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Are Christians in Conflict or Does the Bible Contradict Itself?

Hmm. . I think that title should grab attention. Now, to the topic at hand.

First, I must apologize for my current lack of preparation. I will lookup the data to backup what I'm stating here and need to get more info so that there can be greater discussion and contribution from the community to this topic.

So, here is the gist of my topic:

There are many threads in this forum where people are asking advice about one thing or another. Issues such as homosexuality, permarital sex, and others (which some feel are grevious sexual sins) tend to recieve mass replies of condemnation on the basis of scripture (from the Bible). Now, I'm not saying that Christians should not respond or give their views, but there is a lot of attack on those seen as commiting sexual sins - as if those sins are any more serious than lying or stealing a penny from a jar. In my view, more space should be given to showing (if possible) the repercussions of some actions and less to blasting someone for sinning or considering doing so.

So, the more I read some of these posts, the more my ire is raised against those who would use their religious beliefs as a hammer to beat some person into submission. For those who believe the Word of God embodied in the bible is as true today as when it was written, that there is only one strict interpretation of the Word, I pose this question:

The bible indicates (among other things which I will look up and post later) that slaves should not run away from their masters, women should be seen and not heard, and man should not labour (ie work for pay or personal advancement) on the Sabbath. For the most part, Christians do not agree with these laws (or at least they don't live like they do). So, I ask, why?

Why is it that some things in the bible should be taken literally and others, we can ignore? If I will condemn someone for sexual sin, should I also condemn my ancestors for striving to escape slavery? Why is it that it seems people pick and choose which parts of the bible are relevant to today's life. (Slavery and homosexuality are major examples for those in the USA).

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