is not a nation, let alone a theocratic nation. The Lord Jesus asked Christians to tell others about him (Matthew 28:19-20), and not retaliate even when harassed (Romans 12:17-21).
Since Israel was a nation, occasional war would be inevitable. There isn't a single nation even today that has taken a conscious decision not to defend itself from other countries. Needless to say, such a situation does not apply to the church. Christians serve in the armed forces of their respective nations and obey all reasonable orders.
Thus the notion that the Bible instigates Christians (like the Koran instigates Muslims) to violence is baseless.
If you intend to debate me on this topic, I expect you to respond to points 2, 3, and 4 and present your ideal ethics code first.