Never be afraid to try something new. Remember, amateurs built the ark; professionals built the Titanic.

Author Unknown, via Risk Quotes, Sayings about Taking a Chance

This quote came across my desktop this morning, from a source I can usually rely on for clear and penetrating thought. In this one instance, however, I feel the unknown originator of the quote missed the mark.

Depending on who you are and what you believe, the Ark may represent anything from a literal tale of the complex, sometimes violent relationship between the God of Genesis and His creations to a powerful metaphor about the persistence of all life on earth, in the face of almost insurmountable challenges from nature.

In short, the Ark was either built literally under direct the inspiration of God himself or the Ark is just a story. What the Ark is not, in either case, is an example of amateur workmanship, that just happened to float.

The Titanic, on the other hand, is a wonderful factual example of hubris at its finest. There is no ambiguity here. Nobody can claim, “Oh, the Titanic is just a legend.” Hundreds of people really died because humans thought they knew far more than they really did. If we to really look for a scriptural parallel to the Titanic, I would select the tower of Babel as the prime candidate. Setting up the Ark and the Titanic as opposites is just a false dichotomy.

Bob Bruhin

Bob Bruhin is a web developer, tour guide, art photographer, author, blogger, and graphic designer. His love of urban landscapes, especially in post-industrial Philadelphia, PA, leads him to document some of the darker corners of his city.


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