Encyclopedia Titanica Message Board » Collision / Sinking Theories » Events prior, during the voyage and leading up to that fateful night » Wrath of God? » Archive through 30 April, 2002
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Parks Stephenson
Posted on Monday, April 22, 2002 - 10:51 pm:       

I have nothing else to do at the moment, so I thought I'd freewheel a bit:

To use the vernacular found in other threads, why did God strike down the second ship of the Olympic class? Much has been made of the fact that the disaster occurred during Titanic's maiden voyage...if God truly wanted to give Mankind a message, why didn't He send an iceberg (or some other agent of Fate, seeing how the month of June is pushing things a bit to be having icebergs on the prowl) into Olympic's path the year before? Was it because Smith was destined to suffer the sins of Mail Boat captains before him? But Smith captained Olympic, too. I don't get it. If God truly intended to publically expose Mankind's arrogance, why was Olympic allowed to operate successfully?

Maybe God's message is more subtle. Maybe the real damnation lay in obscurity. Olympic was doomed to be obscured in the world's collective memory by Titanic's notorious legacy. The architect of the dream was forced to watch from the sidelines as his dream was crippled, the sole survivor of the three enjoying some hint of the success that he envisioned before ending up at the breakers. The dream, once envisioned, was never allowed to fully develop.

But why White Star? Why a British-flagged vessel? Why not the Imperator? Or was World War I a mopping-up operation...humbling the German liners for their arrogance?

Why were liners the symbol of man's arrogance? If you ask me, liners were "legacy technology" by 1912. Man was seeking heaven with more sophisticated machines by then.

Oh well, the point is that no matter the reasons behind God's selection of Titanic to make his point...Mankind didn't really listen, anyway. Mankind's confidence in his technology wasn't really all that shaken by the Titanic disaster, especially in the specialised area of war-making machinery. Sure, some safety rules were changed, but Man continued to push the technology to allow Man to reach faster, farther and higher. Ships, airships, planes, trains and automobiles continued to wreck, but technological progress accelerated nonetheless.

Well, my five minutes are up. Time for me to deaprt before the lightning bolt hits.

Maureen Zottoli
Posted on Monday, April 22, 2002 - 11:21 pm:       

So this is where the nickname Sparks comes from. I had always wondered. hehehehehehehehe

William Ajello
Posted on Tuesday, April 23, 2002 - 12:37 am:       

-------------------- -------------------- -------------------- Encyclopedia Titanica Message Board: Collision / Sinking Theories: Wrath of God? -------------------- -------------------- --------------------

Here is my interpretation on what this whole wrath of god thing means.....I think Eva Hart's mom said it best when she said "To call a ship unsinkable is flying in the face of God", now please don't debate me on whether or not Eva's mom said it or not because I heard her say her mom said it in a couple of different interviews, which is kinda irrelevant whether she said it or not because I am using it in my conjecture to drive home a point.

NEVER and I MEAN NEVER, under ANY circumstances say anything like "God Himself could NOT sink this ship" (Eva's mom didn't say this so save your breath...:-)) because that is not flying in the face of God, that is LAUGHING in the face of God.....God shoved that Iceberg in the ship's path as punishment for thinking or even remotely thinking he couldn't sink her......just to prove a point:


Ok, so I have a flair for the dramatic but you get the point...once I heard that "God himself could not sink The ship" and then it sunk, it was the only plausible theory I could think of that fit without controversy. >
Kathy Savadel
Posted on Tuesday, April 23, 2002 - 1:12 am:       

Ditto, Bill! That is exactly what I've always thought.

Yuri Singleton
Posted on Tuesday, April 23, 2002 - 4:06 am:       

I really must disagree. I simply don't see any involvement of God, or any other supernatural phenomenon regarding the fate of Titanic. IMHO, the entire disaster was the product of miscommunication, poor situational awarness, and unusual weather conditions. And top it off with some really bad luck that night.

My personal belief is that prior to the collision with an iceberg by Titanic, there were probably numerous 'near-misses' over the years that just went unreported, or overlooked. I mean how much attention does a near miss get compared to an actual accident? I think that there was an inherently dangerous situation in existence where ice flows drifted down from the north, unmonitored and randomly reported, into the shipping lanes with regularity. Ships would eventually come into close proximity to these ice flows. And I'm positive that there were many other nights just like 4/14/12, where there was complete darkness, calm conditions, and drifting ice in the path of ships. It just happened that Titanic drew the short straw that night.

No, I don't think Titanic should be seen as some larger lesson on the supremacy of God over man or his creations. Titanic was a tragic accident, brought forth by man, and the blame is to be born upon the shoulders of man alone.

Adam Leet
Posted on Tuesday, April 23, 2002 - 6:02 am:       

I have to disagree, as well. As an atheist, I don't believe God or any deity had a "hand" in Titanic's demise. To me it was, as Yuri said, simply an accident, and no one was to blame except man.

Parks Stephenson
Posted on Tuesday, April 23, 2002 - 7:14 am:       

once I heard that "God himself could not sink The ship" and then it sunk, it was the only plausible theory I could think of that fit without controversy.

Did someone actually say this, or is it "urban legend?" I'm quite aware that Walter Lord quoted Mrs. Caldwell for this, but the entire scenario sounds too pat. But even if the story is true, how do we know the same thing wasn't said at some point about Olympic, but never recorded for posterity because Olympic never sank? Why is it that blasphemy was first rendered during the loading of Titanic, when Olympic had already been sailing for nearly a year? Do we seriously believe that no one proclaimed Olympic's invulnerability during the first year of her service? I certainly don't. Not when Captain Smith was quoted in newspapers.

And if the story is true, then why would God pay more attention to an offhand comment by an anonymous deck hand than to the hundreds who prayed to Him for safe passage each night? Yes, I am making an assumption, without proof, that people prayed to God for a safe passage in Titanic. Just because history doesn't record such a specific prayer doesn't mean that it didn't happen.

It doesn't matter if one believes in God (as I do) or not (evidently, Adam). My point is that all the talk about Titanic being God's lesson to, or vengence against, Mankind overlooks one basic fact...that Titanic was one liner among many and that even among her class, she was following in the footsteps of a twin sister. Not only was Titanic identical to Olympic for all practical purposes, the very same deck officers (with the exception of the Chief Officer) retraced the same route that had been travelled already.

I don't know...between "Futility," "God himself couldn't sink this ship," "Waking the Edwardian society out of their complacency," and "The end of the Gilded Age," I'm tired of all the obfuscation. It's hard enough to make sense of the testimony without having to deal with Titanic's status as a legend. The ship is interesting enough without making the ship out to be more than what she actually was.

A child died aboard Titanic. So also aboard Lusitania, Empress of Ireland, Dunbar, Lancastria, Estonia, Wilhelm Gustloff, Steuben, Cap Arcona, Dona Paz...the list is long. Which child was the more important? Peacetime accident or act of war, it doesn't matter...a child died and somebody asked God why. And if you don't want to restrict the dead to children, then substitute a "loved one." The list grows longer and Titanic becomes even smaller in comparison.

By the way, this is my view of the subject. No one has to agree with me. I just thought I'd speak my mind after having to listen to talk about Titanic-related omens/prophecy/mumbo -jumbo for the umpteenth time.

Michael H. Standart
Posted on Tuesday, April 23, 2002 - 7:23 am:       

I'm not one for placing "blame" on the Allmighty either Parks, and if you're trying to express some irritation at hearing this premise so often...on and off the list...I have to say that I understand completely and agree!

The Titanic didn't need anybody's help to screw this pooch. They mis-managed well enough on their own.

And surely, the Allmighty...if s/he exists has better things to do with his/her time then to micromanage the navigation of a single ship.

