One can be on the search for a deity. However, when one’s doctrine is a dogmatic book written long ago, and when one projects the literal interpretation of that book onto others, the result is rarely positive.
Many people I deal with in online debates suffer from the error of a Foregone conclusion. This is when a person is closed to debate (although they pretend otherwise), as they have already made a decision.
Because of this foregone conclusion, one isn’t ready to accept truth.
Let me make an analogy. Imagine a juror on a murder trial. The juror secretly knows the accused, and can’t accept that this person would ever commit such a violent crime. As the evidence mounts, the juror refuses to believe their good friend would do this without good cause. In deliberation, they refuse to accept a guilty decision, countering each point of evidence with the emotion of a foregone conclusion that the accused is either innocent, or must have had a good reason to do what they did. How could such a juror remain impartial? In the end, they argue with other jurors, using psychological tricks, distraction of data and refusal to accept a guilty verdict.
This is the “god is good” argument. No matter how much you appeal to a believer’s reason, showing the many passages in the bible that showcase a god of anger, rage, and murder, the believer will simply deny it.
By holding onto a foregone conclusion, the believer can’t accept rational data. This is when they become apologists, coming up with odd views and weird logic proofs. They’ll spout things like, “god had a good reason to kill women and children, we’re his creation so he can do what he wants to us.” Uh, that’s what we call a villain.
Others have said about Numbers 31, “god told Moses to kill all the midianites, even the women and children, because they young boy children might have become rebels against Israel.” This type of answer adds fiction into the gaps, to attempt to make the awful act more normalized. Even then, it’s not logical. No one today would argue that the children of enemy nations should be killed. Germany killed more Jewish people than the Midianites killed Israelites, yet the world didn’t kill every male German child after the war.
One can search for a real spiritual path, a real god that fits a reasonable and logical connection to humanity. What isn’t right, in my view, is to become enthralled with a god that at one time hates, is jealous and kills… when he isn’t killing, he orders other humans to kill (even killing children) and then flip the script to say this same god loved us all along. To take it even further, these contradictions in the bible are then ignored, and brittle arguments are made by these same believers that everyone needs to convert to only their view of god. Worse yet, they demand their adherents vote a certain way, to give back to their god.
If your beliefs are brittle, easily distorted and can be manipulated to defend almost anything, than how can you make any demands of others to convert to your way of life?