Years ago The National Post ran a piece on the concept of the "Madrich/a", a type of leader in the secular humanist part of the Jewish community. The madricha interviewed made it very clear that while she was proud to be Jewish, she utterly rejected anything that a believing Jew would recognize as Judaism. She was an atheist, thought the Torah was full of hate and lies and that Judaism was an oppressive patriarchal religion designed by evil men to oppress its followers. It was one of those articles that makes me roll my eyes. This person hates everything that defines Judaism but still wants to be considered a proud Jew. Right.
A week of so later there was a response from a Rav in Toronto who made an interesting point, one that has stayed with me since. The Torah, he opined, is like a mirror. What you see in it is merely a reflection of what is inside of you. If you see love in the Torah, it's because you're a loving person. If you see hatred, it's because of the hatred in your soul. As Chazal often state, kol haposel, b'mumo posel.
As a result, the Rav concluded, he could tell a lot about this madricha and what kind of person she really was inside. It wasn't the Torah that was at fault, rather it was her.
Perhaps this is why different people have such radically different opinions and understandings of the Torah. But if that's the case, what does that say about the folks who have such a negative opinion of it?