It's a burden to believe that you're special.
Especially when it isn't true. Feeling special places you in a starring role. You're at the center of a script that has a marvelous ending -- with you at center stage taking bows.
Religions appeal to people because dogma leads them to feel special.
God has a plan, for you. Enlightenment is going to happen, for you. The heavens and earth were created, for you. A guru will appear, for you. Jesus died on the cross, for you.
Christianity likes to speak of the "good news."
The Christian message of good news is described in the Bible. It relates to the saving acts of God, centred upon the person of Jesus and his substitutionary death on the cross and resurrection from the dead. Its context is the storyline of the Christian Bible as a whole, which tells of the creation of humanity, humanity's rebellion against God, and how people from all nations are restored to relationship with God through the person of Jesus. A key theme of the Christian good news is that God offers a new life and forgiveness through Jesus.
This reminds me of a sleazy con artist who preys on gullible homeowners by knocking on their door, telling them he can see their roof is in terrible shape, and if they don't hire him to do the repairs right away terrible things are going to happen the next time it rains hard.
Except, the roof is fine.
Similarly, religions tell people that their soul is endangered by sin, maya, karma, or whatever, and if they don't sign up for some salvation, they're heading for a lousy afterlife (and presentlife).
Except, where's the evidence that any salvation is needed? Yes, every human being has problems. Life isn't perfect.
But those imperfections are hugely magnified when we perceive them as unjust, unwarranted, or unnecessary because we are meant for much better: heaven, eternal life, satori, enlightenment, sitting at the right hand of God.
Those are nice stories that contain a lot of good news. However, stories aren't reality. Fiction isn't factual.
Here's the real overarching story. It doesn't put us human beings at the center of the tale. I much prefer it to the religious fables, though. Because it is true, to the best of science's current knowledge (which is pretty darn persuasive).
Looking at our place in the cosmos from this vast perspective, it's difficult for this human to feel special. And that makes me happy. I experienced enough sensations of specialness during my thirty-five years of religiosity.
Now, it's relaxing to simply be part of a universe that is vastly beyond my, or anybody else's, comprehension.
Earth orbits the Sun, which is one of 200 to 400 billion stars in the Milky Way galaxy. There are an estimated 100 billion to 200 billion galaxies in the universe, each with an average of hundreds of billions of stars.
If this isn't mind-blowing enough, the multiverse notion is gaining increasing credibility among scientists. It posits that our universe may be only one of countless universes in an essentially infinite physical reality.
Yet earthly religions tell us things like, "You're special. God created the cosmos for the benefit of people. The divine plan is for human souls to return to divinity." Yeah, right. All the evidence points to us being a infinitesimal speck of the cosmos, with no specialness attached to Homo sapiens.
I've become comfortable with this seeming fact. If we're so special, why did God take 14 billion years to get around to us? If we're so special, why did God create such an unimaginably vast universe, almost all of which has nothing to do with us?
Life is what it is. Why pretend that it is something else? We are born; we live; we die. Just like stars do. Just like galaxies do. Just like the entire universe may do. We aren't special.
Recognizing this, we can feel ourselves as part and parcel of the cosmos. And that sensation of non-specialness is pretty damn special.