In the news:
A self-confessed atheist has become a believer after mocking God by sarcastically praying for his mother to win the lottery. However, his joke prayer was amazingly answered as the next day his mother won $1 million on the New York Lottery Sweet Million game.
Sal Bentivegna, 28, who did not previously believe in God, had sarcastically asked his mother to “ask your God for a million dollars”.
However, his mother Gloria Bentivegna, follows the Catholic faith, and staying true to her belief refused to ask God for such a thing.
Taking his joke further, Sal then prayed out aloud saying, “God, I don’t know if you’re real or not, but if you are there, please let my mother win a million dollars.”
He added, “If Jesus wants me to believe in him, that’s what he’ll do”.
The following day his mother bought a “Lotto Tree” of unscratched instant win tickets from her Church’s charity auction. Sal was then left absolutely stunned when he found out his mother had won a million.
Realizing that the odds of his mother winning were so farfetched, Sal has now become a firm believer.
I credit Bentivegna for putting his money where his mouth was (or, in this case, putting his mother’s money where his mouth was?), but I have to wonder at his reasoning. Forget the question of why he would think his “answered prayer” would be so improbable given atheism as to overthrow it; I’m curious why he would think it proof of Jesus, of all gods? Look at some of the other items in the news, like this one:
A 14-year-old girl from Russia was so scared of the May 21 doomsday and rapture prediction made by Harold Camping that she committed suicide the same day, investigators said Wednesday. The teenager wanted to choose death rather than be among the ones suffering on earth after the rapture.
Where was Nastya Zachinova’s miracle? Even if we suppose that every low-probability “answered prayer” really is a miracle, their spotty distribution, and variation from the wonderful to the banal to the abhorrent, suggests the truth of some polytheistic religion like Asatru, rather than Christianity. If I were Bentivegna, I would not see the realization of his mock-prayer as the kind of thing that Jesus would do, all while allowing the children to suffer (and I’m sure many Christians will back me up on this); if one insists on drawing a religious conclusion from such an ultimately banal “miracle,” I would say it sounds more like the kind of thing a mischievous Loki would do.