Son Of God

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Christina DeMohrenschildt

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Hi, My name is Christina DeMohrenschildt. This is my second post. First was in the topic about introducing yourself.

Mr. Standart, Mr. Behe, Mr. Paddon and others, nice to make your acquaintance.

One of the topics I'm pursuing is Christian - related material.

First, do we have any stories of passengers attending religious services during the voyage? Did Mr. Astor visit the chapel?

Second, has anyone seen the following biblical parallel to the lessons of the Titanic? What about the Genesis story of Israelites building the Tower of Babel? They thought their hard labor could match the work of the Son of God, then the Son of God reminded them of their limitations.

Same with Titanic. The Son of God reined in people who were excited about the promise of new technology in the new century. The Son of God created icebergs before He created man and woman.

I'll save other questions until people have given me some feedback on the above.

Happy learning! Cordially, Christina
 
Dec 2, 2000
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>>Same with Titanic. The Son of God reined in people who were excited about the promise of new technology in the new century. The Son of God created icebergs before He created man and woman.<<

I have to respectfully disagree with this. Not because of any religous sentiments or any percieved lack thereof, but simply because what happened to Titanic was anything but an act of God, it was simple human error. Nothing particularly unusual about it other then the fact that it happened to what was then the largest operational ship of the time.

I can understand this mystique and the mythos surrounding it however. The mythos holds that the Titanic was The Biggest, The Best-est, the most luxurious, and any number of other superlatives, all of which make for a nice story, but there's one little problem with it:

It's not real.

Other then the sheer size of the vessel, there was nothing especially unusual about the ship. The Olympic Class liners were evolutionary designs based on earlier designs. They were not the most luxurious going. The Germans for example made and grander, and were building even grander still. There was nothing especially unusual about the numbers of wealthy people aboard as this was the only way to cross from one side to the other. There were no other real options. Rich and poor alike who traveled from one side of the ocean to the other without exception did so by ship, and they continued to do so in vessels even bigger and more luxurious then Titanic could ever hope to be.

The claims of "Unsinkability" were common to all vessels, and Titanic was no different. It helps to know that this claim was never made by the builder or White Star. It was a media take on "Practically Unsinkable" that was corrupted by the media and took on a life of it's own.

The Titanic in historical context is really nothing more then a long chain of events, a sequence of all too human error that led to a very bad night. God hardly needed to intervene here when people by themselves were willingly if unwittingly going headlong on a path leading to disaster without any outside help. If any diety exists, all he/she had to do was sit back and watch.

If you disagree with the above, then I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree. I'm not about to look for extrordinary answers to the mundane. If you wish to, then fair winds and following seas.
 
Jan 10, 2006
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Christina:

If you want to be technical, the "son of god" which I am assuming you are talking about Jesus, did not exist until some 1500 years after the Tower of Babel. If you look it at from a theological point some would say God alone worked in the pre-christian era. Others would negate such an idea because Christ is never mentioned in the Tanach/Old Testament.
Anyone who would seriously think that God Almighty, supposedly loving, kind and just, would allow little innocent children to freeze in the middle of the Atlantic ocean has lost their way.
All generations of improved technology have exhibited some form of pride. There is nothing wrong with a little pride. There was nothing special about the Titanic except her vast size. Just a year later she was replaced by a German liner. She was even more opulent and bigger than the Titanic but she did not sink in mid-ocean with hundreds dying!!
Forgive me for saying but I think this is the result of small minded thinking. If you cannot figure the world out just blame God or the devil.
That has been a solution of man for centuries.

