2012, the Titanic, and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá

2012 will mark the centenary of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s historic visit to the US. It actually makes me miss my hometown quite a bit. I wish I could enjoy the special events and festivities.

By the way, speaking of apocalypses, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá was given a ticket to board the Titanic at a time when anyone would have thought you’d have to be insane to turn such an opportunity down. Later, having taken a much less expensive ship instead, he discussed the Titanic disaster during a talk he gave in Washington D.C:

Although such an event is indeed regrettable, we must realize that everything which happens is due to some wisdom and that nothing happens without a reason. Therein is a mystery; but whatever the reason and mystery, it was a very sad occurrence, one which brought tears to many eyes and distress to many souls.

It’s important to note that although the reasons he gives are spiritual in nature, and illustrate a perspective on the mysteries of life after death, he in no way means to reduce the sadness of such tragedies, nor the need for scientific preparation in avoiding them. Whatever you may believe about spiritual questions, there is no doubt that many of the earthquakes, hurricanes and famines in recent years have taught us much, not least of which is that trustworthiness saves lives, and the lack thereof destroys them. As the AP reported concerning the 2009 earthquake in China:

Engineers said the school’s walls and support columns gave way almost instantly.

“These buildings just weren’t made for that powerful of a quake. Some don’t even meet the basic specifications,” said Dai Jun, a structural engineer and concrete specialist in Chengdu who was surveying damage in the area.

If you build something, whether a ship or a school, then the lives of everyone in it rest in your hands. And as every day goes by, we are building a future for humanity — is it a sturdy one?

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One Comment

  • Mina Sheppard wrote:

    Thank you for sharing.
    It is certainly very true that honesty and trustworthiness are needed in everything we do. These virtues should be taught to children in their early years.

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