Radical Rodent left a great comment last night and I found myself writing a response this morning which began with a couple of lines and then ran to a page and a half. If you're not interested in vague theological rambling, then I've also drawn a slightly less profound cartoon for today which you can see below. If you enjoy theological rambling, then excuse what follows for being heavy on the rambling and light on the learning. Though I largely agreed with what she'd said, I didn't know how much I agreed. I've never really tried to consciously write about my atheism, God or my sense of theology in a coherent way. This is probably my first attempt to do just that. The result is that I think I agreed with what Radical Rodent said about God but that's dependent on what we think of when we talk about God.
First of all, I think we'd probably agree that there's a difference between religion and theology. Religion is the localised interpretations of the big questions. There are various religions, each with a claim to being the 'one true religion' based on its age and number of followers. There are other religions which are unpopular, crazy or even parody. What this should tell us is that the human mind has a great capacity for creating myths. In a sense, it's what we're very good at. It's extremely easy for the brain to create something that quickly becomes too complex for our understanding. For example, we need only thing of an extremely large number. It's impossible to exactly comprehend what 3,383,382,383,942 different clowns would look like if they were sitting on each other's shoulders. Even if that were possible, you only have to keep multiplying that number by another big number and the clown could would eventually get too big. Religion is a bit like that. We create something of such logical and lexical complexity that we then spend centuries arguing about the detail when never actually addressing whether the 3,383,382,383,942 different clowns exist.
So, I'm not going to do that because there's nothing I can do to refute all that. It will always come down to an a priori statement that I believe in something that I can't prove. However, I'd qualify that by saying that I certainly don't believe in a God that's a God as presented to use through the human imagination. Here I think I'm agreeing with you. However, I think Stephen Fry might also agree with you. You attack him because you think he hates God because of guilt. I really think that's a small reason for hating God and, besides, I think Fry doesn't hate God. That would presume belief. His question was a hypothetical one and his answer, through small and (perhaps) 'shallow', was merely an on-the-spot answer which we shouldn't turn into something more significant.
All of which comes back down to the question: what God do I believe in? Well, 'God' is a problematic word if we mean a self-conscious entity who lives somehow above/within/around us, observing us and capable of intervening in our business. That 'God' I don't believe exists. However, just because I don't believe in that kind of God, doesn't mean that I don't think that we're without a transcendental authority. Dostoevsky was pithy but he was also wrong when he wrote that 'if God does not exist, everything is permitted'. It's why I'm not convinced by the argument that 'without God there is no sin'. God didn't create sin. Man created sin or, rather, sin was made in us. Sin is part of our psychological makeup in the form of taboos that have existed in our cultures since our earliest ancestors. All cultures have taboos and you don't need a holy text to tell us what we should or should not do.
I believe that the universe is guided by simple laws of nature which, when combined in their multiple millions, produce something that is extremely complex. So complex, indeed, that it begins to resemble what we think of as God. If God is that manyfold expression of simple rules, then I would accept the existence of a 'God'. But that God is not self-conscious or in any way in our image. It is simply the very form of the universe itself which is forever beyond our comprehension. We are simply in awe of its majesty and that, I think, is the only true religious position to take.
It also, I would add, provides a framework by which we can assert a kind of morality. If I understood it more than I do, I'd probably be a fan of some kind of logicism of in which everything from maths to morality is reduced to simple logic. What I tend to believe is that time moves forward and matter has a tendency towards entropy. If the Big Bang was an act of creation and the heat death of the universe one of destruction, then nature has in itself a kind of moral code. Things which tend towards disassembling the universe are bad. Things that maintain or create structure are good. That's pretty much how I view the world around me.
We should be encouraged to create, to retain history, and to be positive towards our fellow human beings. Wars are always bad but sometimes necessary if they save us from greater ruin. Anything that restricts our freedom is bad but, at the same time, certain types of freedom can do us greater harm and we should guard ourselves against them. Compassion is also good because it produces civil society and holds back the forces that would threaten to tear us apart. In all, I think it's not that different to a religious morality but without all the hokum about loaves and fishes and voices in the clouds.
As for the comparison with 'dark matter', I think it's a poor analogy. Dark matter is a hypothesis reached by following a rational process of inquiry. If that rational process should disprove the existence of dark matter or should no evidence be found, the theory dark matter will be thrown away. The existence of God, in the many forms forwarded by the many religions, has been reached through no rational process and no rational process will ever dissuade believers from believing.
That, I guess, is my uneducated and rambling thought about God. It's deep enough for me and anything deeper becomes the subject of elbow gazing: pointless, self-defeating, and, ultimately, a waste of our God-given time.