Every being is considered an economic-man and assumed rational. But we often bring this rationality into play in almost every decision we take (including our choice of belief), without our knowledge.
Nigeria is a very religious country, in which our beliefs come to fore in everything we do (Business, Sport, Social Interactions) but the question of this discourse (sponsored advertisement on buses) is to be treated from no particular religious inclination (Islam, Christianity, Hindu, Judaism, Sango or whatever belief) but rather using the simple principle of probability.
This looks into the likely Risk or likely Reward of our decision (as it relates to the question of God’s existence), Probability of Outcome, Cost of Decision and Weight of Outcome.
The question, “What if God does not exist?” leaves us with two extreme Possibilities.
(i) God Does Not Exist
(ii) God Exists
Our Choice /Decision is to:
(i) Live as if God does not exist
(ii) Live as if God Exists
These choices at the end will lead to 4 outcomes
a) Live as if God does not exist and later find out HE does not exist
b) Live as if God exists and later find out HE does not exist
c) Live as if God exists and later find out HE exists
d) Live as if God does not exist and later find out HE exists
These outcomes can only be found out after death, which implies no opportunity for amendment whatever choice made.
Cost of Outcome & Weight of Outcome:
For those who live as if God does not exist and later find out that God does not exist; they gain nothing and loose nothing at the end. (Since nonexistence of God will imply everything ends at death)
For those who live as if God exists and later find out HE does not exist; they gain nothing and loose nothing bar the worldly pleasures they would have enjoyed.
For those who live as if God exists and later find out HE exists; they gain heaven and loose nothing
For those who live as if God does not exist but later find out He does: they gain nothing and loose heaven.
Considering all these 4 outcomes; the most rational is to believe God exists. This is not because the probability of an occurrence is higher than the other (they can all be given 25% chance). Neither, because the cost of outcome is significantly different but because, the weight of outcome is great, if one does not believe and it eventually happens that God exists.
In investment decision and psychology of crime, what matters is not just probability of failure or probability of being caught, but how big the consequence of failure or sanction if caught.
Likewise, we conclude it is more rational to believe God exists and find out HE does not exist than not believing then later find out HE does.