And I'm getting close to an explanation. Here's a shot at it.
You stand with a bow and some arrows, and you have a target some distance away. When you want to hit the target with an arrow, you generally don't point the arrow directly at the target. You point the arrow a bit upward, so that you're compensating for the effect gravity has on it on its way toward the target.
So you're aiming at the target, but what is it you're actually pointing the arrow at? Quite frequently, nothing. And if there is anything there, it's a coincidence. What you're pointing at is determined by your estimate of the effects the world will have on the arrow in its flight. It's something made up by you, in order to deal with the real world.
That's what God really is. It's a set of aspirations, created as something to point toward in the hopes that it'll compensate enough for the world's effects to allow you to reach your target (like happiness or peace of mind.)
By aspirations, I mean moral and behavioral goals. Our bodies have already evolved to handle a lot of the other stuff. For instance, our urge to procreate was developed in an environment where big things were trying to eat us. So we had to do more than just provide replacements; we had to aim high! (And now that we live in comfort and safety, that becomes a problem.)
But consciously, we've learned that to survive in communities, we need to act better than we strictly have to. And so we point to something that isn't there: God. We even have a practice God, to show that even though we find out there's nothing there, we should still be nice. He's called Santa Claus.
And I don't mind personifying the empty pointed-at point at all. Or at least not until somebody else takes the personification too seriously. As Bob put it, "God said to Abraham, 'Kill me a son.'" And that's where it started hitting the fan.
There. Maybe it doesn't hit the bulls-eye, but I think it's on or near the target I'm trying for.