In 1937, news reporter Herbert Morrison uttered a phrase which has endured for eight decades. Reacting to the Hindenburg fire, he was heard in footage of the disaster crying “Oh, the humanity!”
The largest aircraft ever constructed to-date had caught fire. A luxurious zeppelin filled with hydrogen with skin made of the same stuff matchsticks are erupted in a giant fireball. Over 30 people died.
Like Icarus flying too close to the sun, modern man had not taken enough care to consider the components for this flying machine.
To say this thing which Morrison said is so interesting, though. Why wail and mourn humanity in a moment like this? Certainly, the loss of individual life was tragic and stomach-turning. But why cry aloud about humanity in the abstract?
The Meaning of Humanness
In our day, the consequences of modern man increasingly divorcing himself from the reality of our origins have the American Medical Association announcing last week that sex should be removed from birth certificates moving forward. Sex and gender are no longer meaningful distinctions between people.
“Oh, the humanity!”
But this is what happens when we become doggedly humanistic. We forget that we were created in the image of Almighty God, and that it is our Creator who establishes what is and is not meaningful by way of distinctions.
God did not need to sink the Titanic anymore than he needed to set fire to the Hindenburg. And he will not need to bring ruin on us, but he might as a mercy to put us out of our collective misery.
When man forgets God, his reason is turned to folly and he might as well say “Oh, the huge manatee” as “Oh, the humanity.” What, after all, is the difference? When honest absurdities make more sense than very serious untruths peddled on a massive scale, we should eye on the lifeboats and parachutes and keep them close at-hand.
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