Skull is right (feels like he read my mind), I was thinking the same thing that I should perhaps rephrase the word 'God' to something else.
Forgive me ACOT, I keep forgetting how agnostics/atheists process the word 'God/the Divine' even though I was an agnostic myself not so long ago and the word back then conjured exactly the image you may be picturing.
May be I should put it this way... it's not so much that I really discovered God per se, but I finally understood what God means (in my own way)... I know it's still not a clear enough answer, I wish I had a better way of expressing my thoughts...
In my view, how one calls himself (theist or atheist) totally depends on what one conceives God as. No one, I don't think at this time of age, would imagine God as the bearded man in the sky (that He has a human figure), so, who, better yet, 'what' is God...? When people call themselves atheists, I feel that they mostly mean they don't buy into any of gods/deities that have ever been depicted in any religions in the human history, and if so, I totally get that.
You know, my realization of God is not initially through a religion, but psychology. I think most people on earth, I mean, good-hearted people, believe in the 'goodness of mankind' and 'humanity' we embrace. How about if I say that's what I believe as God, or as Skull suggested, our True Nature or Higher Self... can you relate to it better that way? When you say "the reason to act correctly", I'd assume you're talking about 'act correctly' reflecting on the obligation we all have to humanity, am I right? So, we are essentially believing in the same thing, in my view.
I think nonbelievers suppose that our humanity (as in being humane) comes from a naturalistic process (such as evolution), therefore no need to invoke God, but when I think about the way we developed our morality, how our conscience works, there are many aspects of it that cannot be satisfactorily explained by biology alone. This is what theists call 'moral argument' (you can google the phrase and many links will come up). This argument is what dramatically changed my worldview and how I ultimately arrived at the realization of a higher power or the law giver. (I'll tell you more about it sometime in the future, since it'll be a long and exhaustive conversation if I go into detail.)
This realization got me curious about religions and when I learned the life and teachings of Jesus, it concretely affirmed my realization and turned it to a conviction. Jesus delivered the Truth I had been seeking for. He sealed the deal for me. I strongly feel we are guided by a 'mysterious force', something like an invisible Sun that nourish our minds and souls, which is what Jesus called heavenly Father and what I call the 'Will of the universe' or 'cosmic conscience' or 'divine consciousness'. It doesn't matter what we call it really, but I just use the word 'God' to address it, because it's just easy and simple and I so love the sound of it (and much less typing too ).
Sorry, I may sound like I'm babbling again... I totally agree with you that each person needs a different medicine, and one doesn't have to recognize himself as a theist to find a purpose in his life. But I think all good people in the world uphold humanity (humanity is the universal medicine), only the difference is where we think it comes from... and that difference doesn't matter to me much, as long as we can all unite under this sublimity of our 'humanity'.
P.S. I apologize for another long-winded post unrelated to the topic of this thread...
Thanks for giving me some bakground but...I don't think you're reading me right, or I'm not reading you right.
First, I was talking about people who 'reject the divine'. This is not me, I'm not talking about myself, I'm not talking about my concept of what god is, I don't have one. I'm talking about all the thousand reasons people have for rejecting the divine, whatever it is. NOW, if they reject the divine, it doesn't really matter how you define it, if you ever mention God, Jesus, bible, afterlife, whatever, you will lose them. They will reject everything you have to say on the subject, right? SO, if you still want to help them despite this, there are different strategies for people to find meaning in life.
A favourite of mine is stoicism. I have only read Meditations by Marcus Aurelius and I know it slightly different from the others. When stoicism writes about the fates and the divine powers it can be read that we have to preserver IN SPITE of it. They are part of the outside forces that bare down on us.
Also, I have a really hard time accepting that all theists process the divine the same way. And that it is separate from how all the non-theists process the divine.