Greetings friend, I have wrote a short essay on the question of God. If you have interest, I would be glad to hear any criticisms.
Do I believe in God?
To answer this question we will have to dissect both words 'believe' and 'God'.
Usually by 'believe' we understand 'acting as if a given proposition is true, without it being scientifically proven or even with it being proven false or being unprovable at all'.
A skeptic might argue - why should anybody act as if something is true, knowing that it has no facts to back it up?
Here I would point him to the concept of a 'social construct' - a phenomena, when in order to better their lives, people act in such a way.
One example - paper money. The piece of paper itself is worthless, but still people will gladly trade it for their goods and services, because they know, that other will do it, too.
People might not believe in Santa Claus, yet they are happy to celebrate the New Year, gather around a freshly cut fir-tree and exchange presents.
Or when a former British colony suddenly accepted the social construct of seeing themselves as a new, independent nation and fought hard to persuade the Brits also to see them as such.
By the above I wanted to prove that often pretending that something is true, while it is not, might be beneficial.
Next we should dissect 'God'. Is it Yahweh, the God of the Bible? Maybe it is Allah or any of the Hindu Gods? Or maybe just a vague notion that 'there is something above you' ?
If there are numerous tribes slaughtering each other, it might be beneficial for someone to raise up and say - we are Christians, we don't act in such a way, we have to act with love and compassion.
Of course, some rulers will take it a step further by adding - and Yahweh will send you for an eternity to hell if don't do as I tell you!
Same with Allah, notion of which unites Muslims and gives them a sense of purpose, which, unfortunately, often it lays in slaughtering members of other social constructs.
Moreover, I would argue that believing in God is, in general, no different, then believing in one's country - they both are social constructs, created to benefit their members.
We could also look at people who do not believe in anything - cynics and nihilists. People usually find happiness in pursuing something they see as meaningful, be it patriotism, religion or secular humanism. A cynic does not see meaning in such things, therefor he does not pursue them and, when life's sufferings hit him, he quickly becomes bitter and resentful. As Nietzsche had put it - "if you have a why, you can bear almost any how"
Therefor it seems that the most beneficial social construct might be the one that will give its members a shared sense of identity and meaning in life.
As for me personally - I love to grapple with ideas, I love to look at them from different angles - therefor Christianity or any other dogmatic religion most certainly do not suit me. Yet philosophical movements might strike a cord in my sole. Stoicism with its concept of "amor fati" ( believing in your destiny ) , for example.