Where was God on 9-11?

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A response to Rabbi Kushner’s comments on the Sept 11th attacks

Rabbi Kushner wrote this after 9-11. I’d like to analyze it in some detail as I think it lulls many people into a false wimpy view of God.

First here’s Kushner’s original article.

Where was your God on September 11, 2001

by Rabbi Kushner

How many of us have heard that question “Where was your GOD when the World Trade Center and the Pentagon was attacked?” Well I know where my GOD was the morning of September 11, 2001, GOD was very busy!

 God was trying to discourage anyone from taking these flights. Those four flights together held over 1000 passengers and there were only 266 aboard.

 GOD was on 4 commercial flights giving terrified passengers the ability to stay calm. Not one of the family members who were called by a loved one on one of the high-jacked [sic] planes said that passengers were screaming in the background. On one of the flights GOD was giving strength to passengers to try to overtake the highjackers [sic].

 GOD was busy trying to create obstacles for employees at the World Trade Center. After all, only around 20,000 were at the towers when the first jet hit. Since the buildings held over 50,000 workers, this was a Miracle in itself. How many of the people who were employed at the World Trade Center told the media that they were late for work or they had traffic delays.

 GOD was holding up 2-110 story buildings so that 2/3 of the workers could get out. I was so amazed that the top of the towers didn’t topple when the jets impacted. And when they did fall, they fell inward. GOD didn’t allow them to topple over, as many more lives would have been lost.

 And when the buildings went down, my GOD picked up almost 6,000 children and carried them home. Reassuring frightened children that the worst was over and the best was yet to come.

 GOD sat down and cried that 19 children could have so much hate in their hearts. That they didn’t choose GOD, but another god that doesn’t exist, and now they are lost forever.

GOD sent his children that are best trained for this disaster and had them save the few that were still alive, but unable to help themselves. And then sent many others to help in anyway they were needed.

 GOD still isn’t finished though, GOD held the love ones that were left behind in his/her arms. GOD comforts them daily. GOD’s other children are given the strength to reach out to them and help them in any way they can.

 And I believe GOD will continue to help us in what is to come. GOD will give the people in charge of this great nation the strength and the wisdom to do the right thing. GOD would never leave us in our time of need.

 So when anyone asks, “Where was your GOD on September 11”, you can say “everywhere”! And yes, although this is without a doubt the worst thing I have seen in my life, I see God’s miracles in every bit of it. I keep praying for those who don’t believe in GOD, every chance I have. I can’t imagine going through such a difficult time and not believing in GOD. Life would be hopeless!

My not so humble response to Rabbi Kushner

Sadly most people read this seemingly sweet, touching and reassuring explanation and seem satisfied and warmed by it. But the minute we think about this using our mind and not our emotions we see the inherent dangers of this Theology. May I show you how this fails and how the correct Theology is so much more powerful and reassuring.

We’ll take a few of his paragraphs and analyze them.

“How many of us have heard that question “Where was your GOD when the World Trade Center and the Pentagon was attacked?” Well I know where my GOD was the morning of September 11, 2001, GOD was very busy!

 God was trying to discourage anyone from taking these flights. Those four flights together held over 1000 passengers and there were only 266 aboard.”

 First we must understand, the hijackers actually chose a Tuesday when the flights would be the least full. They did this because they knew that it would be a lot easier to control 50 passengers with box cutters than 250 passengers with box cutters.

Secondly let’s discuss God “trying” to discourage people. If God was really trying to discourage people as Kushner claims, why didn’t he succeed in discouraging everyone including the pilots, in which case United would have probably had to cancel the flight. In fact while God was at it, couldn’t he have created a simple mechanical failure that would have grounded these 4 flights completely or had a weather pattern that forced the planes to sit on the tarmac and finally return to the gates? Or why didn’t God create four small fuel leaks that would have forced the planes to run out of fuel while they were over farmland?

This means that either God was
a)      Unable to discourage enough people including the pilots or
b)      Too stupid to think of the mechanical failure idea or the fuel leak idea when plan “A” failed.

 Kushner continues: “GOD was on 4 commercial flights giving terrified passengers the ability to stay calm. Not one of the family members who were called by a loved one on one of the high-jacked [sic] planes said that passengers were screaming in the background. On one of the flights GOD was giving strength to passengers to try to overtake the highjackers[sic].”

 It does occur to me that if all the passengers on all the flights had freaked out and made enough of a fuss, beating and pounding on the cockpit doors, throwing things at the hijackers, doing things like opening exit doors mid-flight, all the four planes may have crashed long before they got to their destinations. The truth of the matter is that the “calmness” of the passengers was actually their and our undoing. It allowed 3 sets of the 4 cowardly murderers to complete their destructive mission without impediment.

 Kushner then says: “GOD was busy trying to create obstacles for employees at the World Trade Center. After all, only around 20,000 were at the towers when the first jet hit. Since the buildings held over 50,000 workers, this was a Miracle in itself. How many of the people who were employed at the World Trade Center told the media that they were late for work or they had traffic delays.”

This paragraph is really a continuation of the first few paragraphs and deserves the same answer. Rabbi Kushner’s “God” was “trying” to create obstacles. Why didn’t this God do something simple like create a water leak in both towers in the WTC at 8 am in the morning, such that they evacuated everyone except perhaps the plumbers. What if these plumbers then were on the lower floors when the planes hit the towers, so they were able to make it out safely? Surely God could have thought of that before I did. Or an even simpler solution would have been to have a small fire in the power distribution center of the WTC which would have disabled all the elevators and all the air conditioning so that everybody would have gotten to work in the morning and have been told to go home till it was all sorted out. The planes would then have hit the empty towers reducing the casualties.

But the real question is why was God unable to create enough obstacles to stop everyone from being near or in the towers?

 Kushner again: “GOD was holding up 2-110 story buildings so that 2/3 of the workers could get out. I was so amazed that the top of the towers didn’t topple when the jets impacted. And when they did fall, they fell inward. GOD didn’t allow them to topple over, as many more lives would have been lost.”