Michael H. Standart
Beverly J. Crowder
Posted on Tuesday, April 23, 2002 - 8:12 am:       

FREE WILL... God gave us all free will, the choices we make are ultimately the reasons that something does or does not happen.
As humans, we were given dominion over all the earth and everything opon it. I do believe in devine intervention though. I have seen, experienced and heard the miraculous more than once, and am expecting there will be much more. (I believe this to be Almighty God).
What a HUGE responsibility was given Capt. Smith, and I can't even begin to imagine what his thoughts were when he knew that Titanic would founder.
Titanic was an accident just waiting to happen, she was just one of all the ships that could have sunk in just that very way judging by the rule of the sea at that time. On the up side, every tragedy has it's triumph. Look at the good that came out of the loss of Titanic and her people;

The International Ice Patrol
The US Coast Guard
The Board of Trade had to change their regulations as well as the US and other countries to provide a lifeboat seat for everyone on board.
And other misc. new rules.
Marconi rules changed. ie: messages pertaining to the safety of the ship, her course and passengers became more important than sending a message to "have my car waiting".

Horrible as this tragedy was, it forced us humans to change the way we look at things and value human life a little better than we did before. How we treat each other as human beings is much more important to me than wondering why God allowed such a thing to happen. To me, God gave us a choice, we were slack, we suffered the dire consequences for it.

Dearest Michael,
Last time I heard that phrase was from my retired military teaching commrad. Boy does that bring back memories. :-)

Ok, just my 2 cents worth.

All My Best,

Beverly J. Crowder
Posted on Tuesday, April 23, 2002 - 8:16 am:       

Oh, just another thought:
"To those who have been given much; much will be expected of them".

Going back to my room now, promise to behave...

Beverly :-)
Kathy Savadel
Posted on Tuesday, April 23, 2002 - 1:20 pm:       


Actually, after giving this considerable thought, I do agree with you. I got thinking about how many other modern disasters I would consider to be directly initiated by God as some form of vengeance. I couldn't think of any. That made me reassess the reasons why I heretofore thought this about Titanic. I won't ramble on about my early-morning thought processes, but I did thus change my opinion.


Parks Stephenson
Posted on Tuesday, April 23, 2002 - 3:43 pm:       

OK, let me readjust here. My original premise was not to speculate on whether or not there is a God. That can be discussed elsewhere. I also did not intend to speculate on whether the Titanic disaster was merely an accident or the result of direct intervention by God. That also can be discussed elsewhere. Personally, I agree with those who say that the Titanic disaster was the result of human folly, but that's beside this particular point.

Of all the respondents, only William and Michael answered my intent. I'm addressing the oft-repeated mantra, found in numerous Titanic texts, that Titanic was some sort of Tower of Babel, a representation of the technological advancement and arrogance of Man that strove too close to Heaven for God's comfort. In order to address this, I have to make the underlying assumption, purely for the sake of carrying forth this particular discussion, that God exists and directly influenced events. Atheists and "accident"alists (I normally count myself among the latter), bear with me until after this discussion.

My intent is really not even to focus in on the "God's vengeance" aspect. I'm driving toward something deeper. Why is it that Titanic is considered so special by numerous authors? Why was Titanic selected by God to be a lesson to Mankind? Why is Titanic touted by some as being a technological marvel, a symbol of the age? Why does the sinking of this particular ship bring an end to an entire Age of Mankind? Why were there omens and prophecy involved?

I can take William's statement and use it to summarise my question. Why is it that, according to what you can read in numerous texts, Titanic is the only ship that was proclaimed to be unsinkable, impervious even to God's abilities? Are we to believe that God Himself reacted in such a dramatic fashion to a flippant remark made by a deck hand prior to sailing? This is the same attitude that causes people to look for prophecy in Robertson's novel (which, I believe, is not the intent that Walter Lord intended...I believe he used "Futility" only to set the stage for his story), or to declare everything from a head poking out of a funnel to the near-collision with the New York as being omens. Every action taken aboard Titanic takes on dreadful significance and we spend a lot of time debating the meaning of this, that and the other thing.

It's the knowledge that Titanic sank that causes these myths to flourish. But what were they, really? Was there any real significance (and I will use just one example here) in Smith giving Ismay the Baltic message at the time, or was that a routine act that only later would prove to have consequences (if it had any at all...I'm not sure that the crew would have changed their actions had the message been posted in the chart room all day)?

It's like those movies where we know the monster is behind the door and the sinister music is playing and we want to shout to the oblivious hero on the screen, "Don't go in there! Can't you hear the music? Can't you pick up on the clues?!?" We never quite understand why the hero opens that door. And when the hero gets attacked, we shake our heads and marvel at his stupidity.

Well, I for one would like to try and look past the myths and try to understand the reasons behind the decisions that caused Titanic to founder. "God's vengeance" is not good enough for me. I also want to see the disaster in the appropriate light...to assert that Titanic caused such a fundamental shift in Man's thinking overlooks a slew of historical events that followed. If anyone believes that the causal factors for World War I weren't already in place before the Titanic disaster, then I believe they've got another think coming.

Well, this is my rant. Maybe I shouldn't have brought it up in the first place. I was probably wrong to describe Titanic as a Tower of Babel, when the true Tower of Babel is really this list. We strove too close to the truth behind Titanic and God responded by causing us all to speak in different tongues.

Yuri Singleton
Posted on Tuesday, April 23, 2002 - 4:50 pm:       

oodG'a nalogy'a arks'Pa.

James Smith
Posted on Tuesday, April 23, 2002 - 4:54 pm:       

I know a lot of people here aren't fans of Charles Pellegreno, but in "Her Name, Titanic" he brings out an interesting point that goes along with what Parks was saying. Pellegreno spoke with an Alvin pilot (Ralph Hollis, maybe?) who observed that if you take a street corner in New York City where over 1,500 people have been run over or died in auto wrecks over the last eighty years, it really has no pull, no emotional power over you. There is just something about the Titanic . . . what it is, exactly, I don't know.

This doesn't really get us anywhere, but it is food for thought . . .
Michael H. Standart
Posted on Tuesday, April 23, 2002 - 5:52 pm:       

G'Day Parks...can't say as I see the Titanic as a Tower of Babel, and I'm lost on why anyone else would. After all, what was all that remarkable about the ship herself?

Well...nothing really.

The Olympics were a cleaner design then what had come befor, but I don't think any of them went overboard on luxury. Compared to the gaudy appointments of the slightly larger German vessels being built, they were downright restrained. (Anyone notice that the German vessels survived long enough to be scrapped?)

Were it not for a lethal navigation error, I doubt history would have given Titanic a second glance. However, the error was made, people died, and the politicians, preachers and activists of the day jumped on it. People have been misunderstanding it ever since

Michael H. Standart
Adam Leet
Posted on Tuesday, April 23, 2002 - 6:33 pm:       

I apologize for jumping ahead on that. I have to admit, I get a little uncomfortable when the "God" factor comes in as a cause of the sinking. I myself have trouble understanding the connection. I suppose if I were to have the answer, it could explain my obsession with her, which I can't.

Randy B. Bigham
Posted on Tuesday, April 23, 2002 - 7:10 pm:       


I too think there's been a great deal of exaggeration regarding Titanic's historical importance but let's not forget a few things that ARE true in the mythology that has grown up:

1) Titanic for a few shining seconds WAS the great marvel of the time; despite the invention of flight, this was still a sea-going age. Luxury liners were not just the only form of international passenger transport but were integral facets of early 20th century culture.

2)she WAS the biggest liner in the world and certainly greater than the Olympic (I mean why make another one if not to improve over the first?). Of course there can be good arguments made that she was NOT greater than the Lusitania in anything but size.

3)She WAS carrying a large number of extraordinarily notable passengers, more so than normally made maiden voyages. Though these people are now forgotten for the most part,I do think that their presence had a lot to do with the original mystique that was cast on the event.

