The beginning of wisdom is the fear of the LORD. But the world is sailing on a ship of fools.

Imagine a sailing ship on which the captain has lost his crew’s confidence. Though he stands a head taller than the others and has considerable strength left in his body, he’s an older gentleman, and in his advanced years, he’s grown a little deaf, and his eyesight isn’t what it used to be. What’s more, the captain has never mastered the art of navigation. He preferred to rely on the ship’s navigator.

The problem now is that the navigator is missing. The sailors are quarreling with one another about the direction the ship needs to take. Each sailor holds the opinion that he has a right to steer the vessel, even though none of them is qualified to do so. When asked if they know how to navigate, the sailors become angry and say that navigation must be based upon one’s personal preferences; it’s not something that can be definitively learned. They are ready to cut in pieces anyone who speaks to the contrary.

These foolish sailors throng the captain, each insisting he be placed at the helm. Whenever the captain gives any one of them the privilege of steering the ship, the others all turn against that one and wait for some opportunity to kill him and throw him overboard.

Eventually, the sailors drug the captain, tie him up, and take possession of the ship. They open the supplies, freely eating and drinking all the provisions as they proceed on their voyage. Things go as you would expect. They assign the title of sailor, pilot, or navigator to anyone who assisted them in the mutiny. It never occurs to them that a true pilot and navigator must pay attention to the time of year, season, sky, stars, current, wind direction, wind speed, and all the other details of navigating a ship. Nor does it occur to them that a true pilot must steer the ship according to the dictates of necessity, whether the direction he chooses is popular or not. Amid such mutineers, how would a true pilot be regarded? Would they not call him a babbler, a superstitious stargazer, and a good-for-nothing?