This I Believe

Karl - Chatsworth, California
Entered on June 8, 2007
Age Group: 30 - 50
  • Listen to This I Believe on RadioPublic

  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

I believe in Probabilistic Polytheism.

That means I believe in Everything, partially. There is some percentage chance that any of the world’s religions or some other belief system might be the one Great Truth. If all of those probabilities are added together, they total 100%. I believe in the 100%.

Probabilistic Polytheism is different than Agnosticism, I not only see the spiritual glass as half full, but I assume that any part of the glass might be holding water. I don’t merely believe that I cannot know the Unknowable, I believe, and act as if, anything might be True.

I didn’t always look at the spiritual world so broadly. I was born and raised as a true atheist. I knew religion existed, but to me, it was similar to sports or television, something people did together socially for entertainment.

As a child that was never an issue. I grew up with the same friends and we all had similar views, essentially, no view. That all changed in high school where I was exposed to mainstream religion. I was astonished to find that the majority of Americans believed in the literal “Virgin Birth of Jesus Christ”. I had rarely spoken about my views on the subject before, but now when I did, adults were either dismissive or hostile towards it. My newly flowing testosterone asserted itself and I became an outspoken Atheist. I began taking any opportunity to expound on the irrationality of religion.

My belief system gradually evolved as I matured. However, the leap to Probabilistic Polytheism was an epiphany. It happened one Spring morning at breakfast. While reading the paper I came across a small ad announcing a meeting of the local Atheists Society. The ad was in the religious section, among similar postings from various churches and temples. There it was in black and white. Atheism was a religion. It required no greater and, more importantly, no lesser, leap of faith. Just like all of those religions with a faith in God, Atheism had a faith in No God. Moreover, looking at all of those churches on that page, they believed in many different versions of a god. Some interpretations were wildly different than others. People went to war and over these disagreements about something they had never actually physically experienced.

Nobody had a sense of Mystical Truth. All of these different interpretations of God lacked any kind of first hand knowledge. Humans have always constructed explanations for the unknown but it was unknowable, by definition.

At the time I was learning about probability theory. Until an event occurred, it had a probability of either happening or not happening.

Taking this concept and applying it to the Unknowable Nature of Mystical Truth, spawned the concept of Probabilistic Polytheism. All belief systems ever conceived were neither True nor UnTrue. They all existed in a state of uncertainty, Possibly True.

It is an exciting way to live. My mind dances with beautiful thoughts of Miracles, Reincarnation, Resurrection, and Unicorns.