4) The premonitions, if you will, of Morgan Robertson and W.T. Stead as to the Titanic's fate DID occur. Whether we dismiss these as coincidences or true examples of prescience is up to the individual. But one can't ignore them totally. At the very least, the sheer number of alleged premonitions are interesting.

5) The Titanic WAS a lesson to mankind. Whether you believe in God or not it WAS a lesson. Beverly has outlined above the positive advancements in ocean-going safety that resulted from the Titanic's demise. I personally believe in God and I believe he is in touch with this world all the time. We ourselves are but 7 months into a new world born of a tremendous wake-up call to humanity - and for many of the same reasons that the world of 1912 was awakened. Complacency in technology and wealth and the Western world's all-around insular social conscience have been shaken since September 11, 2001. The same thing occured on April 15, 1912.

Having said this, I do not believe that the Titanic, while it WAS the first huge signal of upheaval, can historically be considered anywhere near as great as the horrors of the wars that ripped open much of the rest of the century. But as a peace-time event, there is no taking it away from Titanic. Arguably, some weightier peace-time events have occured since, but the romantic aura which literature, media, and the entertainment worlds have created around the Titanic story, whether we like it or not, makes almost everything else pale by comparison.

In the end, I do see the Titanic disaster as truly pivotal but not neccessarily as monumental as we are encouraged to believe.

But we are still talking about Titanic, aren't we? And we commemorate it and those whose lives were needlessly lost in it every time we sign on to ET. Any way you look at it, it was and is an unforgettable human tragedy. The story touched the world when it happened and is hasn't let up one bit.

Randy B. Bigham
Posted on Tuesday, April 23, 2002 - 7:37 pm:       

Following up here a bit on a point made by Parks. He is very right that the conflicts that were to culminate in war in 1914 were already taking place before Titanic sank. Few people think of this now but probably few people THEN did either. And that's my point. The Titanic tragedy in itself may not have created a new world order. My opinion is that it DID NOT. But it triggered a change in people's minds and feelings. It was a first jolt and can even be seen as a symbol of the brewing turbulence in the world that would eventually explode. So wheras the average American or European person in 1912 was not much concerned about the wars in the Balkans or other trouble-spots at the time, that same person WAS impacted by Titanic and its myriad ramifications. So in that sense, I think Titanic deserves credit for shaking people up and preparing them a bit for the greater calamity of world war.
lisagay harrod
Posted on Tuesday, April 23, 2002 - 8:59 pm:       

Hello All,

This board never ceases to amaze...the places it goes! Whew!

I was raised on the notion (dogma if you so choose) that God is a just and jealous God. I just take it at face value; my personal choice.
Not preaching here, just a precursor to my point.

As far as the Titanic goes, I doubt that the world at large would have taken as much notice if her passenger list had not included some of the most famous and weathiest people of the time. That particular strata of the social order was not used to having its' fine china, gilt edged teacup upsot!

For me, her sinking heralded the end of the Ewardian era, irrevocably changed Maritime practices, and awakened the world's social conciousness.

Sometimes (historically speaking), great change comes at a great cost. Whether it was God or not remains a personal point of view.

Whatever ones' views on the subject I find it interesting that it struck a chord with so many of us.

Again, a fascinating thread..........

Regards to One and All,
Lisa Harrod
Parks Stephenson
Posted on Tuesday, April 23, 2002 - 10:53 pm:       


Now we're getting down to it, and the point I would like to make is becoming apparent. To address your points, in order:

1) Why was Titanic so much more a marvel than Olympic?

2) But Olympic was greater, without the benefit of precedent, the year before. How come Mankind was allowed to get away with that accomplishment without heavenly retribution?

3) Yes, but are we to learn a humbling message because of the notables aboard? What purpose then did the steerage serve? Much less, the Second Class?

4) I discount Robertson's novel as premonition, as I would Jules Verne's novels about air and space travel (there was a great programme on "futurists" last night on the History Channel that discussed "premonition" versus "imagination"). WT Stead and others, though, are a bit more interesting. However, to judge their premonitions fairly, someone needs to catalogue all the forgotten premonitions surrounding other voyages that didn't come to pass. Otherwise, you can never know if you're giving undue emphasis to the "premonitions" surrounding a known disaster.

5) What lessons were learned from the disaster? Yes, I'm aware of the IIP, SOLAS, etc., but those don't constitute lessons on a Mankind level. All the regulations inspired by the disaster allowed us to do was to continue with business as driven by the demands of the market. If Titanic was supposed to be a lesson about Mankind's complacency in his technological prowess, then why wasn't there a respite in technological development in the wake of the disaster? Wasn't WW1 fought because of the Great Powers' complacency in their war-making technology? Why did technological development accelerate after Titanic? How about complacency in seamanship? Were the shipping schedules relaxed after Titanic? Did the shipping/transportat ion industry place less reliance on making schedule, did anyone increase the amount of time expected to cross the Atlantic? Or did the transportation industry relay on ever-faster modes of travel and tighter schedules? As far as I can tell, after some quick fixes, cosmetic in nature, it was essentially back to business as usual, even before the Great War.

Why do I say quick fixes? Could Olympic launch all the lifeboats she was saddled with immediately after Titanic? Seems to me they were just for show (ask the mutineers). Britannic's davits certainly don't look like a permanent solution to the problem. The IIP was a good thing (still is), but the other half of the equation is to have the ships slow down. Here's a question...did the formation of the IIP make ship captains more complacent, now that they had a better idea of where the ice was? If Titanic truly was a lesson to Mankind, I'm not quite sure what lesson it is we learned. Of course, Mankind didn't seem to learn much from Sodom and Gomorrah, either.

Arguably, some weightier peace-time events have occured since, but the romantic aura which literature, media, and the entertainment worlds have created around the Titanic story, whether we like it or not, makes almost everything else pale by comparison.

Actually, I think you hit the nail squarely on the head there. There is no arguing that Titanic gave us all a most popular Greek tragedy for our times. The pathos generated by the disaster grabbed everyone's attention, creating a ready audience for anyone who had an agenda. Titanic has been, and will continue to be, re-incarnated as a metaphor for just about anything. In that sense, Titanic was not a lesson but a pliable stage that would accomodate any play, support any message.

I'm not arguing that the Titanic disaster or even the ship itself was unimportant. What I am asserting is that the popular myths that have been perpetuated through various media since the sinking have distorted the reality of the ship, the disaster and what we really have taken away from it all.

So in that sense, I think Titanic deserves credit for shaking people up and preparing them a bit for the greater calamity of world war.

Was anyone really prepared for the Great War, as it was eventually fought? How did a "shake-up" prepare the public for war? I maintain that the complacency exhibited by the ruling elite of the Western powers was not the least bit shaken by Titanic. If it had, maybe everyone wouldn't have dived so eagerly into war. If nothing else, World War I is a perfect example of technology outpacing the mindset of those who sought to control it. Napoleanic tactics against water-cooled machine guns? Saints preserve us.

I believe that the Gilded Age came to an end when the imperial houses of Europe were destroyed or scattered, not because a few millionaires were lost at sea. It was the common man that killed the kings, both literally and figuratively, as democracy, fascism and communism replaced autocracy by divine birthright. Titanic didn't really teach that, didn't even demonstrate that rich and poor can die alike. If anything, the disaster maintained the fable that the rich die a nobler or more worthy death than the poor.

Maybe God tried to teach Mankind a lesson about the equality of all humans by sinking Titanic, and ended up being disappointed by the weak response. So He threw the Great War our way. Just to get our attention.


Disclaimer: My personal belief, again stated, is that God exists but Titanic sank because of human error, not divine intervention. I am not trying to drive anyone to this conclusion, however.
Randy B. Bigham
Posted on Wednesday, April 24, 2002 - 1:55 am:       


I see your point and agree for the most part that the real leveling of society occured with WWI. We are only differing in how we see the effect of Titanic on society. You think it had a marginal effect. I think it was pivotal but not monumental in the long view, taking into consideration all other events of the 20th century.

