Without a Prayer of a Chance

Stephanie Savage

I would like to state for the record that I don’t believe in miracles, despite the fact that so many people think I have experienced one. Indeed, many would venture that I myself am a walking miracle, though my walking is still improving—and I’m certainly no miracle.

Still, I have to admit that if one of the numerous people who were praying for me when I was in my coma had happened to pray to a beatified Catholic, that candidate would be on the fast-track to sainthood. But I’m an atheist. I don’t believe in miracles, only dumb luck. Even luck is problematic because it implies a kind of supernatural agency doling out luck like popsicles from a Good Humor truck on a hot day. I think many people’s concept of luck is akin to a luck field circling Earth—like the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter—which every so often hurls down chunks of good luck or misfortune on unsuspecting people.

I, on the other hand, believe what we call “luck” is completely random. I realize that a lot of people can’t tolerate this kind of uncertainty, but I find it can provide a kind of solace. There’s no omnipotent being trying to make my life miserable. It’s nothing personal, and I’m not being punished for anything, especially not original sin. As someone who was raised without religion, that strikes me as an absurd concept. God said to the first two humans, “Whatever you do, don’t eat this luscious-looking fruit because it will give you knowledge,” which guaranteed that one or the other of them would eventually do exactly that. That sure doesn’t sound like omniscience to me.

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