In life there are many statistics, possibilities and theorems. More often than not the roll of a dice is all we ever seem to do. Decisions big or small from personal to world changing, are no better that an educated guess and a hope for the best. No matter how we weigh or measure any outcome before the fact, we are only ever making a guess because we can never really know. This is never truer than when we choose our faith, religion or beliefs. Whether it’s the Christian God, Zeus or Kali, none are more true or real than the other. At best, ones followers offers more earthly perks than the other. Otherwise, you’ll have to wait until the afterlife to see if you’re right. In which case, here’s hoping all of that suffering endured in that deities name was its own reward.
At last count there were over 4,200 recognized religions in the world with various sects and sub groups within each religion. Christianity has the most denominations with over 30,000 variations. With these numbers alone, mathematically, you’re probably wrong. If you’re making your decision based membership, then so long as you pick one of the three Abrahamic religions; Islam, Christianity or Judaism. There’s a high probability you’re right and will either go to heaven, hell or limbo when you die. Unless of course you consume pork regularly, are left handed, eat shell fish, have sex outside marriage, have sex with the same sex or leave that religion for any reason. The odds only work in the favor of the true believers, whoever they might be.
Of the other 4,197 religions the majority are polytheists so then you have to rule another die this time anywhere from a twelve sided die and up. Hopefully you pray to the correct deity, on the correct day, at the correct time and make the appropriate offering for that time of year. If you managed to pull that off you can find yourself enjoying your just rewards. Maybe in the mead halls of Valhalla, dancing in the field of Elysium or better yet still you’ve achieved Nirvana and then you will know true meaning of it all. No pressure at all. The down side of course would be a nearly infinite versions of hell, purgatory or being reincarnated as a worm. You can’t beat those odds. Literally.
The 17th Century French mathematician, inventor, engineer, physicist and philosopher Blaise Pascal, summed up simply his rational belief in his Christian faith,” It is better to believe in God and God not exist where I lose nothing than to not believe in God and God does exist, then I lose everything.” With so many regions, deities and sub sects, Pascal is right. There is far more risk in not believing in any Gods at all them to pick one God or Pantheon of Gods at all. Whether you pray to a God, a full Pantheon of Gods or you believe that your actions in this life will determine your social standing in the next life. You’ll need to come to the conclusion your belief is no more true than any other religion in the world. You’re just placing your bet and hoping for the best.
While life shouldn’t be boiled down to the hit or miss tactics of Battleship, that doesn’t mean you should think you instantly believe you occupy the moral high ground. No Priest, Imam, Rabbi or Shaman has done more evil or good than any other throughout the annals of history. We will never abandon our Gods for we need them too badly. Those who swear off religion or faith can never really be people for they will always be missing a piece of their soul. Our faith fills a very important hole in our Psyche. We are thrown screaming into an existence of pain and confusion. We need an anchor that can make some form of since to us all. No matter how true or untrue our faith proves to be. We cannot be human beings without it. For those of us without fate end up angry, broken and wistful in a world that already has too much.
For after all what is man in nature? A nothing in relation to infinity, all in relation to nothing, a central point between nothing and all and infinitely far from understanding either. The ends of things and their beginnings are impregnably concealed from him in an impenetrable secret. He is equally incapable of seeing the nothingness out of which he was drawn and the infinite in which he is engulfed.”Blaise pascal