Welcome back to Eyes of Reason! This blog has been dormant since 2012, and is now restarted starting today. Many things have happened since 2012, we have Uber, Bitcoin, a new President, intersectionality; but more importantly today, its a new year in my life. I would like to share with you a self-reflection of how I have evolved in my thinking about Christianity in the early 21st century.
The main difference as I think about it is less of an emphasis on esoteric questions and more of an interest in the practical procedure in a person coming to have Faith in Christ. During University, most if not 90% of the people I knew were saved, now, that isn’t so much the case.
It’s easy to travel the world and preach Christ; much harder to live out near home.
A Faith that doesn’t cause your heart to yearn for the lost, isn’t much of a Faith.
Lots of things have changed in the last six years, but one thing has not changed: Christ is still on the throne, doing everything He can to save each of us. It is my prayer that this blog and the writers on it may play a part in helping someone know Jesus for themselves.
This year marks the 100th aniversary of the terrible sinking of the RMS (Royal Mail Ship / USPS) Titanic. On April 15, 1912 this ship was the largest moving structure ever built by the hands of mankind. It was luxurious, spacious and packed more than 2000 on what would be her first and last voyage from Southampton, England to New York City. Its also interesting to know that the ship was funded by J.P Morgan Chase. (I wonder if the bank will make any statement in regard to this tragedy) Over 1000 persons died when the ship broke into two–710 survivors were left in lifeboats that weren’t filled to the max. Everyone associated with the event is now dead.
But where was God?
This is a question people ask when disaster’s happen. And no doubt this question has been asked many times since the event. Is it possible to trace God’s hand in this event? It is possible to understand it through His eyes? Some would say that God didn’t care about these people, that He could have simply moved the iceberg and everything would have been okay. But the Christian should nevertheless look for God’s hand in the matter and this is what I hope to set out to do today.
Side Note: Class Restrictions
An interesting thing to notice that the Titanic was the most segregated ship of its time. Though all of the classes were treated better than what was accustomed to at the time, first and second class had nearly all of the luxury. For example, first and second class had multiple bathrooms while there were only two (one for each gender) for the entire third class (1,026 passengers). Third class passengers were on the waterline, so when the ship crashed into the iceberg, they would be the first to go. Third class had Iron toilets, while second class had Porcelain and first class had marble toilets! The most interesting thing is that each class of passengers were kept from interacting with each other. So a person in second class could not enjoy or even see all the tantalizing things that were happening in first class. But if you were in first class you were only a deck below where the lifeboats were! Luxury indeed were not for most of its passengers, just for those who could afford it. However the richest passanger abourd the ship, John Jacob Astor IV did not survive.
A Near Accident
When the Titanic left On Wednesday 10 April 1912 a few minutes after her departure at Noon, the ship had a near accident. The huge ship passed by a much smaller ship SS City of New York . The displacement of water caused the other ship to increase height drastically and fall back to normal levels. The ships cables could not support the sudden change and snapped. This caused the New York to spin out of control and it nearly missed the Titanic by 4 feet (1.2 meters). This delayed the ship for an hour.
The ship then went to France and Ireland. From there it went out of the English channel into international waters. It then traveled for three days smoothly.
With a disaster about to hit so many souls, it would have been even more disastrous if this event happened without warning. But there was a warning. I believe that God was trying to send a message to the Titanic to prevent what happened from taking place.
At least six warnings, like the one pictured here, were sent to the Titanic. The Marconi International Marine Communication Company, Limited, was the main telecommunications service operating in the North Atlantic Ocean. They had two operators on the Titanic: Senior Jack Phillips and Junior Wireless Operator Harold Bride. They were both considered very qualified and were tasked with carrying messages two and from the Titanic on the Marconi “Wireless” (their radios).
It is known that the wireless operators had an antenna that had power output of 1.5 kW per each of the two antenna that were in use. This allowed for a range of 1000 miles. The messages were communicated in Morse Code, which consisted of dots and dashes.
The wireless operators had many messages, along with weather reports, they were given news reports from newspapers and also a heavy amount of mail. As the ship got closer to New York, many passengers sent messages ahead to family members to make plans for their arrival. This resulted in a large load of information that had to be translated and communicated.
Ice Warnings Received By Titanic
Caronia (MSF) – Eastbound, New York to Liverpool, Queenstown. The message was delivered to the bridge, where Captain Edward John Smith posted it for his officers to read.
