Researchers led by Nicholas Epley, a professor of behavioural science at the University of Chicago, said believers often rely on what they think God wants them to do as a “moral compass”. But this is a poor analogy, they found. “The central feature of a compass is that it points north no matter what direction a person is facing,” they wrote. “Unlike an actual compass, inferences about God’s beliefs may instead point people further in whatever direction they are already facing.”
So really God is moral inertial guidance.
The Greek philosopher Xenophanes jested that if horses and oxen had hands and could make art then they would make statues of gods that look like themselves.
This skeptical insight is now confirmed by standard psychological testing. People tend to think God agrees with them about everything; and when you manipulate their beliefs, they tend to think that God, too, changed his mind.
I particularly like the brain scans. When people think about what they think, the same brain areas light up as when they think about what God thinks; whereas different areas light up when they think about what other people think.