I recommend this chapter even to people who hate the bible. Why? Because this goes beyond religion into pure spirituality. Religion can be corrupted and changed but spirituality... is everyone's individual path to divinity; to their higher self. Spirituality is your internal growth towards personal enlightenment and humanity is starting to learn that.
Verse 1 of this chapter tells you the proper understanding of who Yeshua was; not a physical son of God but a spiritual son because that is the ONLY way one could be such. The whole notion of an actual son is lies cooked up by the Roman merger of paganism and Hebrew culture. The Bible says "God is a spirit". A spirit cannot have a physical child. They did this in order to make him more like other pagan mythical gods that were personified and who would have sex with mortals, producing demigods.
On the other hand, both Adam and David were called sons of God in the bible. So when it says "this day have I begotten you" what it means is that God (or someone speaking for him) sees the "image and likeness" of God in that person. Genesis says that God created man in his own image and likeness. However, people wanted to believe that they mirrored their creator. But 1 John 3 shows you that this mirroring was mainly spiritual or figurative.
9 Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.
10 In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.
11 For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.
12 Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother's righteous.
You can toss out the entire NT as simply an example of this parable being flipped. Instead of killing a brother, the NT is about a man sacrificing himself for his brothers (the other children of God). It is an example to FOLLOW meaning that's how we should be, not running around saying "I believe in Jesus so I'm saved." That's 100% garbage. This represents a misunderstanding of what the whole of the bible was trying to save people from. Evil.
The fifth commandment is about obeying your parents so you can have a long life. What is your (metaphoric) heavenly father concerned with that you are expected to obey? It's the law. But the entire law, as many teachers taught it, can be summed up by love. Thou shalt love the Lord they God with all thy heart and all thy soul and all thy might and thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. This is the whole law and the prophets. Paul understood this because he said the law was a schoolmaster. It existed to get people to understand love and DO THAT. If you do that you don't need the bible. It's not a diss of the bible. It is an understanding of progression and completeness. You're not supposed to stay in school your whole life. You're supposed to GRADUATE like a bird leaving the nest. Spiritually, when you have matured into adulthood you should be like your parent and able to have your own children who you also teach well. So when you "train up a child in the way that he should go so that when he gets old he will not depart from it" the result is that now the parent (God) can TRUST you to live on your own. I could argue that's what Adam's test represented; whether or not he could be left alone. Because he failed, guidance was required.
1 John 3 makes this all very simple. It disabuses people of the mistaken notion that they are children of God just because they "believe in Jesus". It says whosoever (not discriminating race, religion, creed, etc) is born of God does not sin. Period. You cannot sin if you have God's spiritual DNA. The word of God is his "Seed". So when the word of God (spirituality) lives in you, it overwrites the corruption of sin. So even though I do not live my life according to what the Israelites believed, I still recognize that the word is already in me and I live a certain way, according to the highest ideals I can fathom, because that is what the seed/word/spirit in me says to do. That is the will and desire of my conscience. And that's why I totally reject Moses's genocide, the corporate theft and pillaging of the Israelites, the sexist patriarchy, etc. etc. The Bible calls the Israelites stiff-necked because they constantly tried to do what they saw the corrupt world doing. And the point is that corruption is "the devil" and so the devil also has a seed that influences people's conscience (mental programming). So if you follow that programming you are a child of the devil (verse 10). And as his child you help to create hell on earth. As a child of God you help to create heaven on earth. Both of these are the choices of free will; the same choices that have existed from the very beginning.
No matter what you or I choose to believe, what I understand is that these biblical characters are related to very real concepts. I don't care what religion a person is, good and evil are universal concepts. So it doesn't matter if one group of people use YHWH to teach about goodness and another people use other names/deities if the concepts they are teaching are connected. To war against them just because they use other names is missing the point of the lessons entirely! And that is itself, Cain killing Abel. Cain and Abel were basically of two different "religions" in a sense. Cain's spirituality was in agriculture and Abel's was in animals. They both believed they were right and God did not give them instructions prior about which was the acceptable offering.
