If we're going to debate the existence of gods, we need to think about what sorts of gods we're supposed to be talking about - you can't just leave that question aside as if the answer were obvious. The Christian god, for example, looks positively psychopathic much of the time. What would you do if a god like that really existed?
Creation of Adam
Photo: Marco Brivio/Getty
Usually discussions and debates about the existence of gods don't do much to define what is meant by "god" - either no definition is discussed or a very minimal definition is given. There's value in that approach, but I think that occasionally more attention needs to be paid to what sort of god is being debated.
There are lots of reasons for this, but I'll focus on just one here: there can be significant moral implications to how you address and react to the issue, depending on what sort of god one is discussing. Remember, the end goal for many believers is to encourage worship of and obedience to their god. Is it moral to worship and obey a psychopath?
It is obvious that, to any human standard, God's deeds are psychopathic. The bible is full of examples and only people who don't read the Bible can say the contrary.
Even the reason he gives us for this is clearly psychopathic - he compares us with inanimated pottery.
But it doesn't make God cease to exist. It really terrorizes me. It is just like there was a rapist with a gun pointed to me (worse, it is not a gun, it's eternal torture) unless I accept the fact I am made to be a husband's punchbag, that I stay shut, fake a smile and get along with this, an omnipotent psychopath, so no one can rescue me.
Worshipping and obeying a psychopath may be a practical and necessary choice to go with if you want to avoid torture, but how well would you be able to live with yourself? Would you really want to exist as part of such a system, and indeed as part of the justification for that system?