According to Judaism, one can be a good Jew while doubting God’s existence, so long as one acts in accordance with Jewish law. But the converse does not hold true, for a Jew who believes in God but acts contrary to Jewish law cannot be considered a good Jew.--The Nine Questions People Ask About Judaism, Dennis Prager and Joseph Telushkin, (Simon & Shuster, New York, 1981), p. 18.
It is of great help to society when the thinking atheist asks questions to so many of us who have settled into our religions by means of unthinking reactions produced by chance, mistake, or pure emotion. Not enough people question their own motives to make their current actions mean anything significant.
But if religions like Christianity and Islam can be traced to the religion of the Hebrews, it is quite a stray that has been made if many believers in the God of Abraham see the existence of morality impossible without deity. When this happens, the opposite also occurs: people think they can also have deity without morality.
When a person demands a connection between justice and God, one can mistake belief in God for the performance of the other, even an exemption from morality. This has happened far too often in history. The mental assent to the existence of God becomes enough for some, excusing themselves from being moral and even granting one’s self absolution. "Since I believe in God," many say, "I therefore have merit that excuses my behavior where it fails."
If God is love and the epitome of what is truly good, then one can also reason that all love and good is in essence God. When one brings birth to acts of love and justice, when one cares for the poor and welcomes the disenfranchised, when one does what truly is good, then by such a definition we have God in the world. It takes no belief in deity, it requires no religion, and such a “theophany of morality” can be brought about even by the atheist. God is not exclusive to the mind of believers; God comes from acts of the heart bequeathed by any hand. A God that requires belief isn’t much of a God at all.
This is not to say that the atheist must bow to such a definition either. One does not have to agree or even cease from debating such an explanation to remain a font of objective morality. It exists in the world, whether God does or not. If God truly loves the pious, then the pious must be something external of God.
But it can be hard to argue against the fact that when those who claim a requisite connection between God and morality fail in their morals, something of God disappears. Again if God is love and all that is good, isn't God stolen from the world when those who claim belief in God fail to act with love and in goodness? While morality does not require religion to exist, religion cannot exist without it being the product of its adherents.
In Judaism it is our tradition to question God’s existence from top to bottom, and we don’t necessarily stop praying or serving our neighbor or lighting menorahs because we have doubt or even have no faith in the concept of God. It is odd to see how religion has dissolved into merely being issues of belief, and it saddens me that it has become this to so many who claim a connection to us. As one rabbi stated: “God doesn’t care whether you believe in him or not. All that he cares is that you do the right thing.”