But aren't you with me on the media impact? I mean, as far as I know, up until 1912 a disaster on the scale of Titanic, with all its media appeal, had not occured. People all over the world were united for the first time over a single catastrophic event. No other previous disaster on land or sea had impacted the world as Titanic did. It was the biggest news story ever until the war broke out 2 years later. It was then that the importance of the disaster began waning in the public mind only to return in another age wherein it was seen through the prism of nostalgia.

I believe that, however negligible the influence of the sinking of the Titanic was politically or financially, it nonetheless played a vital part in the emotional psyche of people from almost every nation and so in that sense the disaster readied the world a bit for the shock and havoc that the war was to bring . To my thinking Titanic was a portent of the enormous change that would rock society in the next few years.

As to Titanic being more of a marvel than Olympic - it was, to me, more a marvel because it was built to surpass her sister. If White Star felt they'd built the ultimate ship, why then a sister? It was all corporate push and shove for the biggest and the best and the grandest. And Titanic was the outcome of this striving for omnipotence.

As for technical comparisons of greatness between Olympic and Titanic, I don't think I am versed well-enough in the construction and history of these ships to make any comment. True, most surviving interior shots are those of Olympic rather than Titanic. And there are those fantastic maiden voyage newsreels of Oylmpic as opposed to the very sparse footage of Titanic. This certainly suggests a greater public interest in Olympic but I contend that this is due the circumstance of Titanic's short life; had Titanic lived she would have been just as photographed and filmed. After all was it not the huge publicity attending Olympic that attracted so many travelers to her larger and grander sister?

Which brings me to the subject of the ultra-rich and other celebs on board Titanic. There certainly is nothing that makes Astor or Stead or Millet or Harris more special because they were well-known figures but their presence on the maiden voyage of a brand new super-ship was newsworthy in the extreme and helped to humanize the story of the sinking later since so many people had heard of these men (and women).

Regarding psychic phenomena and spiritualism, everyone will believe as they will about that. I don't dismiss Robertson's Futility. I think it was an extraordinary piece of foresight. That's my opinion. Stead's writings which seem to foreshadow his fate are also immensely intriguing and even frightening. We all come to these subjects from our own perspective. The connection of the supernatural to Titanic will always be something to be considered or dismissed. It's up to each person to construe it however he or she wishes. We'll never understand it totally.

Now finally as to Titanic's being or not being a lesson from or "act" of God. My view is that the world-wide emotional fall-out signifies that a deep chord was touched. That it was such that people remained moved can be variously interpreted. We know that it was a non-issue during the war and into the 1920s. Horror and euphoria alternately filled these years so we can understand why Titanic held little attraction.

But after 40 years Titanic's story was new again and the books and movies of the 1950s and 60s are proof of a rekindled interest. Since then, and especially since 1997 with Cameron's film, Titanic has become part of the cultural landscape. So in a sense, Titanic's cautionary tale of foolhardiness and arrogance, has become a classic. Do we learn from it? Maybe not all of us. But I have. I think most of us here on this board have learned from Titanic. Just as I hope those who haven't learned the lesson, will now get the lesson of 9/11. They are essentially the same.

Also I think that the literal lessons of the safety regulations that were improved due to the sinking are important in themselves. How were they a help to man? Well since many hundreds of thousands of human beings then traversed the ocean every year, the setting up of the ice patrol and laws mandating more lifeboats and the mapping of safer shipping lanes were of major impetus.

But again we each have our own approach. You are right on many things here, maybe all of it. I think we agree on a basic premise. I just see it slightly differently.

Parks Stephenson
Posted on Wednesday, April 24, 2002 - 4:24 am:       


We are speaking most of the same language. I agree with you about the emotional impact that the sinking had on the media, the public and even some of the government officials. The story of Titanic struck a chord in the public that reverberates to this day. In that respect, I believe that Titanic had an enormous effect on society.

However, I can only see Titanic being a portent of things to come with the benefit of hindsight. When I look at the world, and more specifically the shipping industry, in 1913-14, I don't see many far-reaching effects of the disaster. Certainly, the 1914 International Convention on Safety of Life At Sea was heavily influenced by the Titanic disaster, but the new regulations that resulted from that Conference were of relatively minor impact, when compared to the continuing business practices that influenced Smith to maintain speed through a known ice region in the first place. I have plenty of evidence to prove that lives have been saved by the regulations introduced or reinforced as a result of the Titanic disaster, but I also know of several disasters (first in the shipping world, then later in the airline industry which inherited the passenger traffic) that subsequently occurred because safety is not given as much emphasis as either comfort or schedule. That is one very major lesson that should have been learned from Titanic. But you know what...it's not really the fault of the shipping industry. The public demands it all -- comfort, speed, reliability and safety. And the squeaky wheel gets the grease. As with Titanic, nobody knocks themselves out over safety until a mishap occurs.

As far as Titanic surpassing Olympic is concerned, that's only publicity. The main goal of the triplets was to ensure a consistent Big Ship service. Three ships were needed to keep the flow going on the North Atlantic. Ismay hedged his bets a bit by committing to only two, in order to give him time to assess the public acceptance of Olympic. With business looking favourable, he would later exercise the option for the third ship. I would wager that Ismay's concern was more on how to make Titanic as different as possible from Olympic for a negligable sum of money than making real and substantiative improvements with each successive sister. I see evidence of this in the differences we have been able to discern between the two.

Much has been made of the alterations made to Olympic and Britannic after Titanic sank. I am not impressed with the changes made...they smack (to me, at least) of knee-jerk engineering. As a matter of fact, it is my contention that Britannic was lost because of the reluctance by White Star to re-engineer the internal subdivision of the ship. I accuse the free movement of water inside the new double skin of contributing to Britannic's starboard list, while the jammed WT door was a design flaw left uncorrected, even after Titanic's experience. We all know how well the WT bulkhead extensions worked.

I'm not sure I understand your point about the rich and famous aboard. Certainly, their presence adds a dash of panache to the story. Readers all over the world recognised the names, which helped the personalisation of the tragedy to cross borders. But, as I mentioned earlier, the aftermath of the disaster seemed to confirm the dignity and humanity of the Western elite. According to contemporary accounts, the rich Anglo-Saxon elite, which included both captains of industry and Old World nobility, died nobly. The emigrants, especially those of Italian or Chinese descent, were depicted as crazed or deceitful. Titanic seemed to exemplify and promote the stereotypes of the Gilded Age. In that respect, I would see Titanic as the last true event of the Gilded Era, rather than the first event of whatever era we entered into when we started killing one another in great numbers. In my view, I don't see Titanic as a wake-up call but rather as a last dying gasp.

Essentially, though, you're correct about us agreeing on the basic premise. We could both be right or both be wrong (I doubt one view is superior to the other), because individuals take what they will from the Titanic disaster. It's probably fitting that nothing about the event is clear and unambiguous...by being somewhat vague and contradictory, there is plenty of room for interpretation, for each to find what they're looking for. But, is this God's will, or is that someone's interpretation being forced on us? That's the question I posed to the group when I started this thread.

Beverly J. Crowder
Posted on Wednesday, April 24, 2002 - 7:45 am:       

Nope, not Gods will.

Many Blessings,

Parks Stephenson
Posted on Wednesday, April 24, 2002 - 3:11 pm:       

I'm giving up this thread for the time being. I have a re-enactment event this coming weekend and need to shift gears from Titanic historian to Afrika Korps panzergrenadier. You guys have fun while I go hunt Sherman tanks in the sand.