First we should understand that the towers were specifically designed NOT to topple in case a Jumbo Jet accidentally struck them. Instead what happened was that the towers crumbled from within. Thus making mute the concept of ever toppling. The real question is why did God even allow the Towers to crumble? Couldn’t He have held the towers up long enough for EVERYONE to escape if he had wanted to? Why didn’t God make it so the planes only crashed into the towers and everyone on all the other floors were able to escape. Or even better, why didn’t God inspire the architect of the towers back in the 70’s to foresee the crumbling and to build them such that they wouldn’t have crumbled on themselves at all.

 Kushner: “And when the buildings went down, my GOD picked up almost 6,000 children and carried them home. Reassuring frighten children that the worst was over and the best was yet to come.”

We now know that the number is closer to 3300, but at the time we all thought it was over 6000. But the point is that I believe that Rabbi Kushner is saying that 6000 people went to heaven that day. Unfortunately I wish that was true, but unfortunately the Bible tells us that we have to be born again to enter the kingdom of heaven. I’ll tell you the greatest tragedy in all this. It’s not the Christians who died in the attacks. We weep for their families who will miss them. But they are in heaven and will be reunited with their families one day. The great tragedy is in those who died not knowing our Lord and Savior for they will face eternal judgment. This could hardly be surmised as the “best being yet to come”. And we would be doing everybody a terrible disservice if we pretended that everything will be hunky dory when in fact it isn’t. That’s like telling people who have a curable disease, not to worry about it. When we should in fact be giving them the medicine for it. How cruel would that be.

 Kushner: GOD sat down and cried that 19 children could have so much hate in their hearts. That they didn’t choose GOD, but another god that doesn’t exist, and now they are lost forever.

Why didn’t God make those 19 hateful children have a terrible accident the day of the attack, such that they were paralyzed and couldn’t move. Why are they lost forever? What constitutes loss? What in Rabbi Kushner’s moral economy justifies a God sending anyone to be “lost” forever?  Here’s another tough question, why did the 19 hijackers deserve to be lost forever but none of the “6000 children that were carried home”.

 Kushner: “GOD sent his children that are best trained for this disaster and had them save the few that were still alive, but unable to help themselves. And then sent many others to help in anyway they were needed.” 

Actually this is an interesting statement and just nitpicking. But I have to say it. First why would anyone who wasn’t trained to help go to help? I’m puzzled about this? I can’t imagine all the hairdressers saying. Hey, let’s go down there and enter the burning building. Of course the best trained went. Who else would go? Secondly this is a double-edged sword, because the best trained who went had the buildings collapse on them. Why didn’t God prevent the “best trained” from making it in the building. Had he delayed them till after the towers fell, all those best trained may still be alive.

 Kushner: “GOD still isn’t finished though, GOD held the love ones that were left behind in his/her arms. GOD comforts them daily. GOD’s other children are given the strength to reach out to them and help them in any way they can. 

And I believe GOD will continue to help us in what is to come. GOD will give the people in charge of this great nation the strength and the wisdom to do the right thing. GOD would never leave us in our time of need.”

I find this to be very interesting statement from a Jewish person. Does Rabbi Kushner feel that God left his ancestors in their time of need when the kings of Babylon and Persia came and dragged them to their exile in the Old Testament. Does he feel that God left his uncles and aunts when they were being annihilated by Hitler in the 1940’s? Was not that their time of need? Obviously it was. Secondly what is the value of a God who is unable to stop bad things being with us? Is he there merely to hold our hands as we are killed? All the while vainly wishing that his creation would not be so “naughty” and “evil?”

 Kushner: “So when anyone asks, “Where was your GOD on September 11”, you can say “everywhere”! And yes, although this is without a doubt the worst thing I have seen in my life, I see God’s miracles in every bit of it. I keep praying for those who don’t believe in GOD, every chance I have. I can’t imagine going through such a difficult time and not believing in GOD. Life would be hopeless!”

The final questions is: Why? Why is Rabbi Kushner praying? If his God is unable to stop planes from hitting the WTC, unable to stop 19 men from choosing evil, unable to stop people from going to work and dying? Then what exactly are we praying to this God for? It is of no use to pray to a God for those who don’t believe in that God, because that same God is unable to do anything about it. So what good is it praying? All we have is a god of feeble ineffective good intentions and platitudes. So why is Rabbi Kushner wasting his time praying at all? That’s what I’d like to know.

In summary I am saying that Rabbi Kushner’s God is not a God, but rather a very weak politician (Lord Chamberlain comes to mind) running around asking feebly for cooperation (from Hitler in the ‘good’ Lord Chamberlain’s case) and never getting it. All the while hoping for the best but sadly wringing his hands wishing all these people would please please please just listen to him. But they don’t. But this feeble God keeps trying.

Imagine if you would, a classroom with a feeble ineffective teacher. Unable to stop her students from killing some of the weaker students, yet unable to punish the killers, and worse yet, unable to get anyone else to help. All she can do is hope that the bad students would maybe somehow listen to her feeble and vain pleadings for them to stop. Imagine this going on for thousands of years. Life would indeed be hopeless if we served such a feeble God. For what could we place our trust on? Not God, certainly because that type of a god can’t get anything done and can’t be ever trusted to ever be able to affect or effect anything.

I have just got to say: That is not the ALMIGHTY GOD that I serve. That is not the God that destroyed the ENTIRE army of the Egyptians in the Bible. The God that destroyed the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. That is not the God that put the stars in the sky. That is not the God who delicately and tenderly created you and me. That is not the God who created the infinite boundaries of time and space. That’s not the God who will destroy entire nations at the end of time. That’s not the God whose heavenly armies will “Reap the earth”, nor is he the God who has loosed the fateful lightening of his terrible swift sword. The God I serve created the heavens and the earth and NOTHING can happen without his express permission or his will. And if my God decides to do something then by golly IT WILL HAPPEN. Whether you like it or not! Whether Rabbi Kushner or anyone prays or not

But do not feel that I have taken anything away from you, let me see if I can reassure you in some small part.

