Yoram Hazony sets out a case at the New York Times for what he sees as a more plausible conception of God - that is, more plausible than the idea of God as perfect. This latter idea, he says, runs up against the well-known logical paradoxes (e.g., how can God be 'both perfectly powerful and perfectly good if the world is filled... with instances of terrible injustice'?); and it doesn't correspond to the accounts we have of God in the Old Testament. Better, therefore, to give up on it in favour of an imperfect God. Hazony argues that '[y]ou can't perfect something by maximizing all its constituent principles simultaneously'; think of a horse able to take the weight of an 'infinitely heavy rider' and at the same time to run 'with perfectly great speed'. It's a big ask. And so we should settle for something more realistic. Hazony's God would reflect the hardship in the lives of human beings, but represent the hope that principles of 'faithfulness and justice' prevail in the end.
I respond to this as an atheist - as is apt, given that Hazony makes clear his concern that the conception of God should not be vulnerable to the easy dismissal of atheists. I have two reactions, one positive, the other sceptical.
(1) Settling for a God of hope and justice who is also less than perfect strikes me as roughly parallel to the political consciousness of those who continue to believe in the possibility of human progress and to speak and to work for this, while at the same time rejecting every discourse of perfectionist utopia. We can make things better than they are; at least we have to try to. But there is no perfection in human affairs and the very dream of it is dangerous.
(2) An imperfect God may be easier to conceptualize and understand and pose less of an obstacle to reasonable demands for argument and evidence than does a perfect God. But unfortunately He (or She or It) now falls between two stools. If God is so imperfect as to be pretty much like you and me, just a regular (non-gendered) guy, so to speak, then it's hard to see what He or She or It can add to the things we already have within the human species, by way of resources for hope and justice. And if God is, though imperfect, much much better than ordinary humans, far along the spectrum towards perfection even though falling short of it, the evidential problem that afflicts a perfect God remains intact. Where is there such a being? What possible evidence can be given for the existence of a God even of this more limited kind?