Ashley Regan
Posted on Wednesday, April 24, 2002 - 3:36 pm:       

Hi All,

The belief of Judeo-Christians is that God takes an active part in human history. Whether we believe in God or not (I'm sure he/she will be heart broken to learn people don't believe), isn't really the issue if we become too arogant and "fly in God's face," with our claims of superiority than we may expect some nasty consequences from God.

Olympic while also being a liner like Titanic may have begun its life with someone saying: "God bless this ship and all who sail in her." Perhaps that's why she had a nice safe life rather than hubris boasting about her invincability. Even an athiest wold be wise not to anger what may or may not exist with proclamations that will surely beard a lion in his den.

If God's wrath was at work here it would be a very tempting place to reveal itself. Titanic was a symbol of an age that had assumed that science and technology along with vast capitol could overcome nature in all ways, land, sea and air. The fact that she sank by colliding with a piece of ice rather than another ship or torpedo something manmade is interesting in itself.

lisagay harrod
Posted on Wednesday, April 24, 2002 - 4:50 pm:       


Your last paragraph really resonated with me...remember that old margarine commercial?

"Don't fool with Mother Nature..."

She'll kick your butt.

Lisa Harrod
Parks Stephenson
Posted on Wednesday, April 24, 2002 - 5:36 pm:       

This is why I shouldn't check on the list after I've said goodbye:

Ashley, Stephen Cameron documented the report that Mrs. Florence Ismay said quietly from her seat in the reviewing stand as the ship was released down the slip, "I name this ship the Titanic, and may God bless her and all who sail in her." Are you saying that wasn't good enough for God? That He was impressed more by a flippant remark from a deck hand than the quiet prayer by the owner's wife?

Again, the public claims about unsinkability were
spoken about both liners. We have no record of hubris relating to Olympic because Olympic didn't sink. Maybe God's attention was focused elsewhere in 1911.

Titanic was a symbol of an age that had assumed that science and technology along with vast capitol could overcome nature in all ways, land, sea and air."

Again I ask, why Titanic? Why not the first of her kind, Olympic? Why even Olympic? Why not one of the Kaiser's ships? Who picks these symbols, anyway? You mentioned that Titanic was a symbol of man's conquest of land, sea and air...what were the land and air counterparts to Titanic?

If Man truly offends God with faith and confidence in technology, then why did NASA enjoy 24 successful missions before a space shuttle blew up? Was it because we were so overconfident that we put a schoolteacher aboard? Well, we learned a lesson...no more schoolteachers aboard space shuttles. Evidently, God didn't mind rich people buying tourist flights aboard the Mir space station.

As far as running into an object of Nature is concerned, check out the IIP page that lists all the ships lost due to ice. Titanic wasn't unique...ships running into ice was a frequent occurrance which continues (with lesser frequency, thank God) to this day.

Let me ask a different question. Are we "arrogant" in visiting the Titanic wreck? Oooh boy, here's a whole 'nuther contentious thread in itself. Why hasn't God doled out one of His "nasty consequences" there? We even make it easy for Him...legacy Soviet technology poking around a mangled wreck in the dark more than two miles below the surface.

Before anyone says again how "arrogant" we were with Titanic, I would like an explantion of exactly how we were being arrogant. I would also like that explanation to be given in context; i.e., what makes the "arrogance" of 1912 any different than the "arrogance" of the 1930s or 1950s or 1980s, etc.? A statement like the one you made, Ashley (and you are reiterating what quite a few authors have put into print), means nothing without context. Taken at face value, all your statement tells me is that God is petty (not Petty is a god, as some NASCAR people believe)...taking His vengeance out on 1500 souls because of one flippant remark. I like to think that God has more of a sense of humour than that.

How does Man advance technologically without exhibiting arrogance? Aren't we supposed to feel that we can overcome Nature with Science; otherwise, why would anyone in their right mind climb into a space capsule, a pressurised jetliner, a deep-sea submersible or a Ford Explorer SUV (that last one may be a bad example)? Or can we fix the problem by just not verbally challenging God before boarding?


If we hadn't fooled with Mother Nature, then we'd still be wearing fig leaves today. By the way, the commercial actually said, "You can't fool Mother Nature," not "Don't fool with Mother Nature." The difference in meaning is not subtle. The point of the ad was that a brand of margarine (a man-made concoction) had done just that, convincing Mother Nature that she had eaten real butter. The commercial ended with "Butter ... no, better. Butter ... no, better." I don't recall if Imperial Margarine was ever struck down for their arrogance.

I'd like to continue, but I have run out of time. If nobody else picks up on this, I'll be back Monday.

David G. Brown
Posted on Wednesday, April 24, 2002 - 6:17 pm:       

God himself didn't have to sink Titanic. People were fool enough to do it themselves. God wept.

-- David G. Brown
James Smith
Posted on Wednesday, April 24, 2002 - 7:27 pm:       

I agree with David Brown, but in the interest of discussion, I'll throw out a couple of random thoughts. I won't offer proof, because I don't believe most of them. But at any rate, here goes:

1) What if it were punishment directed against JP Morgan for his dishonest business tactics? If this was the case, then it would have to be one of the Olympic class to achieve maximum effect. The Titanic disaster forced Olympic out of service for a costly refit, and even then I wonder if it wasn't affected by a sort of stigma--and she was taken out of service prematurely, as Mark Chirnside has indicated on another thread. Titanic's loss made Britannic all the more valuable to White Star, and gave Morgan's interests a double-whammy when she sank (of course Morgan was dead by then . . . hmm.)

2) Punishment for US and British imperialism? One would wonder why the Germans and French didn't get divine retribution as well. But then, the Germans lost all three of their biggest ships following WWI, and the French eventually lost the Normandie . . .

3) Maybe a bunch of people on God's bad-list just happened to be on the same ship, and there was an iceberg handy, and He thought ". . . what the heck?" If this were the case, than it would have just been chance that all those people happened to choose the Titanic (before I get attacked for insulting the memory of the victims: I DO NOT BELIEVE THIS. I'm merely throwing out ideas here.)

4) I personally believe that God works on an individual basis, but in order to do so often uses events that affect thousands at a time. 1500 lives were lost that night, but how many other lives were changed? Could some have been changed for the better? Could some people have been drawn closer to God through the soul-searching that the accident inspired? This really doesn't answer the question of "why did it have to be the Titanic?" It would just have to do with who was on the ship, who was involved in running her, and so forth--the thousands of details that no human (or even computer) is capable of compiling.

That's all I can come up with for now. If asked for my personal opinion, I would lean in the direction of option number four but would specify that I do not believe that God caused the Titanic disaster--humans did. And humans could have prevented it, had they been more careful. God can't help us if we don't do everything within our power to help ourselves.

Jim Smith
Randy B. Bigham
Posted on Wednesday, April 24, 2002 - 7:42 pm:       


You've explained your views perfectly. Everyone sees your point. But let's keep in mind that, while you've made some valid and thought-provoking observations here, there is another side equally valid and of merit.

Your challenge to those of us who feel Titanic was an historical turning point divined by God is really one that, to address it at all, requires faith IN God. Your questions are essentially religious ones. Why did God do this? Why did he choose that? What is the difference in this and that in the eyes of God? All of them great philisophical questions which can just as easily be asked of any event in history. But none of these can be answered unequivocally by any mortal. I don't know if you are a believer in God. It's not clear to me from your comments. Maybe I've missed it. Have you stated your belief in God? If not, it might explain why you feel as you do.

None of us here can give you an answer as to why God did or does anything. But to most of those of us who believe in the Christian God - this is my vantage point; I know nothing of the Jewish faith or of Buddhism, etc - we accept that God is in everything that occurs in our lives and that his will for us in this world is not to be questioned.

Now to your comment on the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster. Forgive me, but I think you are being flippant here. Surely you know that the reason for the disaster was negligence and greed. I think this has been well established.

