Sunday, April 15, 2012

Who Christened the Titanic?

Today marks the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic. One of the best articles regarding the event is written by Dr Jerry Newcombe entitled Who Christened the Titanic?. The short answer appears to be that the Oceanic Steam Navigation Company, a British shipping company commonly called White Star Line did not believe in the custom. There have been many accounts (with a few conflicts) on exactly what happened that day, but Dr Newcombe's central purpose is to draw some very good parallels between its voyage and the current spiritual direction of modern day America. One of the best evidences we have for the article's truthfulness and effectiveness is that the usual pundits on the left have labeled the writing as anything from "scare tactics" to "hate speech". Here are a few excerpts:
The steamship [Titanic] was 885 feet long, and it was more than ten stories tall. As of that time, it had been described as "the largest moving man-made object in the world" and a "floating palace." On its maiden voyage this huge steamship was going from Southampton, England to New York City when it collided with an iceberg about 400 miles from Newfoundland and sank within three hours. There were 2,207 people on board, and 1,500 perished.

Daniel Allen Butler wrote a book I highly recommend, entitled Unsinkable. In the Preface, he wrote, “No other disaster in history could have been more easily avoided or was more inevitable… a once-in-a-lifetime combination of weather and sea conditions came together to make the iceberg nearly invisible to the ship’s lookouts.”

The Greeks had their ancient plays where the flawed hero ended up in tragedy because of his hubris---his arrogance. And when you look at many of the facts surrounding the sinking of the Titanic, you find multiple examples of pride, in the worst sense of the word. The Titanic is indeed a reminder of that ancient principle from Solomon the Wise: Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. One error compounded on another… but each was predicated on the assumption that the ship was unsinkable.

Before the voyage, one woman, a Mrs Albert Caldwell, watched “a group of deck hands carrying luggage aboard the Titanic. Impulsively, she stopped one of the men and asked him, ‘Is this ship really nonsinkable?’ ‘Yes, lady,’ he replied, ‘God Himself couldn’t sink this ship.’” (Butler, Unsinkable, p. 39).

Author Doug Phillips [president of the Christian Boys' and Men's Titanic Society, an organization dedicated to preserving the memory of the Titanic] writes this about the Titanic: "She was the floating embodiment of the new age of scientific optimism, and the international symbol of the century that would finally realize Utopia… Many perceived the ship to be a modern incarnation of the Tower of Babel. The sinking represented God's unwillingness to allow man to build any edifice of invincibility or to seek salvation through technology."

It was supposedly unsinkable… but there are some things that should have been done:

  1. They should have made sure they had binoculars (which they called lookout glasses). There were binoculars on board, but they had been stashed away by someone before the voyage.
  2. They should have gone through the drills. The standard procedure was to have the crew and passengers practice getting to the lifeboats.
  3. They should have had far more lifeboats, one space for each passenger.
  4. They should have at least slowed down or even stopped after the warnings. They were going at the fastest speed of the voyage at the time (22 1/2 knots). The captain was trying to make the trip in record time.
  5. They should have heeded the six wireless messages from different ships warning them about the ice-fields. The last one… at 11PM came from a nearby ship: “Say, old man, we are surrounded by ice and stopped.” To that message, the Titanic’s radio operator responded, “Shut up! Shut up! I am busy…”
Butler writes about the actual tragic hitting of the iceberg. “Up in the crow’s nest it looked as if the ship would never turn in time. Bracing themselves for the shock of a head-on collision… as the berg brushed past, large chunks of ice thudded onto the foredeck and into the well deck… Over the noise of the falling ice it seemed to the two lookouts that they could hear a faint, metallic ripping sound.” It only took ten seconds of colliding with the iceberg to impart fatal damage to the ship, costing 1,500 lives.

America at present reminds me of the Titanic, chugging away in a major ice-field, with major moral icebergs ahead (if we haven’t already collided with them). Some of these moral icebergs include same-sex marriage, abortion, pornography, family breakdown, expelling God from the public arena by using a faulty view of church and state separation. May God have mercy on us before it’s too late.

The Bishop of Winchester said: “The Titanic, name and thing, will stand for a monument and warning to human presumption.”

Who was it that christened the Titanic? No one. It was never christened. It didn’t need to be. After all, it was unsinkable.

1 comment:

  1. I once built a new studio and all the equipment moved into it started going haywire and breaking. Then I realized we hadn't christened the studio. All those tight nails and the space displaced had created a stress zone. So we broke a bunch of pottery on the studio's new floor. Never had a problem with the equipment thereafter! Not christening her is what sank the Titanic!


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