My humble response to the WTC attacks
September 12, 2001

Yesterday while watching TV, I started to cry. Just watching the unspeakable horror of what was happening to our people, our nation, our flesh and blood, broke something in me. But this wasn’t an act of violence against America, it wasn’t an act of violence against a nation, this despicable act of violence was an act of violence against the world. For in one fell swoop, these terrorists managed to kill people from probably every single nation on our earth. By picking the World Trade Center in New York, they killed, Indians, Chinese, Japanese, Koreans, Egyptians, Palestinians, Ethiopians, Pakistanis, you name it. From the stockbrokers at their desks to the small Muslim halaal restaurant owners around the foot of the towers, from the CEOs in the corner offices to the taxi cab drivers; as anyone who has ever been to New York City knows, there are more immigrants there than even the Bay Area in California. Every nation should recoil in audacity of the killing of their people. Every nation should now realize that if the mighty US is vulnerable, how much more are they. Every nation should now set out to find and bring justice to the killers of their people and to make an example of them to others.

What really scared us
But I think what scared most of us was that terrorism had finally come to our shores, across the impenetrable waters of the twin oceans. Being an Indian who had grown up in the Middle East and Africa, I had finally gotten to immigrate here, and for years I thought I was safe from the violence that I had seen growing up. But what kept Hitler and Japan at bay has succumbed, not to technology but to tourism and free trade. The ability to travel freely anywhere anytime, allowed this despicable act of violence against the world. For it allows those who hate our freedom and way of life to mingle freely with us and take advantage of the very freedom that they hate.

Our fear
And yet in all this, as Christians there are many of us who tremble at what is to come. Many of us feel that God is grieving in the heavens about this sorry state of events. We feel that God is wringing his hands about the evil that men do and the evil that affects our lives. I have heard of people who tell us that God is not responsible for the evil that men do. They say this terrible event could not have been God’s responsibility, because, they say God is only a God of love. They also say that God is bound by our freewill and thus he is unable to do anything and thus he sits mourning the pain that mankind brings upon each other. Wishing desperately but unable to stop it. This is mainly because they feel that a God, who does not stop evil, is an evil God. Thus they feel that God must be unable or bound by some principle and thus unable to stop evil. Others say that God was doing His level best to prevent the tragedy from being worse. That He was doing his best to prevent people from getting to work, trying to make them miss flights so that they would not die.

That is not the God of the Bible
But that is not the kind of God we serve. That is not the kind of God described in the Bible. We serve a Mighty God. We serve an ALL POWERFUL God. There is nothing in this world that can happen without God’s express permission. Call it preordained or call it allowed. God is in Control. Total absolute control. And today when we feel that the world is spinning out of control, falling apart, and evil is triumphing over good. This is the exact time when the concept of an ALL POWERFUL God is very comforting.

Yes terrible things happened. But do not for one instance in time even allow the thought to cross your mind that our God could NOT have stopped each and every one of those terrible things had he so sovereignly willed.

Why?
Sure we may ask why? Why would God allow such horrible things to happen? The only Biblical answer we can give is that whether it be this year or the next millennium- God is bringing about the eventual plan for his final consummation and the calling of his people this way. God is changing hearts and minds in this way. God is calling the nation to Him, this way. God is going to glorify Himself in this way. God is going to show his love and mercy to his people in this way. God is going to bring people to the realization of his love and mercy by allowing these things to happen. Just watch and see.

And remember the reality is that a God who CAN stop evil and doesn’t, is not really different from a God who expressly permits or allows evil. Both types of God seem abhorrent to us… if we only look at it from our viewpoint. But the minute we look at it from God’s viewpoint we see why that is not the case. God is in the business of glorifying himself. And death is only a minor transition from a temporary state to a permanent state. In God’s eyes, death is not as big a deal. In our eyes it’s a terribly big deal. That’s why we are not allowed to murder people, but God is allowed to kill people. Note also that there is no “murder” for God. Just like there is no stealing for God, as He owns it all.

For all those thousands who died, they were ushered into the Presence of the Almighty God. The real tragedy is that there are hundreds of them who never came to know of the saving Grace of Jesus Christ before they died. But for the saved, we only mourn for those whom they left behind. For they who died are in glory, a far better place than we have ever been before.

Some Verses
Dan. 4:35 All the peoples of the earth are regarded as nothing. He does as he pleases with the powers of heaven and the peoples of the earth. No one can hold back his hand or say to him: “What have you done?”

Let me repeat that portion: He does as he pleases with the powers of heaven and the peoples of the earth. No one can hold back his hand…Not Osama Bin Laden, not Saddam Hussien, not Yassir Arafat.

Psalms 115:3   Our God is in heaven; he does whatever pleases him.

Psalms 33:10 The LORD foils the plans of the nations; he thwarts the purposes of the peoples.11 But the plans of the LORD stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations. 

There is a saying on Vulcan. Mensh Placht, Gott Laught. Sounds like Klingon, doesn’t it? Mensh Placht, Gott Laught.
OK it’s not Vulcan or Klingon. Actually it is Yiddish; it means “Man plans, God laughs.”

Do the Russians love their children too?
Back in about 1986 or so, during the height of the cold war years between the USSR and the United States; during the time when President Reagan was talking about the feasibility of a limited nuclear war. It was the time they were discussing the Strategic Defense Initiative, commonly known as the Star Wars Defense. The talking heads on TV had been discussing how we could survive a nuclear war and how Russia could attack us. It was around this time that the singer Sting came out with a song. It starts with a ticking of a time bomb. And asks the question

“Do the Russians love their children too? How do I save my little boy, from Oppenheimer’s deadly toy?”

In case you forgot, Oppenheimer was the genius behind the Atomic Bomb that ended World War II. And that song by Sting would depress me, because I was worried about what would happen to us in the future, I was worried about what the implications of a limited nuclear war was, I was worried that things were getting out of control.

That was, until I listened to this great song by the group Petra.

He’s got the whole world by Petra.
Back to the Street Album.

Hearts failing left and right,
Children fear this planet’s plight.
Fatalistic fears abound
and take their toll without a sound

But through the vague uncertainty
Comes a bold assurity
This world is under sovereignty
Divinely ordered Destiny

He holds the world together
with the Word of His power
safe within his hands
until HIS own appointed hour

And He’s still got the whole world in his hands, tonight.
And only he knows where the sparrow lands tonight
And nothing in this world can change his plans tonight
because he’s still got the whole world in his hands…tonight.