So how was the Edwardian age's arrogance more so than that of the 1930s,'50s, or '80s? Well, for one thing the class system of pre-1914 was more than merely rigid and uncompromising, it was disgustingly unjust, particularly along racial and gender lines. And children also were without rights and were abused horrendously in the work- place. This suffering was entirely due to the all-pervading power of the rich in commerce and the laws they were enabled to set because of their influence.

The rich were then TRULY rich (especially in the US prior to the income tax law) and their lives more ostentatious than ever before in history. The general reading public sanctioned this state of being by following with relish the exploits of the Royals and of American grandees like the Vanderbilts and Astors.

By contrast the 1930s was a humbled world. Society had survived the war but not without fundamental widespread changes. Class, gender, and race prejudices were being confronted. The world was gripped by the worst financial depression ever. It was not a time of arrogance but of recovery and hope.

The 1950s was a time of ultra-conservative, homespun good humor on the surface but with old demons of racial bigotry and political intolerance smouldering beneath. It was not a time of arrogance either but one of a subtle slow transition into the 1960s-70s, a time of great ferment and upheaval, both in the trenches and at home.

Freedoms were being won by the disenfranchised. Our world was being cleansed of its sins. Modern culture springs from this time. Many of us here on this board were born during these years of revolution, assassinations, and war. It was not a time of arrogance but one of rebirth.

At the outset, the 1980s was a return briefly to 1950s standards of morality and expectations. But again I don't see the decade as an era of arrogance, not absolutely. I see it also as a time of transition. Evil regimes like communism were faltering. Peace was coming to the world at last(so we thought!). In the meantime a disease called AIDS was searing apart humanity and we all were having to reexamine our compassion for the minorities who seemed most affected. This was a time in which the world was purging itself of hatred (again so we thought!).

But back to the early 20th century. Yes, Edwardian society WAS tremendously jaded and over-ripe for a little Heavenly whipping.

There was beauty above but filth below. It was a time of incredible conceit and naivete. The Titanic's famous elite reflect these attitudes just as her poor and underprivelged reveal the unfair,unhappy truth behind the gilt and colored glass.

It WAS a time of arrogance and the Titanic incapsulated it more than any other event of the era. Moreover Titanic's destruction was the first sign that the indulgent, indifferent way of life that had brought the ship and her sisters into being was facing its end.


James Smith
Posted on Wednesday, April 24, 2002 - 8:50 pm:       

Hi Randy!

I agree that there was a high degree of social injustice during the Edwardian period, but I wonder if things have really changed all that much. I spent two years in Brazil, with people who lived in literally shacks. I saw people go to mining camps owned by Americans and Europeans, forced to spend weeks away from their families at a time under threat of being fired if they didn't. There are people in Belem and Sao Luis who eat only the fruit that has fallen off of the mango trees in the downtown sections of those cities. Ten year old boys become the primary breadwinners in their families by selling popsicles in the street for about a nickel each. Meanwhile, in the good old US of A, I've just accepted a summer job with a pest control company where I'll earn more money than the average Brazilian earns in ten years.

Personally, I feel that the social injustices of 1912 were no worse than today. The difference is, we've swept them under the carpet so that we can sleep at night. The social injustices may not stare us in the face, but they are there.

I'm not trying to make those of us who live in first-world countries feel guilty, and I don't necessarily advocate a global wealth redistribution plan. I just don't see our society as morally superior to that of 1912.

Jim Smith
Colleen Collier
Posted on Wednesday, April 24, 2002 - 9:38 pm:       

I commend everyone for remaining so civil in this thread. I saw the title and thought, "OH NO here we go again." It is a thought provoking question to say the least, and you all have very good arguments. Here is my two cents worth.

Parks asked, >>>Are we "arrogant" in visiting the Titanic wreck?<<<.... Or is this a humble reminder of proclaiming that we were better than God, to see the biggest and best that man could come up with in 1912, sitting at the bottom of the ocean?

Hey Parks. Where did you go for this reinactment? My house is in Pattons backyard. If you drive through the Joshua Tree National Park, you end up At Chariaco Summit where the General Patton Museum is located. Quite a few tanks there, including a few that they had just uncovered in the desert out here. Have you ever been there?
William Ajello
Posted on Wednesday, April 24, 2002 - 10:56 pm:       

> Encyclopedia Titanica Message Board: Collision / Sinking Theories: Wrath of > God? > -------------------- -------------------- -------------------- > > Posted by Yuri Singleton on Tuesday, 23 April, 2002 - 4:06 am: > > I really must disagree. I simply don't see any involvement of God, or > any other supernatural phenomenon regarding the fate of Titanic. IMHO, > the entire disaster was the product of miscommunication, poor > situational awarness, and unusual weather conditions. And top it off > with some really bad luck that night. > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > -------------------- -------------------- -------------------- -------------------- ------------------ >

I don't think for a minute that anyone disagrees that Titanic was an accident waiting to happen, I also do not believe that Titanic wasn't a harbringer of extremely bad luck on the night of April 14th, 1912.

It was really NOT my intention to bring God into this discussion but someone else did so I couldn't ignore it. What seperates Titanic from any other historical event in history?..Hell, more people died at Pearl Harbor...we had no more control over that than we did with this one.

Something in our psychological profiles permits us to bypass some historical events while indulling others in our minds forever:

JFK, Pearl Harbor, TITANIC, Challenger.......It is unceasing and never ending.....

I'm not saying God sank the Titanic because his ability to sink it was in question (Euphamism for a "DARE"), I am merelt tossing on the table a theory based on someone's claim that he couldn't, that's all.

Regards, Bill >
Iain Stuart Yardley
Posted on Thursday, April 25, 2002 - 12:45 am:       

My tuppence worth -

Lighten up, Parks, Ashley made a valid point and I think you should take it in the context with which it was meant. No-one knows why this, or anything else happens and to attempt to belittle or brush aside divine intervention as a "contributing factor" is plain arrogance. Even as a non-religous person, I would never be blinkered into believeing that everything that has, is and will happen can be explained purely by things which we laughingly think we have total understanding and control over.


William Ajello
Posted on Thursday, April 25, 2002 - 4:10 am:       

Well, I for one would like to try and look past the myths and try to understand the reasons behind the decisions that caused Titanic to founder. "God's vengeance" is not good enough for me. I also want to see the disaster in the appropriate light...to assert that Titanic caused such a fundamental shift in Man's thinking overlooks a slew of historical events that followed. If anyone believes that the causal factors for World War I weren't already in place before the Titanic disaster, then I believe they've got another think coming.

Well, this is my rant. Maybe I shouldn't have brought it up in the first place. I was probably wrong to describe Titanic as a Tower of Babel, when the true Tower of Babel is really this list. We strove too close to the truth behind Titanic and God responded by causing us all to speak in different tongues.

Well Parks, my respect for you is ever reaching and I was not attempting to use this forum to bring the lord to the forefront of The Titanic disaster, as I am not much for discussing religion because I consider it Rhetorical and Argumentive, you can argue about it with someone for hours but if they have a set way of religion, your odds of making them see things your way is slim and none.

What I was attempting to do was add one more theory to the mix because to be honest with you, THAT particular statement made by that particular deckhand and the fact that The Big T Sank on that voyage, made me really start to wonder if D.I. had something to do with it but I DO think it was nothing more than Man's arrogance and greed to get Titanic over here quickly and with plenty of fanfare, even if it was at the expense of 1500 paying customers and the 10 million dollar ship herself. At this point however, it is safe to say the religious point is moot and will never be resolved or proven or disproven...but I wanted to get it out there anyways....

Ashley Regan
Posted on Thursday, April 25, 2002 - 3:38 pm:       

Hi Everyone,

Parks, I felt like a bimbo after reading your comments to my posting. My college professors like to make those kind of comments in my papers. I'm sure you didn't mean it that way:-)

I was going to just fade into the background (like I do as an extra anyway), but thought better about it.