‘Captain, Titanic – West-bound steamers report bergs, growlers and field ice in 42° N, from 49° to 51° W, April 12th. Compliments, Barr’
Baltic (MBC) – Eastbound, New York to Liverpool, Queenstown. This message was delivered to Captain Edward John Smith as he talked to Bruce Ismay. Ismay pocketed the piece of paper, and later showed it to several passengers. At 7.15pm, Smith asked for its return, when it was finally posted in the chart room.
‘Greek steamer Athenia reports passing icebergs and large quantities of field ice today in latitude 41° 51′ N, longitude 49° 52′ W. Wish you and Titanic all success. Commander.’
Amerika (DDR) – This message was actually a private one to the US Hydrographic Office in Washington DC, overheard by Titanic’s radio operators. Regretably, it never made its way to the bridge.
‘Amerika passed two large icebergs in 41° 27′ N, 50° 8′ W on April 14.’
Californian(MWL) – This message was actually to Antillian (MJL), but overheard by Titanic’s radio operators. This was delivered by Bride to the bridge, although Captain Edward John Smith was not made aware of it. He was in the a la carte restaurant, dining with the Wideners.
‘To Captain, Antillian: Six-thirty pm, apparent ship’s time; latitude 42° 3′ N, longitude 49° 9′ W. Three large bergs 5 miles to the southward of us. Regards, Lord.’
Mesaba (MMU) – This message never reached the bridge. Harold Bride was getting some much needed sleep, and Jack Phillips was busy on the key sending and receiving commercial traffic to Cape Race.
‘From Mesaba to Titanic . In latitude 42° N to 41° 25′, longitude 49° W to longitude 50° 30′ W, saw much heavy pack ice and great number large icebergs, also field ice, weather good, clear.’
You can read more about the geographic reprsentation of the reported areas where the icebergs were reported here.
About forty minutes before Titanic began to sink, another message was sent to her by the S.S. Californian. The ship was in the same ice-field that Titanic was approaching, and was stuck in it. The Californian sent a message to the Titanic without the MSG prefix (which would require a response from the Bridge). Phillips, maybe beacuse he was tired or he was trying to send out all of those reports the passengers wanted sent out, replied to the Californian with a message of “D-D-D,” meaning shut up. Can you believe it? So, the Californian turned off their radio. When the Titanic sent out distress signals, the S.S. Californian which was only a few miles from the sinking ship.
So the Titanic was notified of the danger, and due to the stubbornness of some of the crew, and the myth of the “unsinkable ship”, they went full speed ahead. They saw the iceberg, made a turn and it hit it. At first they thought it was a minor scrape, but they did not know of the 300-foot gash well below the ship’s waterline.
When the captain assessed the damage, he predicted the ship would last about an hour. The minutes that followed would forever be encased in human minds until this very day. With over 40,000 tons of water filling the ship, it began to sank.
There are tales of a band playing Nearer my God to thee as the ship sank. This song would be played during the many benefit concerts that raised money for the victims of the tragedy, including their families.
This clip from the Titanic Movie(1997) seems to best capture the sadness of the event.
At least among those men, Faith was still alive and well in their hearts. Titanic carried a total of 20 lifeboats which could support about 1/3 of the total capacity of the ship. This was considered well above the standard of the day as the thought was that the boats would be used to ferry passengers to and from any other large boat that would be there for the rescue, in the unlikely event that something would occur.
The demise of the Titanic lead to drastic changes in safety regulation of Navel vessels. The International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) was created to create global changes in the way ships were ran. 24 hour radio operators were made standard, and all messages dealing with the navigation of the ship were made the highest priority always, regardless of heading. There are also numerous other improvements that are still in effect to this day.
So God did not let this happen without warning. When I consider this, I thank Him for the warning messages. I could see Him crying out as the ship sank, with tears in His eyes as people fell victim to hyperthermia. We need to stay watch to the messages that God sends in our life, and be forever watchful of His hand when tragedy strikes.
Christianity is the faith of more than a billion persons on planet Earth. However, it is a very diverse group, full of differing opinions and perspectives. Some of these perspectives are false, while all of them represent a certain way of thinking and relating to the world around them (reason). This blog exists because it realizes that there is not a monopoly on reason. People reason in different ways. That reason is colored by a persons view of the world: their experiences, traditions and assumptions. This blog will feature a number of unique perspectives on Christianity. It is my hope that the analysis of these perspectives will lead one to consider the various ways of thinking about a matter, and to choose the one that is honest and true (if any). Thus, It is my hope that Jesus Christ will be glorified and lifted up high.