Humanistic lies lament
the Holocaust is imminent
Doomsday prophets in the news
predicting who will light the fuse

[But] the fate of his creation isn’t subject to a man
the final consummation is according to HIS plan

‘Cause he’s still got the whole world in his hands…tonight.
He’s got you and me, in his hands tonight

And nothing in this world can change his plans tonight
because he’s still got the whole world in his hands…tonight.


Isaiah. 55:8  “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. 9    “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. 10   As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, 11  so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

Isaiah 45:5-7 I am the LORD, and there is no other; apart from me there is no God… 6 from the rising of the sun to the place of its setting men may know there is none besides me. I am the LORD, and there is no other. 7 I form the light and create darkness, I bring prosperity and create disaster; I, the LORD, do all these things.

Psalms 139:16 Your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

In conclusion

What am I saying: I am saying, take comfort in an Almighty God who is in control. Take comfort in a God who knows what his plans are for you. Yes, we may be bewildered in what is happening, but remember, “the fate of his creation isn’t subject to a man, the final consummation is according to His plan.” Our job is to obey Him and do His Will and love Him with all our heart. He intends refine us.

I Pet 1:6-7 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have suffered grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith – of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire – may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.

God lets us go through trials to refine us. Our job is to be refined, to reach out to the lost and dying with compassion, help and the Good News of Salvation. And most of all, our job is to glorify Him and enjoy Him forever in a multidimensional eternity, and all the time to rest in His love, in the comfort of the Holy Spirit.

Neil Mammen
September 12, 2001
Neil’s web page: http://www.NoBlindFaith.com

Some fellow Christian Apologetics Alliance Blogs on the same topic
(Various theological views are represented)

Radio Shows about Caroline

We’ve been honored to have been on Frank Turek’s Radio Show on American Family Radio and Greg Koukl of Stand to Reason did a tremendous job of reading Anna’s comments on his show in January 2010.
If you’d like to listen to either of these here are the links:

American Family Radio by Frank Turek of CrossExamined.org- listen here: http://action.afa.net/Radio/Talk/Podcasts/CrossExamined/ (see the podcast for Jan 9th, 2010)

Greg Koukl (Stand to Reason) read Anna’s comments on the air on KBRT in LA- listen here: http://www.strcast2.org/podcast/weekly/011010.m3u (it’s mainly the initial monologue, then Greg goes on to deal with caller questions – he actually has Dr. Fuz Rana a microbiologist on later talking about the latest fossil findings that undermine evolution which is fascinating.)

Some great news with Frank’s show, the day after the show aired I received an email from an gentlemen who had left the faith. He heard the show and went to my website www.NoBlindFaith.com and read my paper on Agent X. He then sent me an email here’s an excerpt:

Neil, I can find no other words other than to simply thank you and your wife for sharing your journey. Know that because of your faith and your very personal walks with God, that you have profoundly touched one more person. I was listening to you speak on AFR out here in North Carolina on Saturday. Please take my brief story as one more proof that God is working through you, God is working though your daughter….
My most fundamental problem with faith has been reconciling my logical mind with faith as I had learned it.
I have not made the step to truly re-accepting God, because of that personal hurdle.
I jotted down your book title and web site as I drove and that night I printed your shortened essay on Agent X and read it, and re-read it late into the next morning.
It was precisely what I needed at this point in my walk, and it has kindled my desire to make new big strides on my way to a meaningful Faith and all that God intends.
So just thank you for your faith and sharing it with me.
Signed David L.

David and I have been corresponding and he’s looking at using the Agent X material to witness to others. Pray for this ministry in his life.

Caroline’s Story by Anna and Neil Mammen

Many of you have asked if you could have a copy of Anna and my comments at the memorial service for Caroline. I have posted them here. If you wish to follow the events sequentially please read the previous blog posts first.
https://neilmammen.wordpress.com/2009/11/30/babycaroline/
and https://neilmammen.wordpress.com/2009/12/01/caroline-lois-is-going-home/
and https://neilmammen.wordpress.com/2009/12/01/caroline-lois-mammen-is-home/

Caroline’s Memorial Service

Anna

On behalf of our entire family we want to thank you so much for being here today to honor our little girl, Caroline Lois Mammen. We’ve been tremendously strengthened and encouraged by your generosity of spirit and love. We can literally feel the prayers being offered up in this time and again we thank you!

Since most of you didn’t get to meet her, I wanted the chance to tell you a little about Caroline.

Her Story.

Caroline’s due date is actually today, Dec. 5th. She surprised us and was born two weeks early on November 22 at Good Sam. From the moment I laid eyes on her, I fell in love with her. While it was similar with Mary Katherine three years ago, there was something special about Caroline. When I saw her, my heart instantly went out to her and I immediately burst out in tears- which didn’t happen with Mary Katherine. Looking back I think it was because, while we didn’t realize or know anything was wrong at the time, she was a special needs child and these beautiful children have a way of capturing your heart.

Almost immediately, the doctor recognized that she had a cleft palate (a small hole in the roof of her mouth) and she had to be taken to the NICU. They assured me she’d be back soon as it wasn’t serious and they weren’t even admitting her in there. They just needed to monitor her and teach her to eat using a special bottle. I visited her and was so grateful she wasn’t as sick or tiny as the other babies. In fact at 7lb. 3 oz and 20 inches long she looked like she didn’t belong in there.

But things got worse. I don’t consider myself to be a nervous “new mom” but it seemed every few hours that I’d go to visit or get a phone call –the news would be worse than the last time. First, it was the feeding tubes, as she wasn’t eating as much as they hoped. A few hours later, she was on an I.V., as she couldn’t keep her food down. The next day it was the shock of going to visit her and finding her in a complete incubator with tiny purple goggles on her little eyes and lights, as she was jaundice. I couldn’t hold her anymore because she needed the light therapy.