I personally believe that God is all there is and there isn't anything else regardless of appearances. God in the Bible isn't always what we would like him to be, kind, loving and merciful. The Old Testament is full of events that rank higher in the seemingly gratuitous loss of life than Titanic's 1500 people or even the tragic events of 911's death toll. Yes, God does have a mean streak and wiping out entire people's just because of a slight isn't unusual. So a comment made or a state of mind being expressed about some "invincible" ship might well draw heavenly thunderbolts!

The Holocaust victims put God on trail and found him guilty of letting them suffer and die without seemingly just reasons. Pardon me but I didn't invent God this way, its the evidence of 3000 years of history and human experience with the Judeo-Christian deity that I reference when the thread asks the question: "God's Wrath." My personal feelings favor a nicer God, but that too is just my desire to think of a deity that wouldn't allow his chosen people to die in gas chambers or a handful of voyagers to drown and freeze to death because someone said something that ticked him off.

Titanic was also the results of bad luck, complacency and being at the wrong place at the wrong time. The deck was stacked heavily against her from the start its probably a wonder anyone survived when you look at all the problems that singly could have led to disaster let alone collectively. I do think our fascination with her is a key to something kindred in the human experience that calls out to us to remember Titanic like Circe and the Lorelei of legends to beware.

Titanic still challenges people to question their assumptions in terms of critical analysis of the facts not to blindly accept the hipe and spin. Titanic calls to us from her waterery grave and says don't allow oursleves to be trapped by drawing false conclusions about our world and accepting what others want us to beleive. This Message Board is proof of that alone with hundreds of threads that challenge pre-conceived ideas and theories about every aspect relating to Titanic. God's Wrath is just another conclusion that can be drawn about Titanic that may or may not stand the light of day or the test of time.

I'll fade into the background now:-)

Shelley Dziedzic
Posted on Thursday, April 25, 2002 - 3:40 pm:       

Religion, politics, and women were always topics polite society agreed were forbidden topics for dinner conversation in days past! "Man proposes- God disposes" is an old adage as well. Every organized religion has its own spin on predestination, Fate, and divine intervention. Speaking only from one perspective, my own instruction is that FREE WILL is at the center of the Christian core. The example for correct and godly living is clearly outlined in the person of Christ. The Ten Commandments furnish the laws by which we are to live with our neighbor. But the individual must make the choice of his OWN free will- God is not forcing the choice down one's throat. The consequences for our personal actions-or lack of them will be judged on the Last Day- be it greed, negligence in putting enough lifeboats aboard, concern for steerage safety, preferential treatment for the upper classes, carelessness in safety measures.- So many of the disaster postcards have strong religious- and nearly always Christian themes featuring crosses and Christ, Nearer My God to Thee- in the case of the Empress of Ireland, God Be with You Till we Meet Again, -and other hymns of being reunited with God. This is an intriguing juxtiposition if one feels God Himself is responsible for the disaster in the first place in order to make a point to a generation. I espouse the notion that man(women included too of course) is quite responsible for his/her own actions, arrogance, oversight, negligence, etc.- and often the result of these shortcomings of human nature and behavior, is a pitiful awareness of his fraility, inadequacy and woeful unpreparedness. The need for a faith in something greater than oneself is then all too well indicated. This is just my own opinion- and I daresay, that of the conservative view of many Christian denominations.
Shelley Dziedzic
Posted on Thursday, April 25, 2002 - 4:02 pm:       

Forgot to include mention of Hardy's immortal lines on Titanic, Convergence of the Twain- which is certainly relevant to this thread of discussion. God most certainly creates the "Sinister Mate" in the form of the iceberg- and man creates her partner in the shape of the ship. The collision of these two "hemispheres of one august event" seem to be in retribution for man's vaingloriousness- according to Hardy's view. In any event- it is my favorite verse on the subject and worth having a look- hope the link will work.
http://www.library.u toronto.ca/utel/rp/p oems/hardy8.html
http://www.victorian web.org/victorian/au thors/hardy/dean1.ht ml
lisagay harrod
Posted on Thursday, April 25, 2002 - 4:58 pm:       


Thank for correcting my misquote of the Imperial Margarine commercial. If it was your intention to make me feel chagrined, congratualations! I feel silly, and a bit wary of further posting on this particular thread, but I will anyway.

The point I was attempting to make (however poorly constucted in your opinion) is that regardless of man's technological advancements nature continues to be a force to be reckoned with.

I live in KS. Dispite dual-doppler, Nexrad, and all the other weather forcasting technologies available, and readily used in this part of the country, when the sirens go off I scurry to a basement just like the rest of my Midwestern counterparts. Nature reduces us to the same level as a bunch of barking prairiedogs.

The feeling of cowering, in what is basically a hole in the ground, waiting for chaos to pass over your head, is humbling. You feel frightened, exposed, and very aware of God. Kinda like wearing a figleaf...

Best wishes on your re-enactment!

Lisa Harrod

Inger Sheil
Posted on Thursday, April 25, 2002 - 7:22 pm:       

Parks, you've copped it again - another admonishment to lighten up! I always have to scratch my head at these - guess I just know you as one of the quirkiest, most challenging thinkers on the board, blessed with the most wicked sense of humour, and this idea of you as in any way dour sits very much at odds with that. I do appreciate what I take to be your motivation in posting a thread that most would have steered clear of initiating - you're a braver man than me, Gunga Din, for even broaching this. Religion and politics are two topics I save for intimate pub stoushes with mates. However, it's in keeping with your desire to challenge people and get them thinking out of the box to tackle this subject. I thought your last post above was an appropriate entry into the dialogue, and I've read it with interest - as I have posts such as those by Lisa and Ashley. Lisa, I honestly don't think Parks meant to make you feel chagrined. In my experience, Parks has a fairly upfront, unsugarcoated approach to the exchange of ideas. It may take some getting used to, but I've found it most rewarding - he gives it to you straight, but politely. It's quite refreshing! I prefer it to either being patronised or coddled, two writing voices that are far too common in the on-line community. Likewise, Ashley, I don't think Parks or anyone else here could be under the misapprehension that you're a bimbo - Parks wouldn't bother engaging in a debate with you if he thought you were 'fluffy', if you know what I mean.

~ Inger
Ashley Regan
Posted on Thursday, April 25, 2002 - 9:08 pm:       

Don't mind Inger, I have a thick hide!

Inger Sheil
Posted on Thursday, April 25, 2002 - 10:32 pm:       

Good to hear, Ashley (from one rhino-skinned individual to another!). But I honestly don't think you need the extra layer of protection in this case - you're so far removed from the bimbo-ballpark I don't think the label would occur to anyone.

Know what you mean about those proffs and their comments - I received a backhander on a Yeats paper once that lives with me to this day, although now it's with a laugh at the recollection.

~ Inger
Nicholas Westmarland
Posted on Thursday, April 25, 2002 - 11:18 pm:       

I'm afraid I don't believe its got anything whatsoever to do with God.My plain and simple verdict is that Mr.Ismay wanted to get to New York in record time and instructed Capt.Smith of his intentions and they didn't hold back because of the icebergs and carried on through full steam and hit it.Total human error.

William Ajello
Posted on Friday, April 26, 2002 - 4:31 am:       

-------------------- -------------------- -------------------- Encyclopedia Titanica Message Board: Collision / Sinking Theories: Wrath of God? -------------------- -------------------- --------------------

Posted by Nicholas Westmarland on Thursday, 25 April, 2002 - 11:18 pm:

I'm afraid I don't believe its got anything whatsoever to do with God.My plain and simple verdict is that Mr.Ismay wanted to get to New York in record time and instructed Capt.Smith of his intentions and they didn't hold back because of the icebergs and carried on through full steam and hit it.Total human error.

