What is it to Build a Better Idea of God?

Might theists welcome atheist critiques of God and make a better idea of God?

Look at this quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson's essay 'Experience' (circa 1844):

In liberated moments we know that a new picture of life and duty is already possible; the elements already exist in many minds around you of a doctrine of life which shall transcend any written record we have. The new statement will comprise the skepticism as well as the faiths of society, and out of unbeliefs a creed shall be formed. For skepticisms are not gratuitous or lawless, but are limitations of the affirmative statement, and the new philosophy must take them in and make affirmations out of them, just as much as it must include the oldest beliefs.

Atheistic critiques are not gratuitous or lawless (they're not just made up to be annoying or contrary). Atheist critiques are genuine limitations on affirmative statements about God (they've exposed real flaws in the idea of God).

Why not then do what Emerson suggests--make a new theology by utilizing atheistic critiques, even while holding to aspects of the old theology?

Here's how the project might go:

Atheist critique: God is incredibly anthropomorphic, portrayed as a large male humanoid with a particular skin color and eye shape and amplifications of human abilities.

Theistic admission: True. Thank you for helping better the idea of God.The anthropomorphic God IS incredible. But that's just an image of God. God is not a humanoid or any kind of material being, male or female. God is a genderless spirit.

Atheistic critique: God is immaterial and yet performs functions of material biological organisms, like seeing, hearing, speaking, feeling. How does God see without material eyes? Hear without material ears? Speak without material tongue? Feel without brain chemistry? This is contradictory.

Theistic admission: True. Thank you for helping better the idea of God.. It IS contradictory to say God is immaterial and then invest God with material activities. We will say God 'sees,' 'hears,' and 'speaks' and 'feels' but we do not know how God does this, since God does not have material eyes, ears, tongue, brain.

Atheistic critique: An all powerful God who is also all loving should not permit a high degree of animal and human suffering as has occurred on planet Earth.

Theistic admission: True. Thank you for helping better the idea of God. God is NOT all powerful and cannot stop suffering, though God would like to, since God is all loving.

Atheistic critique: If complex things as those found in nature require a cause in creative intelligence, why doesn't the complex thing called God require a cause in creative intelligence? If God is an intelligent designer of nature, who is the intelligent designer of God? Another more creative God?

Theistic admission: True. Thank you for helping better the idea of God. God is not the designer of nature in all its particulars. God started a universe that creates itself and designs itself via natural selection.

Atheistic critique: If the universe requires a cause, then why doesn't God require a cause? Who caused God?

Theistic admission: True. Thank you for helping better the idea of God. Something is an uncaused cause. Either matter and energy, or God, always existed without cause. Some radical theists will say God is not a cause of the universe but is an effect of the universe coming to be: God began when the universe began, and God is evolving along with the universe.

Atheistic critique: If there is a God and God has spoken, wouldn't the world be in convinced agreement about it? And yet everywhere throughout history we hear discordant voices from the theistic camp: hundreds of sects all disagree with each other about God.

Theistic admission: True. Thank you for helping better the idea of God. This is a human problem of the interpretation of God and not a problem with God, per se. Humans have misunderstood and misrepresented God.

Atheistic critique: God belief has brought intolerance and violence.

Theistic admission: True. Thank you for helping better the idea of God. Some misrepresentations of God have portrayed God as violent and recommending violence. This is wrong. But remember that the vast majority of God believers in any epoch have never committed a violent act in the name of God.

Atheistic critique: God is not funny. God possesses all human virtues to an infinite degree, except humor. Humans are smart, God infinitely smart. Humans are loving, God infinitely loving. Humans are strong, God infinitely strong. Humans are funny and witty. Why isn't God funny and witty? Humor is an absolute human good and the fact that humor comes no where near the idea of God is a big strike against the probability that there's a God.

Theistic admission: True. Thank you for helping better the idea of God. Humans have indeed portrayed God as overly serious. Maybe God is funny and witty, after all. Maybe there are hints of God's humor in the sacred scriptures that we have overlooked.

Atheistic critique: Theistic arguments for God's existence fail to convince all competent reasoners, and so God must remain doubtful. We cannot say that God is 'certain' if many many competent reasoners disagree.

Theistic admission: True. Thank you for helping better the idea of God. Few truths are admitted by ALL competent reasoners. But yes, God is not 'certain' in the way that a math solution is certain. Belief in God always requires an element of faith.

Might theists welcome atheist critiques of God and make a better idea of God?

Would theists allow this? Would atheists?