Totally new to this forum and only read your commentary on the "Unbeatable Challenge."
As a Christian - I would like to bring up a couple thoughts.
1. I'm interested in the truth - the whole truth and not "winning." My purpose in life is not to destroy atheists or skeptics, but to engage in a search for truth, so this marshaling of a strategy to destroy people of Christian faith (and probably little Biblical understanding) is offensive to me, and I hope shames you a bit to see it from that perspective. Yes... there are Christians who try to beat people down with sin and hellfire and damnation and yes, there are Christians who have a lovey-dovey view of God that is ignorant of God's complex nature, but I ask you seek truth and not simply to destroy people of faith.
Now...Read Hosea 13 All of it. Is it possible that the end of the chapter is connected to the SYMBOL the prophet creates of Israel being like a unborn child too stupid to be born (verse 13)? Is it POSSIBLE? If it is POSSIBLE - then problem solved. It becomes a strong image to be sure, but not a direct command by God.
But let's consider it is a literal statement. First, it doesn't say YHWH says this must happen, only that it will happen. Could it be that this action, taken by the Assyrians in the midst of their godless war, is what will be, but not what God wanted? Is it POSSIBLE? Of course it is. Then, the question is why didn't God stop that, but not why did God want it.
But let's consider it was God's intention.
Let me ask you a question - if you knew you could have prevented the Holocaust by killing the infant Hitler, would you do it? Could you toss that baby on the ground if you KNEW it would prevent horrible suffering by many more later? (Is this the kind of no-win question you love?) Either way you're horrible, right? What if God knew that this nation of Israel was hell-bent on destruction of themselves and others. And though this action seems horrible (of course it does), it will prevent worse atrocities later in history. Can we say with ultimate certainty we know God didn't prevent more carnage through this action (if it is indeed a literal command)? Look at the history of Israel at this point - rich, full of pride, arrogant, cheating, lying, engaging in sacrifices to pagan Gods. If that country continues on its path, who knows what kind of horror they could have committed. Can you say it is not POSSIBLE? Then this action, though hard to stomach, actually was a compassionate act to more people.
We all die. Every one of us. In the big scheme does it really matter if it's when we're 100 years or 50 years or 5 days? God's view is eternity and his desire is that ALL people come to know him. The sad fact is that God watches many - and I believe most - of his creation turn their backs on him.
Let me ask you a no-win question. Would you rather punish a nation severely or let them go in their sin and become even more rancid? You see? Either way you lose, too!
Despite these few examples of troubling episodes (and I'm man enough to say, yes, they do bother), God's ultimate choice was how do I allow these sinful people access to me, a Holy and pure God. The example of Abraham and Isaac is a SYMBOL of God's love for us. Could I take a knife to my child? No. I'm afraid I couldn't do that. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this - while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. He took on the punishment we all deserve, so that we could, through faith in Jesus Christ as the Messiah and Savior, have access to an eternity with God we don't deserve. God willingly sacrificed His own son. Jesus willingly laid down His own life - for us. For me. For you. Would you do that? Do you have that kind of love?
Yes... the Bible is full of examples of imperfect, sinful human beings. There are episodes that I wish God didn't carry out. But I am not the creator of the universe. I trust that we all get "the rest of the story" we will understand, not only the completeness of the Bible, but how history had to unfold. Just like we are complex creatures and the episodes in our lives have multiple reasons and our actions can seem out of line, once we know more and more facts, we can understand and appreciate what happened even if we wish it hadn't gone that way. I don't blame your reaction, but for a people who claim to be so smart and enlightened, it seems to me many of these posts are very thinly thought through.
This ultimately gets to the questions why does God allow suffering at all? And the simple answer to that is (I believe) because love can only be love when it's free to turn away. A people who have no choice but to be loving toward God and others sounds like paradise, but it isn't love. Love needs to have a choice and if you don't think that's true, ask yourself, would you value the love of your spouse if you knew they had no choice but to love you? That they had been paid off or programmed to love you? Would it mean the same thing? I don't think it would. God wants our love and the only way to get love is to give us the freedom to say no (which we do with perplexing regularity). I don't have all the answers. And you and your readers will likely want to smash this reply as more Christian gobbledygook, but I challenge to really read through the Bible with an eye to what God is facing in humanity's constant rejection of him.