Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Another non-miracle miracle

Get well, Allen Wright

I hope Allen Wright beats the odds and experiences a full recovery from the hit-and-run accident that put him in the hospital on Sunday, March 13. He's the teenager who received some previous publicity for his invention of “A Note to God,” an iPhone application that delivers messages to ... well, no one. However, users of the application get to enjoy sharing their prayers anonymously with other believers (and only God will know who they are). It hardly seems necessary to acquire an iPhone app to send God little notes, but what-the-hey, it's a digital age.

Anyway, today's headlines report that Allen is out of the eight-day coma that followed the accident and he is responding—apparently with some comprehension—to family members and medical personnel. It's a very encouraging sign.

But it's not a miracle, despite what some devout people want to believe. Here are some comments posted by believers on the website of the Sacramento Bee:
Miracles do happen...Awesome....

God always has a way of turning a negative situation into a positive one!

My first thought is, "God has answered your letter Allen".

It's a miracle from god that he brought Mr. Wright out of his coma.

to God be the glory! Yes, there is power in prayer. And I guarantee, that every one of you reading this post, would begin praying when ANY family or friend becomes ill or experiences an accident.

That news gave me the chills. What an awesome God we have.

Divine Intervention.
Did the “awesome God” who allowed Allen to wander into the path of a speeding car decide to tidy up his own mess and divinely intervene to restore his victim to consciousness? Did he repent of his plan to take out the boy who was spamming him? The Bee tells a slightly different story. The doctors at Mercy San Juan Medical Center injected Allen with drugs to deepen his trauma-induced coma. It was an attempt to protect the patient by reducing brain swelling, giving him time to heal without suffering the additional trauma that brain-swelling would induce. After one week, the doctors withdrew the sedatives. Within hours, Allen opened his eyes.

Not exactly a miracle, but still an encouraging sign. He then demonstrated that he could respond to questions by sticking out his tongue. Quoted in the Bee, neurologist Kavian Shahi said, “One of the most important things we like to see from patients is whether they follow commands. It indicates they can understand language and react to language. It takes a lot of brain power to do that.”

The Bee reporter asked Dr. Shahi if Wright's awakening was aided by the prayers offered up on his behalf. The doctor gave a discreet response:
“Sometimes I think it does. Sometimes I think it doesn't,” he said. “I don't actively encourage it. But in my opinion, it never hurts to pray.”

No, it never hurts to pray. I encourage all believers to do so regularly. It keeps them out of trouble and out of our way. Praying for Allen isn't going to do him any good, but it might calm the nerves of those who pray. I guess that's good. Sort of.

Allen's brain, which probably still thinks there is a God, may be on the mend. Let's hope so. But I won't bother to pray.

Allen Wright's recovery, whether complete or partial, is certain to be difficult and probably lengthy and expensive. A fund has been set up: Allen Wright's Foundation for a Better Life, Wells Fargo, 6047 Sunrise Boulevard, Citrus Heights, CA 95610.


Eamon Knight said...

The other day, a driver near here had a narrow escape when a rock spilled from a passing dump truck smashed her windshield but missed her -- she was "only" cut a bit by flying glass, and managed to stop the car safely. While no one has used the M-word (at least in coverage that I've seen), she did in one interview say, "Someone was looking out for me".

Why does no one ever notice what a half-assed job God does of "looking out for" people?

cody said...

My favorite comment is "What an awesome God we have." Calls to mind the pride sports fans take in 'their' teams--yet another sentiment I've never related to.

If only we could convince the violent Muslims and Christians that they ought to pray for the cartoons and abortions to subside--with the ancillary benefit of demonstrating the inefficacy of prayer. Or if they prefer an explanation favorable to their superstitions it could demonstrate that their god doesn't concern himself with such matters.

Disturbingly Openminded said...

As of a Google search just now, it appears that the driver of the vehicle involved in the hit-and-run has yet to be apprehended.

Am I allowed to wonder if this too could be interpreted as a sign of divine intervention? I mean, if god really cared about Allen, wouldn't the driver have been arrested by now? Or perhaps god actually ordered the hit (Yahweh has priors on this, you know) and is seeing to it that no more evidence comes to light.

It is just so hard to know where divine intervention ends and reality begins.

If Zeno sees fit to publish this comment, will that be a sign too?

Zeno said...

If Zeno sees fit to publish this comment, will that be a sign too?

Are you kidding, DO? It's all a sign! I thought you knew that by now! God's got a hand in everything! (And it would appear he's rather clumsy about it.)

Kathie said...

"Calls to mind the pride sports fans take in 'their' teams"

Cody, as a kid I found it hilarious whenever USF, Santa Clara or St. Mary's played one another in basketball, and a player would go to the foul line and cross himself before attempting each free throw. Exactly which Catholic college did their deity root for? And which religious order (Jesuits or Christian Bros.)?