Essay:The Problem of Sin
The problem of sin is that there are so many. Why does god care if our cloths are made of a blend of wool and linen?  Why does god care if someone eats a cheeseburger?  Why did he tell the Jews not to eat the fruit of a tree for three years?  And he has a problem with cross-dressers. 
Heart of the Matter
I can understand a god explaining morality to his chosen people. I have no problem with passages like Exodus 20:13-15 which prohibit killing, adultery, and stealing. I have a problem with Gospel of Matthew 5:27-28:
Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.
It is a sin to think about sinning. You know I can live with odd and archaic rules. I won’t like them, but I understand that sometimes rule makers get overzealous. I have a problem with thought crime. If Jesus really said that, it was unconscionable of him. If it wasn’t him, but one of the many authors or editors of the New Testament, then it was even worse because they would would have known it was a lie in addition to saying that thinking something is almost the same as doing it.
I’m curious about how much grief Matthew 5:27-28 has caused. Is there any study or statistic about people who were told, and believed it, that they were bad people because they thought about sining?
It Gets Worse
These rules wouldn’t be so bad if there wasn’t such a huge emphasis on sin. If the Bible, God, or Jesus had said, “it’s wrong to kill, steal, and commit adultery. Don’t do that, you’ll go to hell. If you wear blended fabrics and thinking about committing adultery, I’ll scold you for being naughty.” That, I could understand. But the Bible doesn’t say that. A sin is a sin. Instead it says “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” 
The wages of sin is death.
This is the message I take away from much of the Bible: Think about sinning, die. Wear blended fabrics, die. Do any of the absurd things I have a problem with and die. You are a horrible person because you are imperfect. You are worse than imperfect, your a sinner. You have to believe in me because your are a sinner and if you don’t believe in me I will send you to hell regardless of what you have done.
If you think that this is only an interpretation an atheist could come-up with, then consider this quote from Responses to the Skeptic's Annotated Bible Cruelty Short List
Ultimately, the solution to "cruelty in the Bible" is understanding the just penalty for sin. Romans 6:23 declares that the wages of sin is death. This death is eternal separation from God in the lake of fire (Revelation 20:11-15). Death / eternal destruction is what we all deserve. So, no matter how terrible something on earth is, it is actually less than what we deserve.
I cannot accept this. I’m glad that many Christians reject this as well. Because following this line of reasoning, no one is judged by their actions. Everyone is judged based on what they believe. I mean, the God of the Bible sets up a system where there are literally hundreds of sins, thinking about sinning is a sin, and that sinning is deserving of eternal punishment. Just so people will believe in you.
This wouldn’t be such a problem is some people, like at Conservapedia, didn’t feel the need to enforce God’s laws and punish sin. It’s not enough for say, someone who believes homosexuality is bad to simply not practice homosexuality, but other people can’t practice homosexuality either. The ugly side is people locking gay children out of their own homes leaving them out on the street. Parents calling their kids sluts and whores because they think what the child wears is sinful. Telling children that their friends will go to hell because they believe in a different religion. This is the problem of sin.