A dialogue between two people in which each takes his turn speaking:
"I want your opinion. Does God exist?"
"By the term 'God ' what do you mean?"
"Well a loving personal God."
"As espoused by the Abrahamic religions?"
"It doesn't matter."
"If that personal loving God exists He doesn't stop the most vile wickedness to His creatures. He isn't loving or is mostly powerless to stop said wickedness, so it doesn't matter."
"Well then, what about an impersonal, amorphous God that created things as they are?"
"It seems likely that such exists. But again, it doesn't matter to me since "It," is in fact, impersonal in nature, does it?"
"Clearly not. But getting back to your previous point: It is humans that cause wickedness, not God."
"That is neither here nor there. But if I understand correctly your argument, you are indicating that this personal God allows the vileness of the human creature to continue unabated when He has the power to stop it. Does that make God an accessory? By human law He most definitely would be."
"But God's laws and reasoning are not humans laws and reasoning, His are higher."
"Then it doesn't matter, again, from the human point of view because His reasoning and laws are unknowable."
"You say that the question of whether God exists in any form doesn't matter. And yet many, many people will attest to the hand of a loving God in their lives. Are they deluded?"
"I never said such a thing and never will. However, for every person that you can produce that will testify as to what you just said, I can produce one that will attest to the opposite, myself included. Besides that, neither one of the two witnesses previously mentioned can prove his or her claim either way, which makes it based upon a feeling. Feelings are emotion. And when it comes to trusting emotions, I will trust mine over another's."
"But what about future rewards and punishments? What about an afterlife?"
"It doesn't matter."
"It does matter, at least to those that have died. If you haven't checked recently, the mortality rate still hovers around 100%."
"Well, a future system of rewards and punishments assumes this fact: that those rewards and punishments will be perfectly meted out in a rational manner based upon the actions of this irrational current life. That assumption is preposterous, thoroughly unjust--as all people are born into very different circumstances-- and is not even based upon an extrapolation of current life. At least the Ancients assumed that the future life would be more or less like the current. But their views have fallen out of favor of late. Nevertheless, it would be the 'greatest vanity' to attempt to influence, by our current actions, a future system that is unknowable to any living human. Therefore, it doesn't matter."
"Well then, what's the point to life? I suppose you'll say that it doesn't matter, huh?"
"No! the point to your life is whatever you want it to be, irrespective of any future payment or punishment."
"But that type of thinking would have such corrosive effects upon our culture's moral fiber. We would loose our moral anchor and people would be emboldened to do whatever harmful things that they wish."
"In what culture, religious or not, do harmful people not exist and do as they please? Remember, our conversation initially centered on the burning question that has plagued humanity, 'Is there a loving God, and if so, why does He permit wickedness?' This then, is at least a tacit admission that religion does not prevent wickedness, seeing as how religion is the oldest and most entrenched institution that humans have."
"Well, religion is easier. It can tell me what God wants of me and that will be my purpose."
"It doesn't matter. Your opinion is as valid as mine."
"Which, by parity of reason, means that your opinion doesn't matter either."