Bear With Me, Part 1: Theology and Spirituality

Bear with me. This will eventually relate to my diet. Yeah, I was surprised my own self.

The following is a slightly edited version of a response I made to a cousin in a Facebook discussion about this video. It contains the core of my philosophy.

When the average man ejaculates, somewhere around 100 million sperm are released. Because of genetic recombination each sperm is unique. Each human being is the result of the meeting between one egg, and one sperm out of all the millions of sperm that could have reached it. Picture the moment of my conception as a single branch on a probability tree: a branch with 100 million twigs.

Now expand your perspective to consider the whole tree. It is a large tree, with many branches, each one bearing 100 million twigs. How many twigs are there in total? WikiAnswers says that a man produces about 400 billion sperm during his lifetime. Let’s go with that, since my thinking wouldn’t change even if that number was off by several orders of magnitude.

So that’s 400 billion twigs during my father’s lifetime. Multiply this by the number of eggs that my mother produced in her lifetime: one million on the conservative side. We are left with the number 400,000,000,000,000,000 or four hundred quadrillion. Since the only possible event that could have brought me into being was the meeting of one particular sperm and one particular egg, the odds against me being conceived during my father’s lifetime were approximately four hundred quadrillion to one.

Expand your perspective further to include my grandfather. Keep going. Go back through all the generations of humans who have ever lived. Each branching represents another crap shoot with odds against of about four hundred quadrillion to one. With each successive generation you are adding around seventeen zeroes to the number representing the odds against me ever being conceived.

So I am drawn inescapably to the conclusion that the odds against me ever existing were effectively infinite. I beat infinite odds. Out of all those people who never had a chance to be conceived, l alone made it. Out of an infinitude of potentiality, I alone am the reality. I gained the unspeakably wondrous boon of drawing breath. I alone can wiggle my toes in the mud. I alone can feel the breeze on my cheek. Only I can smile at the sight and feeling of sunlight filtering through a leaf.

Since I am the only one who made it, I have a responsibility to all those nonexistent folks to make the most of my existence. I have a responsibility to leave the world a better place than it would have been had I not been here, using up one of those infinitely precious slots. I have a responsibility not to hurt any of the other miracles walking around on the planet. I must make the most of the chance I’ve been given. And I must not sully the gift by asking for more. That is why I feel no need to worry about what will happen after my body stops. To do so would be a slap in the face of the universe: an act of infinite ingratitude.

I say all this only to make two points.

First, I’m the last person you need to feel sorry for. Throughout my life I’ve consistently been one of the happiest people I know of. And I don’t believe that happiness is the ultimate goal. I’m driven to constantly improve myself and to have a positive influence on the people and the world around me. Ask anyone who knows me, and they will tell you that “unaccountable” and “cop-out” are the last words they would think of when they think of me.

The second point is that I came up with this system of personal belief and morality simply by making an arbitrary and obscure observation about the world around me. Presumably there is an effectively infinite number of potential belief systems out there waiting; not all of them have been thought of yet, but I would imagine that those that have been conceived number in the trillions, depending on how finely you separate one from another. A belief in the divinity of Jesus Christ is only one of many intellectual constructs that can – but does not always – result in a moral human being. It is not necessary for the formation of a good and moral homo sapien any more than is one of those others.


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