I don't think it's a radical misstep on our part to hold God to the same moral standards we ourselves hold, and uphold, amongst ourselves. After all, some people claim that God, as the creative order, is
our absolute moral authority. Is this position defensible? I don't think so. What if God decreed tomorrow that indiscriminate killing is good and compassion is bad? Would anyone really accept these moral precepts? Doubtful. But then again, God is our absolute moral authority, so who are we to question His edicts? Theists could bite the bullet here and reply that it's no coincidence that God hasn't yet decreed such vices. But were He to, few followers would obey. More importantly, why wouldn't they? Because God's edicts just so happen to coincide with what most theists independently value, God or no God. I bet you that if, tomorrow, a disembodied voice boomed from the heavens, instructing its faithful followers to slay their children and rape their neighbors, few would act. Why? Because God was merely the medium through which their independent moral values gained some (wishful) supernatural legitimacy.
No (sufficiently horrid) divine decree would really
override these independent moral values, because they never really derived their legitimacy from God in the first place. These independent values are the products of personal convictions subsequently couched in religious rhetoric--an historically popular way in which to instill values with some (wishful) absolute authority. Now you might be saying: "Hold on. Human history has countless examples of religious believers who gleefully killed in God's name." True. But again, these events likely coincided with furthering the perpetrators' social, political, and economic interests. For these immoral perpetrators, the conviction that "harming others to advance one's interests is morally wrong" was sorely missing from their independent moral values. So if a disembodied voice, or popular text, prescribed edicts that conflicted with their immoral values, they would have probably ignored them, because these sources never really held any authoritative sway over their behavior outside their just so happening to coincide with what the perpetrators really cared about in the first place.
In other words, "God" provides the pretext through which many people, good or bad, wishfully attempt to confer absolute authority upon their passionately held moral values--values whose authority is really independent from God, because God's edicts had no central role in their derivation, unless those edicts just so happened to coincide with what people really cared about a priori, in which case the alleged divine authority is a fortuitous benefit.
Alternatively, of course, groups of people have authored divine texts with the express purpose of gaining this particular benefit.
One last thought: if we want to assign God as the (all-good, all-loving)absolute moral authority, He better exhibit a nature consistent with this attribution. Here's an all too familiar and tragic scenario: a newborn baby comes into the world with congenital intestinal blockage. This baby experiences interminable pain and suffering as her insides literally burst and decay. She lingers on like this for four full days, until at last she expires, spiraling her parents into a devastating depression. Now, it is an epistemic possibility
that God has a morally sufficient reason for permitting this, or for permitting any natural disaster, chronic disease, or congenital defect. But is it plausible
to assume there is such a reason? In other words, do we really have any independent reason to suppose that these tragedies result in some greater compensatory good? I think that if we analyze the situations candidly, and if we employ a little commonsense, it should be readily apparent that we have no plausible reason to believe in the existence of an all-good God in a world riddled with incalculable natural horrors. Indeed, this world is exactly as we'd expect it to be if it were created by a process of pitiless indifference (evolution), rather than an all-good Sky Daddy.