Evil is as evil does
Via Jack Shedd's Big Contrarian: Steven Weinberg's essay Without God casts a sober look at the conflict – or "tension", as he puts it – between science and religion, and finds that we're slowly losing God (and that that's okay). It's a good read; have at it.
I wanted to highlight the same passage that Shedd did:
[E]ven someone who believes in God can feel that Abraham in the Old Testament was wrong to obey God in agreeing to sacrifice Isaac, and that Adam in Paradise Lost was right to disobey God and follow Eve in eating the apple, so that he could stay with her when she was driven from Eden. The young men who flew airplanes into buildings in the US or exploded bombs in crowds in London or Madrid or Tel Aviv were not just stupid in imagining that these were God’s commands; even thinking that these were His commands, they were evil in obeying them.
This is what I was just writing about in "Would you do it?": An open question to believers: that an evil command is evil, regardless of its source. One of the saddest aspects of religion is the backward logic of starting with the bald-faced assertion "God is good!", and from that, proclaiming that any command attributed to God – any murder, any atrocity, even Old Testament-style butchering of children – must also be good. (Good for the circumstances of the time, as apologists try to argue.)
Whereas even as limited a mind as my own long ago figured out that evil is as evil does. We have to start with the actions, and judge evil/good from there. Is God good or evil? I dunno; that depends on his actions. What'd he do? Let's find out. [opens Bible...] He slaughtered children left and right, and demanded that his followers do more of the same? Then the God of the Bible is evil. Utterly evil. Full stop.
There's nothing as bizarre as a believer making the claim that "anything is permissible" without religious morality. It's with religion that anything is permissible, through the simple utterance "God commanded it". Formalities completed; commence murdering!
PS: An aside to mythological human progenitor and gardener of Eden, good old Adam: You chose your wife over God? I know you've been taking millenia of flak for that, but rest assured that you've got your fans as well. You didn't back down from some cosmic nutcase, and you stood by your fellow human. Bravo! Forget Jesus; you're the hero of the book.