About seven years ago I wrote a blog post called "What are the chances you're right about God?" It's a great question. I started off the post with:
More and more, for me spirituality comes down to two basics: “What are the chances?” and “The odds are pretty good.” The first question points me toward humble skepticism, the second toward energetic inquiry. Here’s what I mean:
What are the chances…?
--That my chosen religion or philosophy, out of the thousands of religions in the world, just happens to be the one that is right about God, while the others are wrong.
--That any religion or philosophy, mine or another, possesses the complete truth about ultimate reality.
--That once I’ve settled on a spiritual direction for my life, there will no need for course corrections along the way
--That the nature of whatever power or law rests at the root of the cosmos can be described in words by a human being.
On the other hand:
The odds are pretty good…
--That during the thousands of years mankind has been searching for the truth about God, some persuasive hypotheses have been generated.
--That the faculties of my everyday human consciousness are less than what I am capable of, leaving open the possibility of finding new avenues for truth-seeking.
--That no matter what the nature of ultimate reality may actually be, and no matter whether it is possible to fully understand it, progress can be made in its direction.
--That given how the physical laws of the universe seem to lead back to a primal unity, whatever spiritual realities may exist are likely to be reflected in us as well as the cosmos.
Reading what I wrote seven years ago, it's evident that back then I was more optimistic about the possibility of spiritual "enlightenment" of some sort than I am today. But the basic thrust of my argument still seems sound to me.
Most religiously and supernaturally-inclined people are way more sure than they should be about the chances of certain things being true.
In addition to the four items I listed above, we could add to What are the chances...?
-- That we human beings have the capacity to either ask the right questions about ultimate reality, or to understand the answers if somehow they were broadcast into our minds.
-- That of all the people who have searched for divine truth over the many thousands of years of human history, some members of Homo sapiens alive today have found that Promised Land.
-- That an individual's consciousness survives the death of his or her body, even though the evidence is unequivocal that damage to the brain is associated with a damaged consciousness.
-- That even if a supernatural or godly power exists, it gives a shit about us.
There are no absolutes in life. I'm scientifically minded. Science never says, "Such and such is known to be absolutely true, 100% certain, no chance of being wrong."
So even though I'm skeptical about the supernatural, I continue to meditate every day. I continue to keep my mind open to the possibility of an existence beyond the physical. I continue to say to whoever/whatever that could be wherever: Surprise me. Show me.
Still, I also continue to ask myself:
What are the chances...?