Rebuttal to Marshall Brain's "Why won't God heal amputees."
by Don V. Standeford 3/07/2013 / Death
When I read Chapter 1 of the internet book, “Why Won’t God Heal Amputees,” I found it difficult to determine the name of book’s author. Although the name “Thomas” comes up in several spots on the internet, that name seems contrived. After all, this writer is a “doubting Thomas” if ever one existed.
Further investigation reveals the author as “Marshall Brain.” Why this man would make it so difficult to find his real name, I don’t know. As a defender of the atheistic cause, Marshall Brain seems all too willing to fade into the background.
I won’t attempt to address the whole book, “Why Won’t God Heal Amputees.” There is a section in chapter one, however, that stands out to me. Here, Marshall Brain asks the reader to step into the shoes of a teacher who, while standing in front of her class, hears gunshots ringing out in other parts of the school. Marshall asks readers what they would do in such a situation. Instead of stopping there, Marshall goes on to explain to his readers what the real teacher, Neva Rogers, did in that very situation.
"If you were English teacher Neva Rogers at Red Lake high school, you would take immediate action. You would shut off the lights in the classroom. You would close and lock the classroom door. You would tell your students to crouch in a corner of the classroom to get out of harm’s way. Then you would stand in the middle of the room and begin praying to God. According to student witnesses, Ms. Rogers prayed, “God be with us. God help us.”"
Though “Why Won’t God Heal Amputees” begins with a very sensitive tone, it quickly devolves into crassness and accusations. While most writers would approach a subject such as the Red Lake High School murders carefully, Marshall Brain stomps right through the mud, no doubt getting much of it on his own face. Here is another excerpt from the book:
"He crosses the threshold of the classroom and looks at Ms. Rogers as she prays. He is armed with a massive 12-gauge shotgun. He raises the gun with both hands so it is pointing straight at Rogers’ head.
What should God do?"
How did this internet book accumulate the readership it has? This is a crass and unbelievable argument from the outset. While most look at Ms. Rogers as a hero for sitting in the middle of her classroom in prayer for the students she refused to abandon, Marshall Brain sees her as just another religious nut depending on God. Moreover, he has the gall to throw this whole manmade mess onto God’s lap.
"The gunman looks directly at Neva Rogers with his 12-gauge shotgun pointed at her skull. He pulls the trigger. Nothing happens. There is a click, but the gun does not fire. It seems like a miracle. Surely it is the hand of God."
Marshall Brain may seem like he’s building Ms. Rogers’ faith up here, but he’s merely capitalizing on the irony that the gun pointed at Neva Rogers jammed but the second gun used killed her immediately. In other words, he’s mocking her and the few seconds of life spared her by the jammed gun.
What an overused argument Marshall uses, the one that supposedly proves God does not exist since he, after all, often lets the human race act on its own. Yes, God allowed Ms. Rogers, one of his own, to be murdered by an atheist’s shotgun blast; but to claim that proves he either doesn’t care or doesn’t exist is absurd. There are many things in Heaven and on Earth that are not in your philosophy, Marshall Brain. God may have a thousand reasons for not intervening; it doesn’t always just boil down to your two simple conclusions.
We all die, and Ms. Rogers is no exception. But perhaps her death has inspired many who otherwise would not have experienced faith on such a strong, personal level. It should not be a surprise to Marshall that one of God’s children should be a martyr. Yes, God could have struck the gunman with a freak heart attack, caused an earthquake, or sent an angel to stop the murder from occurring, but that in no way means Ms. Rogers’ death had no meaning.
And since, in fact, Ms. Rogers’ horrid death, a death she embraced as inevitable, does have meaning; all of Marshall Brain’s efforts to prove the nonexistence of God through her so called “meaningless” death dissipate, leaving him with no argument.
I admit Marshall Brain’s slander of Ms. Rogers carries a certain power; however, it is the sick power of one person who, looking over the shoulder of a psychopath, judges with a smirk the weakness of a fellow human being at time of her death. The Nazis responsible for the death of millions of innocents had a similar attitude to that of Marshall Brain’s, a sense of superiority caused by the mere fact that they controlled the moment. As a result of this false sense of superiority, sick minds interpret their temporary power as ultimate power, though it is gone as quickly as reality dissipates into dust.
So for one moment in time Marshall Brain’s description of Ms. Rogers' last moments in her Red Lake High School classroom leaves Ms. Rogers with little dignity. He mocks her last minutes on this Earth. “According to student witnesses, Ms. Rogers prayed, “God be with us. God help us.” Of course he despises her final words and actions and seems to hold on to the philosophy of the gunman who killed her. After all, the gunman had ultimate control over all around him in that one moment. Ms. Rogers’ courage as she accepted her death, it would seem, is inferior to that of the mass murderer who took her life.
But how do we rate the courageous and determined way Ms. Rogers accepted her own murder at that same moment? She had a chance to leave the scene, but she instead returned to her class to be with her students in that time of danger. We have no reason to believe she wouldn’t have done the same even if she’d been sure her death was near. Is it more pathetic for a teacher, standing between a twelve gauge and her students, to be murdered while praying to her God for help, or for a fully armed murderer to exercise his temporary power by hurting others and then opting out of punishment by killing himself?
Because Ms. Rogers showed extreme bravery and remarkable character in the face of her own death, her existence was and is one of certainty and power, so for Marshall Brain to use her murder as proof of God’s inability or non-existence is not only insensitive but a logical fallacy, one that has gained much attention on his internet website but is flawed nonetheless. Ms. Rogers’ joins the many others in our world’s histories that have courageously faced their own last seconds standing up for what they believe in.
Where does that leave Marshall Brain? He and his atheist friends have kicked God out of schools. God didn’t pick up a 12 gauge shotgun, drive to Red Lake High School, and murder all those people. The murderer was all human.