We are not talking about a man with his finger on the plague button though. We are, at least in theory, talking about an all knowing, all powerful and supposedly compassionate god. I am a lowly mortal and even I can think of a few less violent ways for my will to be done.
Right you can... Now...
The world is a far diffrent place than it used to be, it doesn't matter who, either you, or "god loves rich people" Pat Roberson, are more scientific, informed, and humane.
Prior to the cold war the world was a far more brutal, savage, and violent place. (it still is sometimes) Especally during the pre-classical era. (we could debate the reasons for this, but let's not get off track)
There was no such thing as "human rights" "Common Law" or "shared humanity" that we think of today.
We are talking about a world where crusifixion by the romans was concidered a legal form of execution, not only that, it was concidered as an acceptable method compared to celtic and germanic practices such as filling a wicker statue with injured and defeated enemies and lighting it on fire so that the gods would favor them in the next battle. Let alone the pre-christian Saxon and Goth Tribes who sacrificed the women and children of enemy tribes to the god Tyz. Of course if you defeated the followers of a god in battle, it was also implied that yours was superior.
Brutal world= harsh religion= harsh justice.
As we've grown up as a species, I'd like to think our understanding of god has as well.
Say what you want about the romans, and the later cathloics, but they were a stepping stone forward from what came before, and the enlightenment was a step up from that (but was tainted by colonializim and racisim which was intentionally supported by the science of the day that we know to be bupkiss), then came the industrial age, (and two world wars, yet the horrors yielded a good deal of change) then the atomic age (overshadowed by the threat of Nuclear war, yet also had the civil rights movement) and we are now in the modern age.
Each time we've stepped forward our understanding of god has moved with us, and been reinvented, it's also become more humane as we've become less inhuman to each other. though as always some parts of the world have moved faster than others (Europe & Japan ahead of the US, India, & China, US, India, & China ahead of many places in the middle east, and even the middle east is generally better off than some of the worst parts of south america and africa.)