Geoff
 
Apr 11, 2001
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Christina, the topic of the sinking was most assuredly preached from multitudes of pulpits everywhere, with various themes from being "prepared" spiritually for unexpected death, to the hubris of mankind. Many religious overtones of course were linked to the statement that "even God could not sink this ship"- never actually said by the builders, and fabricated by who knows who and repeated widely after the fact. Also the legendary addition of the singing of "Nearer My God to Thee" struck a chord which has resounded over the decades -and still does. Many religious-themed postcards came out immediately, such as these below of the Bamforth series of 6. These cards, and many more like them appealed to and had significance for, of course, the Christian sector world-wide. There is plenty of information here on the site about retrieval of the bodies which went to Halifax, and the clergymen who organized prayer and burial at sea for some, and also about the clergy, Roman Catholic, Protestant and Jewish, and the corresponding cemeteries in Halifax. Nearly all film versions , if memory serves, show some portion of the Sunday morning prayer and hymn singing,including the poignant "Eternal Father Strong to Save" which ends with "for those in peril on the sea". Yes, there has been a fair amount written on the Episcopalian faith of Col. Gracie and others, and it is possible to find some of sermons online. I daresay barely a pulpit did not ring with Titanic on the Sunday following the disaster, and many churches held memorial services for those lost, as was also done for Lusitania a few years later. Here in the post below is a service at Grace Episcopal in Providence, where Rhoda Abbott once attended with her two sons prior to the sinking.
 
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http://www.revdma2.com/Grace.html
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Jun 12, 2004
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>>Anyone who would seriously think that God Almighty, supposedly loving, kind and just, would allow little innocent children to freeze in the middle of the Atlantic ocean has lost their way.<<

Geoffrey, I'm not one to talk about religion, as I am not diehard religious, but I must make a statement with use of a parallel to make a point: Just because God would allow innocents and children to die doesn't mean that He/She isn't kind and loving. Like any parent who loves her/his children (the parallel), God wants us to learn from our mistakes. True, it was definitely man's hubris, but the sinking wouldn't/couldn't have happened without God allowing it to. For those who believe in God, this Almighty Being owns the world, and existence, so nothing is out of His/Her ultimate control. Sometimes the lessons are harsh, but we have learned from our mistakes (or should have), and that, perhaps, is why He/She let it happen. Death of innocents has a strong impact, hits us deep, gets us to really think hard about our pride and arrogance toward people and the world. There's believed to be a divine positive will and a divine negative will. The positive is what God wants, and the negative is what God may not favor but will allow for certain reasons. In the end, at least for those who believe in a supreme being, God has the last say in everything. I do not blame God, but I don't discount His/Her influence either.

Did we learn anything from the tragedy?

A hell of a lot!

Now, from a historical perspective, it was a tragedy that was brought on by miscalculation, human error, resulting in a terrible loss of life--plain and simple! Yet, as we cannot deny, it was fate, and where there's fate there's more at work than mere physicality and linear occurrence in time.

Just my thoughts.

--Mark
 

Dave Gittins

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Personally, I think that those who mess with Poseidon deserve all they get!

More seriously, in 1912 most people in the US and the UK were not 'born again' Christians. They were simply born and brought up to the denomination of their parents. The followed their brand of religion faithfully, without necessarily thinking much about it. It was simply how things were. They didn't feel the need to tell all and sundry about how they'd 'found Jesus'. Naturally, there were some exceptions, who joined various sects, but these were tiny minorities. In England and Europe, which were already different from the more overtly religious USA, religion was still strong, but was as much tradition as belief.

On Titanic, people did much as they did on shore. There was no chapel on board and religious observances were held on Sunday morning in the public rooms, such as the first class dining saloon. Captain Smith led the first class service and Purser McElroy took the second class. Catholic priests conducted Mass, which was mostly for third class. J J Astor probably attended the first class service. He would have been thought odd if he did not. That was how it was in 1912. The service was a kind of generic Protestant one of the simplest kind.

In the evening, second class passengers held hymn singing and a minister explained some of the hymns. This was quite a common practice on shore.

The Jews on board presumably observed their Sabbath in some way. Perhaps a Jewish member could enlighten us on how they would do this.

I might add that some of the most unkind comments on the disaster came from the clergy. One clown said that the whole affair was his God's punishment of Astor, who had divorced his insufferable wife.

I commend Michael's posting. It's important to see the Titanic affair in context. Most of what
people think they know of her is wrong.
 
Dec 2, 2000
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>>There's believed to be a divine positive will and a divine negative will.<<

Prove first that diety exists.