A few hours later, a cardiologist came to visit me in my room. Caroline had two holes in her heart. Even this news I felt I could manage as the condition is relatively common and my best friend’s one year old Ruthie has a hole that is in the process of growing shut. They were fairly sure Caroline wouldn’t need surgery at all. Still I cried as I was exhausted and just really wanted to hold ……and smell…. my baby again. I missed that newborn baby’s breath smell as it’s one of my most favorite things.

After that, while in my hospital room I got another, more serious call. While in the NICU Caroline had “crashed”… There were apparently other heart problems that hadn’t been seen at first – among them a small aorta and as a result her blood supply had failed starving her of oxygen until they were able to restart her blood supply. At two days old, they were transferring her to the Stanford Children’s Hospital in anticipation of giving her heart surgery. I was discharged that night. Exhausted and overwhelmed, I went home with no baby. And Neil followed the ambulance to the hospital.

But the heart surgery was put on hold. While at Stanford, they discovered the lack of oxygen had done damage to her kidneys, liver, and possibly brain. We’d have to wait and pray. And we did. We sent out emails and messages and heard back from so many of you. And we were hopeful and encouraged by them. We believed that God COULD do a miracle. He’d created her (and everything else), He could heal her. But WOULD He? What was the plan for her life? We prayed desperately for her and visited her in the NICU everyday. She was on a morphine drip for the pain, but we sang to her and sat with her and talked to her and touched her as much as we could and took pictures with her. And we loved her. One of her many wonderful nurses said we’d set a record for the number of bows, hats and clips brought in for a little girl in such a short time span.

Throughout the past two weeks there were two moments that were the worst. Obviously one was when Caroline was dying in our arms. The second worst moment was what I call the “Dress Rehearsal” of her death. It was when –one week ago today– we got the phone call telling us she’d likely die.

The call came at 9:00 in the morning. Neil had me leave the room while he talked to the NICU doctor. Then we sat on our bed as he tried to “soften” the most awful news possible. The doctor was “very worried” as her kidneys were putting out mostly blood and the damage seemed severe. She wouldn’t qualify for a kidney transplant, as her heart wasn’t strong enough. Caroline’s death was now a very real possibility. I remember everything turning black and feeling like the bed was going to open up and swallow me. I felt my heart had been ripped from my chest and that I was free falling into the blackest abyss I could imagine. And I didn’t know what to do. I kept asking, “What do I do? I don’t know what to do? How can this happen?” I also remember saying, “How will we go on? How will I raise Mary Katherine?”

Neil held me and we cried and I sobbed. And then my mom came in and she cried with us and I sobbed. And we prayed. And then my mom left us alone and I sobbed some more.

And then Neil started feeding me. And feeding me. Feeding me lines of truth. He gently said,

“She’s not ours.”

“We don’t deserve her.”

“This happens everyday all over the world.”
“We’re not special.”

“We will go on. We will have more kids. We will not let this harden us.”

And I was comforted.

You may think those are strange things to say and to take comfort in, but let me tell you why it wasn’t for us. You see when I met Neil he had two passions that stood out. One was for something known as apologetics. Apologetics is the logical, rational, scientific study and approach to God and Christianity. It’s the investigation to questions such as, “Is the Bible TRUE? I mean REALLY, capital “T” TRUE? Or is it full of errors?” “Is it a book of fairy tales and wishful thinking?” “How can you trust that it’s accurate? Isn’t it just a copy of a copy of a copy?” “Is there solid evidence that Jesus ever even lived at all much less died and rose again?” “Are the places and people in the Bible real?” “What sources outside of the Bible can back up Biblical accounts of history?” “Is there enough evidence to be convincing? Would it hold up in a court of law?” “How does evidence for the truth of Christianity compare to evidence for other religions?” As many of you know, this is something that Neil writes and speaks on. Why I’m bringing this up is because in that moment -up until that time the worst in my life- I was so thankful that I didn’t have the added burden of questioning my belief and faith in God. And that’s because I hadn’t made the decision based on tradition or emotion. I had a faith that stood upon reasonable evidence.

Secondly, Neil and I both grew up in homes passionate about theology. For the nine years we’ve been married, we’ve enjoyed discussing the tough questions of life and death and God and reality. Questions like, “Is God good? Uninvolved? Indifferent?” “If God is good, why does He allow suffering in the world?” “Why do BAD things happen to ‘good’ people?” “What about miracles? Who gets them and when and why? Are they only for the REALLY good people? How does my faith play into miracles?” “Does God punish his people?” We read and chew-on and discuss and argue and go to conferences and listen to podcasts on long road trips about these issues because we find them interesting and worthwhile. And they are a part of the diet of our lives. So, when I found myself face to face with that black Abyss, Neil fed me the statements of solid conclusions we’d already thought through …and it stabilized me. I know that for me personally cherubs and clichés of guardian angels and some fuzzy picture of an old man in the sky with a long beard wouldn’t have been enough as my daughter lay dying 30 miles from my house. All of those things would have washed away. In fact, tradition and my religious up-bringing instantly vanished and couldn’t have been less important. But Neil reminded me of these Truths and I grabbed hold of them. They were my lifeline.

“She’s not ours” – He meant that she’s God’s. She, like you and I, were made in His image with a purpose and a set number of days and has a life beyond the 9 months (growing in me) and 9 days on this earth. While we pray she touches your hearts and she changes us– makes us more sensitive, softer and loving– makes this world a better place. Beyond all that, she is a soul eternal. She isn’t a concept or past tense. She’s her own precious person still existing right now.

“We don’t deserve her” – We are fallen, imperfect people who fall short of the glory of God, yet He’s saved us. Every good gift, including the 9 days with Caroline, comes from Him. Throughout our marriage, Neil has made comments whenever blessings have come our way that we are undeserving of them. We’d get a new car and he’d at some point say, “You know we don’t deserve this.” When we bought our house, at some point he’d comment “We’ve been so blessed, you know we don’t deserve any of this” and I’d respond, “I know, I know… you’re right.” When Mary Katherine was born he said the same thing. So when he said we don’t deserve Caroline I knew exactly what he meant. And I agreed. And the blessing of our coming to the conclusion that we don’t “DESERVE” something – that we aren’t owed or entitled anything by God- is that it stops the root of bitterness and anger from taking hold and growing.