-------------------- -------------------- -------------------- -------------- Total human Error?.........one more compartment that made the difference was damaged......you would think with the amount of damage (no thicker than a human finger in some spots and about 12 Sq. Feet), you would think something that big would not sink.......Ismay was a coward...his order resulted in The Titanic sinking and what does he do?, takes off in a lifeboat...now that's a REAL MAN.....Umm you know I really hate to bring this up but can anyone disprove that devine intervention wasn't the REAL cause besides the ice and Ismay and Capt Smith and the fact that the steel may have been faulty and the ship didn't have enough lifeboats and that more lives could've been saved if they filled the ones that they had in the first place?

Thanks, Bill
Shelley Dziedzic
Posted on Friday, April 26, 2002 - 12:50 pm:       

The most chilling moment of Cameron's Titanic, in my mind- was the extreme camera pull-back showing the ship sinking in mid ocean from above. It was a "God's eye" view of the disaster- the Divine POV in cameraman terms! It reminded me of a dreadful film with Laurence Olivier as Zeus- I think it may have been called Xanadu or something, with Olivia Newton John. All the Gods and Goddesses were milling around a small pool, gazing down on the fate of hapless humans on earth below and manipulating their destinies from afar-playing out a game of their own using humans as pawns. I would like to believe God has a better plan for His spare time.-In any event that movie is one to miss.
Robert Thompson
Posted on Friday, April 26, 2002 - 1:51 pm:       

Well this has turned into a wordy thread hasn't it. So I may as well add my 5 cent's (The Aussie dollar isn't worth much).

First off let me put on the record that I do not believe in an all mighty God but I do feel that there are irisistable forces that govern us. Not in a knowing way or a preordained way, more of a natural scheme of things kind of way. The best way to descibe it is the Caos theory that was used in the movie Jurasic Park. Everything we do can effect things in the future. What I believe is that in all of this caos in the Universe there are patterns. Some we can see and some we can't.

For all of Man's history the main thing that we see again and again though time is the old addage two steps forward one step back. In this situation the design of the Olympic class liners was the two steps forward and the sinking of the Titanic was the one step back. this is how technology has advanced to where we are now. If the first ship ever built was perfect then there would have been no more advances but there is always a better way of doing someting.

So I believe that the sinking of the Titanic was nothing more than an opportunity for man to learn from his mistakes and advance just that little bit further. If you believe in God than I don't see how this can be seen as being his wrath, more of a very tough lesson. It is his/her way of showing us how to be better.

The only thing that makes the Titanic remarkable is that there was so much focus on her at the time of her sinking. If for example she had been in service for a year or two and then foundered in exactly the same circumstances, we would have nowhere near our facination we have today but we would have learnt the same lessons.
Ashley Regan
Posted on Friday, April 26, 2002 - 5:12 pm:       

Hi Inger,

Thanks for the support and sorry some prof did you wrong too. I know it can sting for a long time when you've done your best work and someone red pencils the whole thing. And now for something completely different as Monty Python used to say (I wasn't born yet, I watch the reruns).

I beleive in taking a pragmatic approach to research. I know its probably a bad idea but here goes,..."God himself couldn't sink this message board!"

If God has been reading the 55,000 + messages posted here this should get his attention and maybe even a new thread opened to finally answer the Parks "Wrath of God" question and so many others too.

Get your Lifebelts on and move to the boats everyone!


Tracy Smith
Posted on Saturday, April 27, 2002 - 5:34 am:       

Parks, Petty isn't a god, that position was reserved for Earnhardt.... :-O

Shelley, even in the 1960s, my parents taught me that discussing religion and politics was best deferred until one got to a certain level of acquaintance with people, and that with some people, it was better never to broach these topics.
Parks Stephenson
Posted on Monday, April 29, 2002 - 6:07 pm:       

It's another Monday. Anyone interested in what I did this weekend, check the picture I just uploaded to my Profile page.

Despite my stated desire not to turn this discussion into a debate over the existance of God or divine intervention into human affairs, it appears that the flow could not be deterred from heading in that direction.

So let me try again. I'm addressing this question to those who believe faithfully that God sank Titanic to teach humanity a lesson. Now, I don't believe I'm the least bit arrogant in trying to determine the lesson that God meant for us. I mean, what good is a lesson if the students don't understand the intent of the master? Did God sink Titanic just so the BOT would update its safety requirements? Is the IIP a divinely-inspired organisation? Why did Mankind continue to push the boundaries of the technological envelope with the same greed and impatience exhibited by the builders of Titanic?

I'm not questioning God's will...I'm trying to interpret it. Aren't we supposed to? Isn't that why God is supposedly intervening? But if Titanic books are read, the message is mixed. I'm challenging anyone who reiterates the same mantra about how God sank Titanic as a lesson to explain exactly what they interpret the message to be. And did we live up to it? Did we get the message? Or does God need to give us another lesson to put us back on track?

I'm frustrated by those who parrot what they have read in books and don't provide an worthy explanation for what they claim. Robertson's "Futility" is a good example of this...most people who argue with me over the supposed prophecy in the book never read the dang thing! They based their entire argument over the short blurb that Walter Lord opened ANTR with. Same with the God's lesson thing...people from 1912 onward say that God put the iceberg in Titanic's path as a lesson. Well, what was that lesson? If you could speak to the dead, how would you explain to one of the 1500 souls lost the purpose behind their death so that they would understand?

Again, I will reiterate so that I may be clearly understood:

I believe in God, I acknowledge God's intervention into human affairs, but I doubt that Titanic's collision with the berg was either retribution for blaspheme on the part of a deck hand or a divine lesson to Mankind about complacency with the false idol of technology. However, I'm willing to listen to anyone who can present a good argument. And if a good argument can be made that the loss of Titanic was a message sent from the Almighty, did we understand it? Did we heed it?

For those of you who don't believe in God, I don't disparge your belief when I say this discussion is not for you. For those who believe in God, but will only see the disaster as human error, this discussion is likewise not for you. For those who believe in God and allow that divine intervention into human affairs is possible, I am asking you to make the assumption (as I did) for the sake of this discussion that the Titanic disaster should be examined in terms set forth by published claimants that God intended the disaster to be either retribution or instructive.

Basically, I'm asking...do you understand what you read and reiterate?

This will probably be my last post in this thread. If the discussion strays again from the questions I am asking, I won't try again to redirect. I've also had plenty of time here, too, to make my views known. It's time for me to let other people talk. Before I close, though, I want everyone to know that I intend no insult to anyone; therefore, I would appreciate it if people wouldn't be so quick to read insult and subsequently react defensively.

Some specific responses, not directly related to the topic:


"Convergence of the Twain" is moving prose and one of my favourites. The lines came back to me numerous times as I watched the recent ROV footage from inside the wreck, especially in those instances where blind sea creatures moved across the gilded treasures.


I would naturally have used Earnhardt's name, but Petty's name was an easier play on words.


You're the only person in this thread with whom I've had the pleasure of meeting you in person. Your gracious comments, when compared to others received here, demonstrate the need for personal contact during debates of this depth. I wonder again about the validity of online debates, where the opposing sides are faceless entities to one another. Theoretically, a faceless debate should be devoid of emotion and concentrate only on facts...but experience proves wildly different.

Tarn Stephanos
Posted on Tuesday, April 30, 2002 - 11:50 pm:       

As put by Capt Smith, as played by George C Scott, "'The Titanic was aptly named- the Titans dared to challange the gods, and for their arrogance, they were cast out of Mt Olympus, into Hell.."

I wonder if the real Capt Smith was this profound?

; )


Tarn Stephanos

ps- Alma White's book "Titanic Tragedy- God Speaking To The Nations" is an intersting 'wrath of god' approach to the disaster-though based on her writing, she blamed pretty much every calamity on God....