In fairness would also ask non-believers to prove that diety does not exist.

Therein lies the problem with religion...any religion, including the one that I hold to. The propositions of same do not lend themselves to proof or falsification by the evidence. Were it otherwise, religious principles and creeds would be a matter of fact and not faith. That puts us on mighty thin ice when we then try and state as a fact, "What God Wants." especially when opinions vary so wildly even among people within the same denominations/factions/cults.

>>If you cannot figure the world out just blame God or the devil<<

And when you get right down to it, that's what really cuts to the heart of the matter. I wouldn't say that the events in question wouldn't have implications for theological discourse, but all too often, in practice, it's little more then blameshifting dressed up in pious platitudes.

There's a prevailing attitude then as now that there was something momentous above and beyond the call of momentous about the Titanic's loss and that there just had to be some grand design to it. The historical as well as technical reality is that there was nothing whatever about the accident itself that points to anything beyond the usual consequences of human misjudgement in the day to day operations of an ocean liner. Save for the high loss of life, there is nothing whatever extrordinary about it, and it certainly is not inexplicable. Ships have fallen victim to icebergs many times in the past and have done so many times since.
 
Dec 31, 2003
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This rare photograph, taken aboard 'Olympic', shows how the room's panelled wall was curtained and an altar dressed for Service. (Every Sunday, of course; other religious holidays throughout the year; and, on some occasions, by prior arrangement.) Surely the 'Chapel' of 'Titanic' would have been virtually identical.



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Jun 12, 2004
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>>Prove first that deity exists.

In fairness would also ask non-believers to prove that deity does not exist.<<

Michael, I am not going to argue God with you. This is not a religious forum, it's a Titanic forum. I was merely presenting yet another perspective to consider. Even when it comes to the Titanic, there are many beliefs and ways of looking at it. Yes, opinions vary, and not everyone will agree, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. That's what generates discussion. If we all believed in the same things and saw things the same way, there would be no discussion, or debate, whatsoever. Diversity makes the world go 'round, as the saying goes.


>>There's a prevailing attitude then as now that there was something momentous above and beyond the call of momentous about the Titanic's loss and that there just had to be some grand design to it.<<

I wasn't only referring to the Titanic, as what I said in the post above can, and does, apply to any event in history, such as Pearl Harbor, the battle at Midway, and any number of ship sinkings. True, the Titanic was a huge ship whose sinking brought an incredible loss of life, but it is by far not the most catastrophic event in human history. We've lost far more people in our wars and to disease, etc. I said that if one believes in God...and I state that here, that it's a matter of what one believes. If one believes that God had some influence in it all, then one may find spiritual or religious justification of a sort. If one doesn't believe in God--and it seems, Michael, that you do not, and that's okay--then they may find justification elsewhere. But if one believes in God, one may choose to believe that God has influence over everything that happens. That doesn't negate the historical or social or technical significances of any particular occurrence, as such perspectives lie and work within the belief of a Deity's divine influence.

Please keep in mind that this does not mean, or imply, that anything in particular, such as the Titanic sinking, is an "act of God." I never said that. God, if He/She exists, may not have actually caused it but allowed it to happen. It's one thing to effectively push something to happen; it's another to stand back and let something happen. Both constitute "influence" to me, but only active participation defines an "act."

But, then again, your mind is firmly planted in the physical world, Michael, so anything that isn't completely ordered, agreed upon, or confirmed with physical evidence is inconsequential or insignificant to you. That I have noticed, which, of course, is all right...

I, on the other hand, value different ways of thinking, whether a particular way of thinking can be verified or validated or not. I don't have to agree with it, but I still respect it and from it try to learn something significant about any subject matter...

One final note: I am not here to argue religion, as I am not a religious person. That will not do any good. This is not the place for it. Further, it's a dangerous zone into which anyone walks by bringing up religion, as well as politics, in a public discussion. May I suggest that we change the direction of the discussion at this point?