“This happens everyday all over the world. We’re not special.” — Again, that’s TRUE. We are no more special than any of you. No one escapes suffering or death. When I look out across this room, my heart aches for what I know many of you have gone through and are going through in all kinds of scenarios. And even now- with our daughter right over there- throughout the course of this week we’ve heard from some of you the tragic stories of your lives- and we’ve commented to each other, “How are they surviving that?” “Now that would have been so hard.” I can’t imagine how difficult it must be to lose your mom, to face cancer, to suffer abuse, to manage chronic pain day in and day out.

This is not the last of our suffering. And whatever you’ve been through, it’s not the last of yours either. We aren’t special.

Finally, Neil also said, “We know where she’s going. And we’ll see her again.”

Our daughter, Caroline Lois, is in heaven. She has been HEALED completely. She has a new body* and we can’t wait to see her again.

Caroline’s Memorial Service

Neil

Our daughter, Caroline Lois, is in heaven. She has been HEALED completely. She has a new body* and we can’t wait to see her again.

To an analytical, logical, skeptical engineer like me this would seem like just a nice sentiment. A nice myth. But the reality is that it may not be true.

“Ah” we may think, “so what if it’s not true, at least it makes us all feel good, and prevents pain, how can it hurt us, it will comfort us. It’s a comforting myth.”

But it struck me that that’s perhaps the mildest of the scenarios. I realized that there is a worst case scenario. What if it’s a lie and the real truth is something completely different, something that by believing a lie results in a terrible terrible fate. A terrible fate that I could have prevented had I studied the evidence. For if it is a lie, I have not only no hope for Caroline but I may be dooming myself and my entire family by believing this myth. It occurred to me that surely it’s worthwhile to look into this? I likened it to someone telling me the bridge has a huge section broken halfway out. Where I can’t see it. Now I may not care when I’m NOT driving towards the bridge. But say, one day I find that I do indeed need to cross the bridge. Even if I don’t believe the reports of the bridge being out, surely it’s worthwhile to look into it.

With my sweet Caroline’s death I am reminded that one day we all need to cross the bridge. We are staring death in the face today. We are in the middle of the storm. And one day all of us will face it.

So I for one, want to be sure beyond a reasonable doubt that what I believe in, is true. That it’s not just a useful myth. But that it is factually TRUE.

Our daughter, Caroline Lois, is in heaven. She has been HEALED completely. She has a new body* and we can’t wait to see her again.

What my wonderful, patient, longsuffering, gorgeous and loving wife said is true. I believe this about Caroline because our Apologetics (the factual evidence for our faith) proves our Theology.

That apologetics allows me to prove using science that God really exists.

That apologetics allows me to prove using historical evidence, facts and logic that Jesus Christ was a real person and that he physically rose from the dead proving that He was God.

If this IS true then it’s also true that Christ is the grave robber.

For as 1 Corinthians 15 says, if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is our faith. If Christ has not been raised then we Christians are fools to be pitied more than all men.

But as we can prove Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the first risen fruits of those who have died.

Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.

Our mortality will put on immortality; our perishable will put on the imperishable.  Death will be swallowed up in victory. Then we can say:

“Where, O death, is your victory?

Where, O death, is your sting?”

Thanks be to God for He has given us the victory over death through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Our Lord Jesus Christ is the Grave Robber who comes to steal us away.

And thus, now once our Apologetics has proven and verified our Theology, then can our Theology strengthen and direct our Hope. And yes though we are sad and cry and miss our sweet little Caroline, that verified Hope can lead our emotions and give us security, peace, comfort & joy in this wonderful season of Christmas. This season of God’s promise of life.

And that’s why we can truly say: Our daughter, Caroline Lois, is in heaven. She has been healed completely. She has a new body and we can’t wait to see her again. And what’s great, I can prove that to be the most reasonably, most logical TRUTH.

Some have asked how we manage to be so joyous in these circumstances. It is these things that we have proven. It is these things that we stand on. It is these things that give us a solid ground for our faith and our hope.

Our Apologetics verifies our Theology. Our Theology directs our Hope and our Hope guides our Emotions.

That and the love of a wonderful gorgeous woman who believes in me and believes in us. With her and our dear supporting families who are always close, we can take on the world. I am truly blessed and deserve none of it.

Yet still, many of you have asked me what you can do for me. You’ve asked how you can help us. Can I collect today on that request? You can indeed help us make Caroline Lois’ life more meaningful. Here’s my request. You see one of my passions; one of my purposes in life is to explain this to you.

To show you the scientific evidence that I believe conclusively and reasonably proves that God exists,

The manuscript evidence that proves the Bible is Accurate

and the historical evidence that proves Jesus Christ rose from the dead showing us he was God.

To show you how and why our Apologetics verifies our Theology. Our Theology directs our Hope and our Hope guides our Emotions.

So here’s my request. Here’s what you can do for us? Let’s go out to lunch or coffee or dinner. Let me show you my evidence, I have five major points. I won’t force them on you. Feel free to disagree every step of the way, it will make it more interesting for one. But let me show you those 5 points. Hear me out. That’s what you can do for me. Those conversations with you will make our friendship stronger and my Caroline’s life that much more meaningful to me, because her life is what allowed us to talk about these normally taboo subjects. Will you do that for me? You don’t even need to pay for my lunch.

I want to close with one thought, if I may. For a while as she lay dying, I thought while I know I will see her again, oh what sorrow that Caroline will never get to live her life here on earth. She lost out.

Many times we think our purpose in life is what we do here on earth. What we do for others. These are all important. But I realized that I’d forgotten that we are not created primarily for the earth. We are created primarily for eternity. You see as the Westminster Confessional says: The Chief purpose of Man is to Glorify God and Enjoy Him forever.

Let me say that again.

The Chief purpose of Man is to Glorify God and Enjoy Him forever.

If we think our chief purpose is to Glorify God here on EARTH we have only a minute fraction of the picture. For if my Theology which is proven by my apologetics is true, we will spend more time in Eternity in the presence or the absence of the Almighty God, than we will ever spend here on earth. Amen.

