I know I probably shouldn't get involved, but I cannot resist a discussion on religion and belief
As a Jew, I suppose the question of the existence of God is not as big a deal for me as it is for those from a Christian background. Whereas Christianity has traditionally been defined by belief, Judaism is more defined by action. As long you DO the right thing, there's a substantial leeway in what you can believe. It pretty much boils down that you have to believe that YHWH is the Jewish God and the only God for Jews -- whether you believe YHWH actually exists is pretty much up to your own preference.
I do not believe in a "God" as in a personal, omnipotent Being "in another dimension with voyeuristic intention, well-secluded, seeing all." What I do know, though, is two things:
1.) the world around me, in all its pleasure and pain, arouses in me a sense of awe and wonder.
2.) the practices of my religion, to the degree that I observe them, provide me with structure and purpose for my life, inspiration for right action, and a sense of connectedness to other people past and present and a sense of belonging to something greater than me.
Extrapolated from this -- and influenced by reading of such diverse authors as , Marx, James, Kaplan, Spinoza, Nietzsche, Heschel, etc. -- I say that I believe the following:
1.) Everything that exists is part of a single, organic, internally interrelated totality. We are all connected and dependent upon each other and everything else. We are all in this together and every single person, animal, and thing has its role and place in the system of the functioning and unfolding of the universe.
2.) Existence for its own sake is a joy. Life, despite its pain, is the highest good. That which promotes and sustains life, that which inspires the human mind to work for the qualitative and quantitative betterment of life, that which makes life worth living and human life human -- that is God.
3.) It does not matter whether this God can be said to have any objective existence or is just a projection of the human mind onto the cosmos -- since all things are one, there is no meaningful difference between the two propositions. God is all in our minds, but our minds are part of the stuff of which the universe is made and share in the same miracle of existence that all things enjoys, and so any language that speaks of God as being something separate from nature and humanity is meaningful only because the human mind (which evolved based on the dichotomy of self and other) can't comprehend anything otherwise.
4.) All things are one an all existence is a single organic whole, a system in which all parts must work together. The human mind, though, is (AFAWK now) unique in being self-conscious and believing itself to be a separate individual entity. This individuality masks the fundamental reality that at the bottom line, at the most basic quantum level, all things are of the same one substance. Individuality leads to creativity and reason and emotion and all of the good things of human nature, but it also gives rise to selfishness. This, coupled with the ignorance -- either inadvertant or willful -- of the true reality that all things are one and dependant on one another, allows for choices that are contrary to the harmony of existence, that create strife and turmoil, and works against the promotion of life.
5.) The road to fulfillment then is in action that tends toward harmony with existence and the promotion of life and works against division and discord and the destruction of life.
So, my beliefs would probably get me labelled as "pantheist" or "panentheist" or even "agnostic" or "atheist" but that doesn't really bother me. I'm not hung up on labels. But I do not expect or believe in any intervention from a divine parent figure nor do I pretend to have any clue what awaits us in the undiscovered country from whose bourn no traveler returns -- but to which we all have one-way tickets.
Nevertheless, the awe and wonder I derive from life and the universe and the ethical commitment to the triumph of life that I feel is imperative in the very nature of existence help me find a source of strengh, inspiration, and consolation within myself and other people. The rituals and symbols of my religion help maintain a sense of community and commitment to this ethical ideal and give a structure and support to the rhythm of life.
You could say then that I don't actually believe in "God," but it all depends on what that word is supposed to mean. I think there is a mythic value in religious language and symbolism and so "God-language" can be revaluated to reflect whatever a person's actual belief may be. That's probably why I identify as a Reconsturctionit Jew.
I don't mean this as a debate or as a criticism of anyone, just to show that there is a range of opinions and things need not be either all or nothing. God both does and does not exist.