Take care

--Mark
 
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How fascinating that Olympic photo is above. Can you tell me the year? The altar is set up with chalice, burse and veil and 2 eucharistic candles, frontal, fair linen and a missal- in a pattern reflective of an Episcopalian (Church of England) service of Holy Communion- or a Roman Catholic Mass. This is quite elaborate for a makeshift service, it might have been much later than Titanic years. The Sunday morning service aboard Titanic in First Class was one akin more to morning prayer, with hymns from what I have been able to gather about it. Thanks for posting the photo.
 

Dave Gittins

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Could the photo be from Olympic's days as a troop ship? The was obviously a priest of some sort on board. The setup shown would certainly not have been used for the usual service conducted by the captain.
 
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Christina DeMohrenschildt

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Before we change the direction of the discussion as Mr. Hopkins suggested, may I add that Christian doctrine affects the issue of how much people should salvage from the wreckage?

The New Testament says, "Those who forget the mistakes of the past are condemned to repeat them." But there comes a point at which companies with lots of money must support the living instead of looking for more china from which Mr. Astor ate dinner.

"Have compassion for the sick and the weak and the lame."

And what about the captain lying to journalists in Boston? "Thou shall not bear false witness against thy neighbor." Had he told the truth, he could have prevented the Morro Castle 21 years later and the Andria Doria 23 years after that.
 

James Hill

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Feb 20, 2002
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I dont think Captain Lord was lying I think you might mean Ernest Gill who I suspect made up a few bits about his story.Anyway Gill got about 5 pounds a month and a newspaper reporter offered him a hundred dollars or something.Anyway I now think Lord was inocent.I would like everyone to know that I`ve changed my mind about the Californian I now belive that another ship was involved.
 
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Christina DeMohrenschildt

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Alright then, what about the salvage issues?

I say digging up more pieces of china at an enormous expense of money and labor violates Christian doctrine. Of course, we're not qualified to discuss social services. But we know that poor children should get better educational curricula about the Titanic. Money should go to that instead of more plates.
 

Tracy Smith

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And what about the captain lying to journalists in Boston? "Thou shall not bear false witness against thy neighbor." Had he told the truth, he could have prevented the Morro Castle 21 years later and the Andria Doria 23 years after that.

Huh? Regardless of whether Captain Lord lied or not, I fail to see any logic in this statement.
 
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Christina DeMohrenschildt

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Sorry about getting the whole historical sky in my head. I meant to say that Captain Lord could have said truthful things that would have enabled the U.S. Maritime Administration to prevent later tragedies aboard passenger ships. Maybe I still have the whole sky in my head. Lord forgive me.
 

Tracy Smith

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All the laws in the world won't help the human factor, the tendency to make mistakes.

Both the Andrea Doria and the Stockholm had radar that was in use at the time of the collision, yet the Stockholm crashed into the Andrea Doria, anyway. The equipment didn't fail -- people did.

Rules and regulations may help to reduce the likelihood of certain kinds of mishaps, but as long as people are involved, mistakes will be made.

And considering that Captain Lord had absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with running the Titanic full tilt into an iceberg that night, his veracity in Boston or lack thereof has no bearing on the matter.
 
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Christina DeMohrenschildt

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Thank you for the enlightenment.

Maybe Captain Lord said what he said to save his own rear end. Maybe he had no nefarious motive.
 
Dec 31, 2003
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Shelley and Dave: Very observant remarks and challenging questions! The photograph, of course, would only show an 'interesting' preparation for some 'full Service'. Evidently, a Priest is expected to officiate (his back towards us) and all is in readiness. Everything we see here, however, could be set out in a very few minutes and in fewer minutes folded away - so compact everything is. This has to be as close to a 'Chapel' as any of the three 'Olympics' had. The photograph - taken earlier - was published as a photo-card either later in 1912 (the more likely) or in 1913: certainly before outbreak of war. 'Britannic' became a troop-ship also, and if Catholic troops might attend an earlier Mass, or members of the 'C of E' attend Communion at 11, it would seem ungodly if, aboard 'Titanic', no one could. Especially an Episcopalian.
 

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