One thing I've never understood about the monotheist religions, and Christianity in particular, is the strange and arbitrary rules under which God apparently operates. Here are a few examples:

1. Apparently somebody decided that "the wages of sin is death", i.e. that people deserve to die for even the most trivial of sins. Who came up with that, and why? Was it God? And if so, why would He be so cruel -- especially considering that He Himself created us and surely knows that it is unreasonable to expect anyone to completely avoid sin?

2. Apparently somebody also decided that I no longer need to be punished for my sins if somebody else dies in my place. Again, who decided that, and does this make sense to anybody? If God wants to forgive my sins, why doesn't He just do it? How does somebody else's death "pay" for my sins?

3. Throughout the Christian religion there is a general theme of the sins of the parents being passed down to their children. Why? Is this fair? Why am I the inheritor of "original sin" just because Adam and Eve did something wrong ages ago? Would an reasonable and loving God judge me by what my ancestors did, "even unto the third and fourth generation" (Exodus 20:5)?

It almost seems that the Gnostics were right, that the God of the Bible is actually just a demigod, operating within the constraints of an unknowable Supreme Creator. In other words, God makes the rules, but Someone Else tells God what rules He can make.