My dear friends, who have so honored us by being here today, our sweet Caroline’s chief purpose is to Glorify God and Enjoy Him FOREVER. She has not lost out. She has not missed out, she is not lost. She is in fact doing precisely that. Enjoying God.

My sweet kind friends, I wish oh so much, for you to enjoy God as well, for I fear that if we don’t we will lose out. We may not lose a mere 80 years on earth that we thought Caroline had lost, but we may lose something far more permanent and eternal.

Something that Caroline has right now and can never lose.

Thank you.

Neil

Caroline’s Dad.

If you are interested to find out what apologetics is and to find out the evidence I have referred to here please go to www.NoBlindFaith.com use the drop down menu to go to Sermons and General Topics.

* To be more accurate. “She will have a new body on the New Earth.” The Bible says that God will give us a new body at the time of the resurrection of the dead. A multidimensional body that will not die.

Caroline Lois Mammen is home

Tuesday, December 01, 2009 12:41 PM

Today Caroline is with her Lord and my Lord.

This morning at 1:10 AM, I held her, as she went from our ever so limited four dimensional space, to the multidimensionality* of eternal life where there are more colors, more sounds, more tastes, more senses and everything is so far far more wonderful that this dim world pales in comparison. Tis truly a far better place that she is now. She was 9 months and 9 days old counting from when she became human in the womb. She was born on November 22nd, 2009.

She went from me, her dad’s arms, to her Father’s arms.

We are planning a memorial service on Saturday, most probably at Venture Christian Church in Los Gatos. We will post details as we know them.

We praise God in all He has given us. We do miss her greatly and feel the sorrow of parting, but do not despair for us or for her. Mourn instead for those who do not know our Lord and lead them gently to Him. Use words.

Thanks so much to all of you who have written or called or posted on our facebook. It truly shows us how much we are loved and cared for.
Neil

http://www.NoBlindFaith.com

*If you are wondering what all the multidimensional references are about, please see this link:
http://www.noblindfaith.com/sermon/TheSingularityWhoisAgentX.pdf
Proving God exists using science and without using the Bible

Caroline Lois is going home

On Monday Dec 1st, 2009, Neil Mammen wrote:
Caroline Lois is going to go home to her Lord and my Lord very soon. Perhaps tonight.

We are selfishly trying to keep her here a bit longer, here in 4D space, perhaps an hour or two. But do not be sad for us or worry about her or us for that matter, as we have full assurance that she is going to far greater place than she has ever been before and we too will meet her there one day. To tie a few famous phrases together:

“It’s a far better thing I do now than I have ever done before, it’s a far better place I go to than I have ever been before. Father into your hands, I commend my spirit.”

While we are sad and distraught at the temporary separation, it is with joy that we can release her soul to the great healer who again physically and factually proved He was able to resurrect from the dead. We are left behind for we have a lot of work to do here before we meet her there.

Do remember that if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. For if Christ did not physically rise from the dead then your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. And worse, those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. Yes, if Christ has not been raised then we Christians are to be pitied more than all men.

But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man.

Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality.

When this has happened then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”
“Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?”
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.
But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Our Lord Jesus Christ the Grave Robber.

1 Corr 15.

One of my favorite 80s song was by Petra. Here’s a link to it with the lyrics.

http://popup.lala.com/popup/576742257649335055

Grave Robber by Petra
Hebrews 9:27, John 4:14, I Peter 1:24, Romans 8:11,
I Corinthians 15:26, 51-55, Revelation 7:17
Words & Music by Bob Hartman

There’s a step that we all have to take alone
An appointment we have with the great unknown
Like a vapor this life is just waiting to pass
Like the flowers that fade like the withering grass

But life seems so long and death so complete
And the grave an impossible portion to cheat

But there’s One who has been there and still lived to tell
There is One who has been through both heaven and hell

And the Grave will come up empty handed that day
Jesus will come and steal us away

Where is the sting tell me where is the bite
When the grave robber comes like a thief in the night

Where is the victory where is the prize
When the grave robber comes
And death finally dies

Many still mourn and many still weep
For those that they love who have fallen asleep
But we have this hope though our hearts may still ache
Just one shout from above and they all will awake
And in the reunion of joy we will see
Death will be swallowed in sweet victory

When the last enemy is gone, from the dust will come a song
Those asleep will be awakened – not a one will be forsakened
He shall wipe away our tears – He will steal away our fears
There will be no sad tomorrow – there will be no pain or sorrow

Where is the sting tell me where is the bite
When the grave robber comes like a thief in the night

Where is the victory where is the prize
When the grave robber comes
And death finally dies.

If you are interested in why I am so confident about the physical, historical and scientific truth about the Ressurection of Christ and the existence of God my I direct you to this web page:

http://www.noblindfaith.com/sermon/sermons.htm

Thanks
Neil and Anna

Caroline Lois: Update 4 through 1

(Dear friends and family, this page contains the full update, you may wish to start at the bottom for a sequential reading).
Saturday Nov 28th
Today was a very tough day for us. The doctor called and said that though she has stabilized, our darling Caroline’s kidneys are not improving and he is concerned that there is permanent damage to them. Due to her heart condition he said she may not be a candidate for a kidney transplant. They are increasing her medicine to see if she will respond. He also confirmed that the MRI did show some brain damage that was caused when her blood supply stopped due to her hypoplastic aorta. However, he said that they they don’t know yet if it’s permanent or recoverable. Kidneys can recover naturally; or supernaturally if God wills.

As you can see our optimism suffers compared to the last update. We do know she is the Lord’s and His to take to heaven whenever it is her time, we know that as with Paul and King David, sometimes the Lord chooses not to heal according to his Sovereign will. Yet please pray with us for a miracle of healing. We have seen the Lord act supernaturally before in our life with Mary-Katherine (ask me about this sometime); and pray for Him to do so again if He wills. We have been given so much and don’t deserve Caroline, or anything for that matter, but selfishly would like more time to know and love her and see her grow up to be a powerful force in ministry and apologetics (of course).

As I write this we are here at Stanford Medical at the NICU, she is sedated and sleeps so peacefully. We love her so dearly. It’s tough for me as an engineer as I can’t “FIX” it. But she is first and foremost the Lord’s not mine. Not ours.

