Probabilistic Polytheismpublic - created 10/10/05
You might call it Agnosticism. I’ll accept that, if that’s the best you can do. I would argue that it is quite different, in a glass half full verses half empty way at the very least. But here we are in the world of Religion. In this Spiritual space, whole new denominations can be created with very little variance in core beliefs.
The short version is this:
Anything might be True. There is a chance that any, all, or none, of the world’s religions and belief systems that have come in and out of fashion over time might be the one Truth. Each of them has a certain probability of being True. The probabilities of all of them added together (including the ones we haven’t thought of yet) adds up to 100%. I believe in the 100%. I do not believe that I don’t know what is True Religion (Agnosticism). I believe, and act as if, and feel, that anything might be True (Probabilistic Polytheism).
Here is the longer version:
I was born and raised as a true atheist (note the lower case letter "a"). I never considered religion in any way. I knew it existed, but to me it fell in the same category as sports teams or TV shows, something people did together to entertain themselves. It never dawned on me that there were some people who actually believed there was a real unseen being that had created everything in the universe and hung around to listen to their problems.
Up through middle school I was educated in a very specialized semi-experimental subset of the public school system. I pretty much ran with the same crowd for the duration. We all had similar views, essentially no view. In high school that all changed. I was exposed to the mainstream of belief systems. I was astonished to find that the overwhelming majority of Americans believed literally in the "Virgin Birth of Jesus Christ" and the "Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ", (Conveniently juxtaposed with the childhood icons of Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny, respectively.) They were not particularly tolerant of my, rarely expressed, views on the subject either. My teenaged angst and newly flowing testosterone asserted themselves and I became an outspoken Atheist. (again note the now capital letter "A"). Most of high school and through most of college I would take any opportunity to expound at length on the irrationality or outright evils of religion. All of the standard arguments were set forth with vigor and vitriol.
All of the above was a gradual change of orientation and belief over the course of years. What followed next was not. It was an epiphany. Specifically, it occurred on a Spring morning at the International House of Pancakes on Ventura Boulevard, while waiting to be seated. I was flipping through the paper and came across a small classified add announcing a meeting of the SFV Atheists Society. The ad was in the religious section nestled amongst all of the weekend's postings by the local churches, mosques and temples with the times and dates of weekend services. There it was in black and white. Atheism was a religion. It required no greater and, more importantly, no lesser, leap of faith.
It was entirely based on Faith, just like all of those religions with a Faith in God. Moreover, looking at the world overall, the various religions didn't simply believe in God. They believed in many different versions of a god. Some interpretations were wildly different than others. People went to war and committed genocide over these differences of opinions about something they had never actually physically experienced.
Nobody has a sense of Mystical Truth. All of these different interpretations of the One True God lacked any kind of first hand sensory input. Human minds were constructing vivid experiences of the Mystical. But I couldn't know myself, nobody could, it was truly Unknowable.
At the time, in school, I was deeply involved in the statistics of prediction and probability theory. There is a concept referred to as Schrodinger's Cat. Put a cat into an impenetrable box along with a device that has a fifty percent chance of delivering an instantly fatal poison to the cat. Then seal the box. The thinking is, that until the box is opened and the state of the cat is observed, the cat is neither alive nor dead. It exists in a state of uncertainty. In a sense, it is 50% alive and 50% dead. You could fiddle with the device and adjust it so that it is very unlikely that it will trigger. The cat will therefore be "almost certainly alive.", but still, "it might be dead."
Taking this concept and applying it to the Unknowable Nature of Mystical Truth spawns the concept of Probabilistic Polytheism. All belief systems existing, ancient or yet to be conceived are neither True nor UnTrue. They all exist in a state of uncertainty, Possibly True. Think about it a bit and one realizes that mankind will be continually coming up with new and interesting ways of looking at the Mystical world. It is an exciting way to live. It allows for Santa Claus, Immortal Souls, Divine Benevolence, Brimstone and Unicorns.
I hope your mind is spinning with the possibilities.