What is the truth? Which one was correct? You may think Abel's was correct but you would be wrong. It wasn't about the offering. It was about the spirit. Cain's offering wasn't accepted because Cain himself wasn't accepted. Cain wasn't accepted because "his own works were evil and his brother's righteous". In other words, let me be perfectly honest. It doesn't matter what your religion is if you are evil. You can be the most pathological zealot for your religion and you can use that to kill people you disagree with just as Cain killed Abel; just as Christians killed Jews and Muslims during the Crusades. They were equally self-destructive because they even killed Christians who dared to have different personal beliefs and would not follow their doctrines.
When Christians took black people as slaves they did damage to those people that extended for hundreds of years and continues to their children's children's children's children. What I'm saying is... everyone makes the mistake of taking all this stuff literally when the object/representation was NEVER the lesson. It wasn't the thing that mattered. Cain chose plants because he loved them. There was nothing wrong with plants or offering them as a sacrifice. You were supposed to sacrifice the thing you loved! For Cain to offer an animal sacrifice would have been a lesser sacrifice FOR HIM. Because what you're also sacrificing, in sacrificing what you love, is a part of yourself!
There was nothing wrong with his individual source of inspiration. Plants are equally part of nature as animals are. If you're not a farmer how are you going to be as inspired by plants as a farmer is? You have to find inspiration in what speaks to you! All of nature speaks! But our affinity towards all of nature is not equal. Cain was bad, not his plants. Muslims who are bad are bad, not their source of inspiration. But if they are corrupt that corruption will show up in their writings, holy or not. If Hebrews are corrupt it will show up in their writings, holy or not. Do you see?
This is why the bible is both good and evil. It is truth. The truth is that the history of all humans contains both good and evil; knowledge and ignorance. I choose to accept both as parts of the whole but I don't have to DO both because I choose the path of goodness/righteousness. I'm able to distinguish good from evil and separate the two. I'm not going to follow the Israelites as if they were perfect or "chosen". That was their hubris and arrogance. And yes, some of that passed into my DNA as well and I am sorry I come off that way. I'm not perfect. But I try to be as good as I can be and I think that's what matters. Being "born of God" is what matters. You can call yourself whatever you want, read whatever you want, learn whatever you want, and specialize in whatever field you want. Spiritually, it's all the same as long as you are GOOD.
If you are dependent on the bible that means someone has to tell you how to love. All of these dos and don'ts... you only need them until you have an understanding of what they represent. If you understand the heart of the law you can apply it anywhere.
When James spoke of pure uncorrupted religion he didn't speak of it in terms of what you believe but rather what you DO. What does your belief cause you to DO!? If you don't do it then you should question how much you believe it. This is why "belief" in Jesus is worthless unless it inspires a change in action/behavior. True belief is about how it changes you. Once you understand all this from the bible it means you have "consumed it". And now it's a part of you. I don't read the bible anymore but I know it and I go back and reference it when talking about biblical things which is why I love biblical questions. But the ultimate love is that I understand it and I don't have to look up all these quotes because I remember them, even if not word for word.
People think there is some kind of magic wand. They believe that they will be reborn physically and go to heaven and they will be cleaned up and magically won't sin anymore. But nowhere in the bible does it ever suggest that such a magic wand exists. You cannot have free will if your choices are externally limited, forcing you to make the right choice. That is something you have to learn and choose to do on your own. That's why those who do it are considered the children of God and those who don't are the children of the devil. Period. It sounds harsh because everyone wants to be loved and accepted. But a parent cannot reward bad behavior without teaching their children that being bad is okay; even beneficial.
So going back to the questions... NO. There was no "God" in the Israelites raping and pillaging. There was no "God" in the decision to take someone else's land or count their women as spoils. There is no God in burning "witches" at the stake. There is no "God" in the Trail of Tears or the enslavement of Africans. There is no "God" in executing people who don't believe you talk to "God". This is no "God" in anything that is bad because "God" literally represents the concept of goodness. This doesn't mean that humans always know what's good and bad. Therefore, they might have thought that God orchestrated a flood or famine because of their superstitious belief in a person who is always in control of everything. This is simply a false belief. So you cannot simply take the entire bible as fact. You have to understand and navigate the humanity of the writers and their recollections (and exaggerations) of their history told from their perspective. And "God" is their inspiration to do better and to promote righteousness and to keep telling these stories and parables and higher standards. Again, "God is a spirit".
24 And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.