Frankly this is where the rubber meets the road when it comes to faith, doesn’t it.
God exists, I can prove that to be reasonable and factual using science and logic.
Christ physically died and rose from the dead, I can prove that to be reasonable and factual with a case that could stand up in a court of Law. (If you haven’t heard me talk about this, ask me for my scientific and historical and logical evidence).
So if Christ rose from the dead, the accounts of His ability to heal then fall in place naturally. More so His promise of our resurrection. Faith must be based on truth and facts. Our Apologetics (the evidence for the faith) proves our Theology, our Theology strengthens and verifies our Hope and our Hope leads our Emotions. That way when trials come we can be assured and we can say: Sickness has no chance if He wills us to be healed. And if not to be healed, we can truly say: Oh Death where is your victory? O Grave where is your sting? In that glorious day God will dry the tears from our eyes, pain will end and we will never die.

In my discussion with my atheist friends they have looked at pain and said: How can God exist if there is so much pain and suffering?
I look at pain and say: Thank You God, that You do exist and provably so.
For without a God, pain and suffering would be a cruel heartless cold ending. For how can my atheist friend truly comfort anyone? In his worldview it is all for naught. There is no happy ending.

In the same way, my friends who do not know, or blindly hope, or only guess what maybe beyond our limited physical and natural four dimensions, can only wish that what is out there really exists and “will” themselves to believe that perhaps it is better than what we have here. But what if they are wrong? Where is their assurance? What is their hope based on? Facts or feelings?

Yet, I know emotionally and can prove intellectually that nothing can stop me from spending eternity enjoying Caroline as much as I enjoy Mary-Katherine, her big sister. The only question is if we have to wait a few years to start spending time with Caroline. At this point in her frailness, we pray we don’t.

The battle is not over. Keep praying. God exists and He is able. We now pray that His Sovereign Will is to heal her.

Neil/Anil
Please forward this to family and friends not on the list.
We are keeping people updated on Facebook.

On Thursday Nov 26, 2009, at 11:54 AM, Neil Mammen wrote:

Hi family and friends,
Baby Caroline is getting more stable by the hour. She’s on morphine so she’s out of pain and sleeping steadily.
All vital signs have stabilized or seem to be getting there.
They confirmed that there was some liver damage and some kidney damage when she had a short supply of blood/oxygen. But they said these are usually all reversible and that’s what they are working on. All other scans showed there was no genetic issues with her organs or brain. They are doing a few more tests. We are praying that baby Caroline had no brain damage either. Normally the body maintains supply to the brain at the expense of the other organs so please pray that there is no damage there. The nurse said “We see a lot of babies with lack of oxygen here and usually they recover quite well.”

We are praying that they can do the heart surgery next week as that indicates that she’s strong enough and well on her way to recovery.

Do keep praying. We are thankful for you, your prayers, emails of encouragement and all the blessings we have this Thanksgiving.

Neil and Anna

Wed, November 25, 2009 1:43:53 AM

Caroline is at Stanford/Packard Children’s Hospital, they are stabilizing her and trying to bring her back to fully normal before any surgery is done. It may be a few days. The doctor confirmed that my research was correct, it’s either an interrupted aortic arch or a “skinny” aorta (I haven’t found any info on the latter yet).  They will confirm after all the tests are run tonight and tomorrow.

The biggest prayer need now is to pray that that there was no long term damage done during the time when her blood was not flowing fully. There are lots of things that could have been damaged. Keep praying please and thank you all so much for all your responses. Keep them coming. While we many not be able to respond individually, each one has been a great encouragement.

Thanks again.
Neil

On Tue, Nov 24, 2009, at 7:10 PM, Neil Mammen wrote:

Thank you all, and praise God. Caroline is looking much better. She’s pink again (sorry Indian relatives, another very un-Indian looking baby Mammen – but she does have black black hair so far). The medicine they gave her is working. From my limited understanding it seems to confirm the problem is what they suspected. As we speak the EMT’s are here getting her ready to move to Stanford. It takes quite a while. So she’s out of danger as much as we can tell. PTL. I will go with her to Stanford and will follow with more info at some point.

Meanwhile here’s a website that tells you what I think is happening. I have not talked to the doctor so this is just my own research. It looks very promising but as we all know the problems are the ones that we don’t anticipate like side effects, infections etc. So please do not stop praying. Caroline is a trooper and will give her older sister a run for her money we pray.

http://www.cincinnatichildrens.org/health/heart-encyclopedia/anomalies/iaa.htm

Neil

On Tue Nov 24, 2009, at 5:58 PM, Neil Mammen wrote:

Hi family and friends an urgent prayer request.

Our second daughter Caroline Lois Mammen was born this past Sunday, Nov. 22 at 10:40 am. She was 7lbs 3oz and 20 inches.
However, she was immediately admitted into the NICU as they found that she had a small hole in the roof of her mouth and two holes in her heart. Normally this is not a problem and can easily be treated. However after 2 days she was not thriving, today she “crashed,” they think she may have an aorta that is too small and is unable to provide enough oxygen for her. They’ve given her some medicine that will alleviate the problem. If it does not work she’ll be taken to Stanford Medical at Stanford University to a cardiologist for immediate surgery. If it does work she’ll still go there but it won’t be as critical.

There’s lots of good news in this.  First if this is the actual problem, it can be treated and the operation itself is relatively simple. Second, I’m glad we don’t have socialized healthcare and as a result have some of the worlds  most advanced (and expensive) medical services. Third I’ve always wanted my kids to go to Stanford, all expenses paid. But most of all we are reminded that God is able and He is in control.

Please be praying that the medicine works to remove the urgency and after that she survives the trip there, that she does not catch any infection (hospitals are notorious for that) and that she has no other problems i.e. no development problems. She is also learning to suck/eat with a special bottle to compensate for the hole in the roof of her mouth, which has proven difficult for her. We serve a mighty God and whatever He wills is fine with us at the end of the day of course our heart’s desire is for a full and quick recovery.

Please forward this to family and friends. We will start updating people on facebook shortly.

Anil (Neil) and Anna Mammen

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