I came across this, or something similar, the other day. I don't think it's a successful argument in the sense that it should persuade an atheist. Still, it's quite neat. It's deductively valid, and it's not viciously circular, since independent arguments can be put for both P1. and P2.
P1. Certain religious virtues, attitudes, etc., are superior to their secular equivalents.
P2. P1. could be true only if God existed and we were His creatures.
C. God exists and we are His creatures.
It looks to me as there must be some sense in which P2. is true, though I query whether it could be true at the same time as P1. and without equivocation.
I suspect that the godless readers of this blog will want to dismiss P1. pretty quickly, and in the end I'd probably reject it too. But I actually think that a fair bit can be said in its favour.
Note that the conclusion entails only a very minimal belief: God exists and we are His creatures. A very moderate religionist could believe this. If someone is actually persuaded by this argument to retain some kind of minimal religious belief, I won't have too much of a problem with it. I'd even adopt the argument myself if I thought it stood up to analysis, but I don't think it does. The fact that it doesn't might not be entirely welcome, though. Religious attitudes to the world may not, ultimately, be superior to their secular equivalents, but there is something impressive about at least some of them.
Consider this famous poem by Gerard Manley Hopkins:
The world is charged with the grandeur of God.
It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?
Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;
And all is seared with trade; Bleared, smeared with toil;
And wears man's smudge and shares man's smell: the soil
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.
And for all this, nature is never spent;
There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
And though the last lights off the black West went
Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs —
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.
Nice, eh? It does appear to me that there is a certain attitude to the world expressed in this poem which it is impossible to have without some kind of minimal religious belief along the lines that God exists and we are His creatures. Hopkins does not see the world merely as awe-inspiring and beautiful; it's more than that. He sees it as charged with the grandeur of a creator-deity to whom we owe obedience. Somehow, we see the world and catch a glimpse of something beyond it, sustaining it and caring for it.
You can't translate the vision of the poem into secular terms without losing something. Hopkins is not seeing nature as just beautiful, fresh and self-renewing, or grand/awesome. For Hopkins, the world somehow conveys to us the greatness of a supernatural being who stands behind it all and whose creatures we are. Somehow - it's not clear how - we have this experience of seeing through the phenomena to a higher or deeper or more noumenal (not to mention numinous) reality.
It's impossible not to be impressed by this, and Hopkins' vision does seem, at least arguably, to be somehow "richer" than any secular equivalent. This may be an illusion - perhaps we are merely socialised to find this kind of sacramental vision of nature's grandeur and beauty especially impressive and moving. Still you can, maybe, see why a religious believer might not want to stop taking this kind of sacramental vision with full seriousness; you can see why someone might want to buy into it unproblematically. We atheists can project ourselves into it imaginatively, perhaps, or we can take a slightly distanced, almost anthropological view of it. But we can't embrace what Hopkins is saying without reservation, and perhaps there is a loss here. It may also be true that holding such a minimalist religious belief does not require giving up much that's of secular value.
(Of course, those parts of the poem that talk about us being sinners - e.g. not recking God's rod, i.e. disobeying him - may seem less palatable. If there is no secular equivalent of this, perhaps it's a good thing.)
All in all, at least some aspects of the poem's vision might impress us in a way that a secular equivalent would not. This seems to make P1. seem more plausible.
Here's a simpler example: the religious believer with at least the minimal belief that I've described can face each morning with an attitude of thankfulness. We atheists can also be "thankful", but only in inverted commas, because there is no person to thank - at most we can "thank" (or perhaps just be happy about) all the good events and so on that have kept us alive until now (we can thank goodness, as Daniel Dennett says, but surely it is an inverted-commas kind of thanking). But this secular equivalent may seem to be missing something. Again P1. is lent some plausibility.
There are many such examples. We could multiply them indefinitely.
At the same time, how could P1. be true unless it really is true that God exists and we are His creatures? So surely, it might be said, we must accept P2. But then, if the arguments for the plausibility of P1. move us, so that we accept both premises, we are forced by the logical entailment to accept C.
As I said, I don't think it's a satisfactory argument - and I'll leave its problems as an exercise for my readers. But it may bring out one way in which someone can be a very moderate and minimalist religious believer, while also being very serious about it (and honestly saying "not my religion" when confronted by attacks on religion by people like Richard Dawkins).
Don't worry, I'm not going soft on religion. I continue to believe that its claims are false, that the argument under discussion is not successful, and that it would be better if the political influence of religion were reduced. But sometimes it's good to think about how things might seem to reasonable people on the other side.