Morgan Lake’s survival is not a miracle.

Morgan Lake is a young woman who recently survived after her car was pushed off a bridge by a semi that didn’t stop.  Kelly Wright at Fox News is puffing out his chest, cross necklace and all, claiming that we now have proof of miracles.

He opens with a Jon Bon Jovi quote:

“Miracles happen everyday, change your perception of what a miracle is and you’ll see them all around you.” — Jon Bon Jovi

This is actually true.  When you take the word “miracle” as meaning an act of god and change it to mean “something with a low probability of happening, but still completely explicable through natural means” then yes, you will see some “miracles”.  By the latter definition, it’s a miracle every time somebody dies in a plane crash.  The odds that they were going to die were astronomically small.  God must have backhanded the plane out of the sky.

Conclusion: god’s an ass.

Oh, what’s that you say hypothetical Christian?  Plane crashes, though rare, are perfectly explicable through physics and human action?  Gotcha.  Now let’s talk about this Morgan Lake thing.

We should change our perception so we acknowledge miracles.

If we must “change our perception” to include supernatural explanations for what can be explained by realistic means, why don’t you just say “we should start accepting every hair-brained explanation that comes down the pipe”?  How about this: we acknowledge miracles when there’s evidence for them?

Such is the case with Morgan Lake whose car plunged 40 feet off Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay Bridge into the water below. Incredibly, Morgan managed to survive the horrifying ordeal. Many news outlets have reported her dramatic escape from death after her car but her mother explained to me, when I met both of them Tuesday, that some of those stations and networks deleted Morgan’s words of gratitude to God.

During my interview with Morgan, she emphasized that she wanted the whole story told. She wanted me to let you know how God’s supernatural power gave her superhuman strength to break free from a watery grave.

God gave her superhuman strength?  HOLY SHIT!  What happened?  Did she punch through the top of her car?  Did she kick out the windshield even against all the water pressure?  JESUSFUCKINGCHRISTONPOGOSTICKS TELL ME WHAT HAPPENED!

As Morgan was driving across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, she was feeling the euphoria of having one of those spectacular moments in time. Then suddenly…calamity struck.

It all happened in an instant, in a blink of an eye, but it felt like an eternity.

Morgan had slowed her car to a stop on the bridge for a toll. In her rear view mirror, as she blinked her eyes, she could see a large tractor trailer truck approaching.

As she blinked her eyes again as the truck showed no sign of slowing down. After the third blink of her eyes…Bam!

Morgan heard the thunderous crashing as the truck rammed into the rear of her car. The momentum of the truck began pushing Morgan’s car forward. She could see the jersey wall and the water below.

God was watching, but decided not to stop the truck.  Ok.

Her mind was frantically racing with thoughts and prayers for her car to stop on the bridge. Please, don’t go over this bridge into the water, she thought. Morgan felt helpless and she reasoned in her mind, “this is it! I’m going to die!”

So she prayed to god, who was watching the whole scene, that she wouldn’t go over the edge.  What happened next?

After being pushed along, on the top of the barrier between the bridge and the water, Morgan’s car was now plunging into the treacherous waters below. As the car quickly submerged beneath the water’s surface, fear and panic gripped Morgan.

Fancy that.

Her seatbelt was locked and would not open, her arms were now flailing about, and her mouth and body were filling up with water.

Morgan says; “I started to feel the drowning sensation. I didn’t like how it felt.” With that, she felt a rush of hope as she told herself; “I’m not going out this way — I’m not dying.”

Then suddenly… fortune struck.

Morgan says in that moment of defying death she reached out to God. And she claims God turned her situation around; “I just felt as if God touched my shoulder and pushed me back against my car into my seat to relax me.”

Morgan says that divine intervention allowed her to unlock her seat belt and then pull herself out of the driver side window, swim to the surface, then swimming to shore where help arrived.

…that’s the feat of superhuman strength; unlocking her seat belt?  Hey, I just performed a miracle of my own: I lifted my glass of water all the way to my face with only one hand.  Where are the sign ups to become one of the X-Men?  It seems like this whole thing is explicable by…wait for it…physics and human action.  Just like plane crashes.  But this one, this one is a miracle.

So god didn’t stop the truck despite Morgan’s prayers.  God also didn’t unclasp the seat belt – that was all Morgan.  And her window was open so the car filled with water, which equalized the pressure allowing Morgan to climb out.  This is proof of miracles?

Ok, so when an SUV went into a lake earlier this year and three people died, is that proof that god doesn’t give a shit?

In a universe without a god, sometimes people will survive car wrecks and sometimes they won’t.  This is precisely what we’d expect in a random, pitiless universe and, lo and behold, it’s precisely what we do see.  Yet some people look at all the times when someone does survive and claim god must’ve helped, as if without god car crashes would always be fatal.  One could use the same “reasoning” to point at all the wins by the Chicago Cubs and to then conclude that god is benevolent to them and that the Cubs are a great baseball team.  It’s shitty logic that sounds great on the “oh, you were just so lovely so god made the effort to save you” side, but it’s a huge dick thing to say when you realize that it comes with a corollary: “oh, god must not have cared about those other people who died nearly as much.”

This type of thing is intellectually weak, but it’s also the zenith of pretension: all wrapped up in a nice little bow by people who think their religion makes them humble.


Conversation with my dad about this article:

Ayup. SUPERHUMAN STRENGTH! Are you kidding me? What would be a good X-Man name for that particular mutant super power? How about "Normal Fuck" 2:02pm "The Unbuckler", who, in hazardous times, unbuckles her seatbelt. Woooo.

When the villains are on the attack, she reaches deep inside and wrests forth her power to…unbuckle a seat belt.

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About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.


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