And he went up from thence unto Bethel: and as he was going up by the way, there came forth little children out of the city, and mocked him, and said unto him, Go up, thou bald head; go up, thou bald head. And he turned back, and looked on them, and cursed them in the name of the LORD. And there came forth two she bears out of the wood, and tare forty and two children of them.
-2 Kings 2:23-24
The Bible says there is one God in three persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. (Heb 1:8, Act 5:3-4, etc) Often, I see people, even "Christians," praising Jesus, but condemning or scoffing at the God of the Old Testament.
Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.
We need to understand that when God chooses to punish a wicked people, it is justified in every case. For example, God commanded the nation of Israel to exterminate the Amalekites, down to the last man, woman, child, and beast. (1Sam 15:2-3) When scoffers of the Bible mention this commandment of God, they claim how horrible it is that God would allow this, however, when put into the context of the history laid out in Scripture, the Amalekites were a wicked people that plagued God's chosen people for hundreds of years with war and disease! They were also warned to repent and turn from their wicked ways, or face God's judgment. I'm glad I'm not God because I don't think I could be that longsuffering. The Lord allowed an evil people to last MANY generations because:
The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
-2 Peter 3:9
[I]t displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was very angry.
The fact that a man would scoff at God for a decision to wipe out a wicked people shows how completely selfish and ignorant we have become. When a man stands up and says that a decision of God was wrong, he claims that he himself is more righteous than the All-Powerful Living God! That's incredibly arrogant! People are trying to judge God, when God is the only reason we have justice and morality to begin with. God is good and the standard for goodness, and we can't use the standard for goodness to say the standard for goodness is not good. That's nonsense. We need to humble our hearts before All-Mighty God, repent of our sins, and give thanks for the long-suffering He has endured with us and our stupidity.
If you want to believe in a god that is forgiving, but not judging, then you believe in a false god. If you want to believe in a god that is loving, but will not punish sinners, then you believe in a false god. (And because God and Christ are One, you believe in a false christ!)
Did God allow forty-two children to be killed for mocking His prophet? Yes. Why? I don't know, and won't claim to know. Perhaps the Lord knew that wicked generations would arise from these children, causing more suffering and death in later generations, so He decided to stop it before it started. Perhaps they made habit of mocking God and His prophets to tempt His anger. We don't know why God chose to allow this. We only know the children were doing a wicked deed, and they were punished for it.
With that in mind, we know there is an age of accountability spoken of in Scripture, where little children, who have not reached an age of knowledge of good and evil, are not sent to hell upon death. The bear kill 42 "little children," and thus, it is likely that these children didn't understand what they were really saying and who they were saying it to, but they were trained by their society to do and say such things against the prophets of the Lord, so if the children went to heaven when they died, who was God really punishing?
I suspect that God was really punishing the parents for teaching and allowing the mocking of the Lord. However, putting all that aside, I think there is a much more important question to ask:
babies per day in the U.S. alone via abortion, judging God?
When God chooses to punish sin, we don't have a right to question it. Again, God is the standard for right and wrong. To question God's authority over morality would be to claim oneself as a moral authority, which ends in logical fallacy no matter what arguments are made.
(Read "Atheism Can't Justify Morality" here at creationliberty.com for more details)