Recently I posted about the theology book that stopped a bullet and likely saved a life. The news coverage I examined before writing that post sometimes made references to soldiers and others whose lives were saved by pocket Bibles with metal covers.
I enjoy hearing about these strange - and for many of us - inspiring occurrences. To the extent I consider myself religious, I also consider myself a pluralist. It is known fact that Christians haven't a corner on "miracle" stories. Spiritual sentiments have been a feature of humankind for at least as long as recorded history. The details about the understanding of those sentiments differ from people to people, but they all speak to a shared belief in a vaster reality.
For example, while researching stories of bullets being stopped by Bibles, I happened upon one where a soldier was saved by another religious symbol, a Star of David medal. The full account can be read online here. Or, for those who don't care for link-clicking, I'll offer the following summary.
Los Angeles Times writer Jack Foisie characterized the occurrence as "a close brush with death, a chance intervention of 'the almighty,' if the man is religious, of 'fate' if he is not."
The soldier involved, Lt. Mark J. Meirowitz, was a religious man who wore a Star of David medal around his neck. It was that medal which deflected a bullet, preventing it from decimating his lung and arteries.
In Meirowitz's own words:
I had no idea what hit me. I noticed my left arm was in an awkward position, so I reached over and grabbed it with my other hand. It was like grabbing a block of wood. I felt nothing, I remember saying, oh, my God, I've lost my arm.
But he had not lost his arm. The nickel-sized medal deflected the bullet. It was found later in the armored car he was riding in when shot, the upper part of the medal missing.
Coincidence? Surely. Something more? Ah, that's the rub. Stories like these are perfectly explainable by natural means. However, religious folks tend to see patterns in their lives, patterns in which individual events like this one would tend to stand out. For those who will allow nothing but the natural, patterns are often chalked up to luck - either good or bad. Religious folks tend to count good luck as blessings.