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And now, This I Believe, a series of living philosophies presented in the hope they may help to strengthen and enrich your life. Here is Edward R. Murrow.
This I Believe. Here are the basic postulates of all religion, expressed simply and forcefully by Dr. Monroe E. Deutsch, Vice President and Provost Emeritus of the University of California.
I regard the brotherhood of mankind as the basis of any true religion and, for that matter, the basis of any true democracy. Belief in the worth and dignity of the individual is entwined with the idea of human brotherhood. The differences between us, I feel certain, are mainly accidental. We have no choice as to either the color of the skin or the place of birth. Despite these differences, over
which no one of us has control, we are all brothers in spirit. Some of us have advantages that others lack, but character is by no means determined by our advantages or the lack of them.
The doctrine of human brotherhood, if really practiced by mankind, would fundamentally change the aspect of the world and make wars and persecutions impossible. And if the world really accepted the principle that all human beings are brothers and should be treated with the respect due to the members of one great family, then a vast number of the problems confronting mankind would be solved.
Significant is it that this doctrine, which would revolutionize our society, should have been laid down as one of the cardinal principles of both Christianity and Judaism. Moreover, I find it impossible to
conceive of the creation of this complex universe with all its wonders as purely the result of material forces. Somehow, somewhere, there must be a power that has brought into being the principles which govern this world. That power we term God.
Assuredly, some force must have given the initial impulse that brought the universe into being. But even beyond this, I cannot feel that that power merely existed at the time the world began to be created. It did not disappear with that first impulse but has continued throughout the ages. If one accepts, as I do, the view that some power must have started the creation of all that we are and see about us, then it is hard to understand how one can but believe that that power still exists.
It is also impossible for me to accept the view that the spirit of man, capable of so much that is great and noble, is wholly extinguished at the death of the body. Exactly how its existence is continued, I have no precise conception, but I do feel that the breaking up of the body cannot end that which was encased within it. To those who believe in immortality, life, as we term it, becomes but one stage in the cycle of existence. Thus Cicero, in his essay on old age says, “I depart from life as from an inn, not as from a home, for nature has given us a caravansary in which to tarry, not to abide.”
My own faith rests, therefore, on belief in the dignity and worth of the individual, in human brotherhood, and in the existence of a power that is greater than mankind and greater than the forces
that shape our physical environment. I believe in the immortality of the spirit of man and the continuance of the development of what has gone on during what we call life. And finally, I am convinced that religion, whatever its form may be, is indispensable in the life of a people. Above all stands the fundamental injunction that we believe in one God and recall that He is the Father of us all, and that we are brothers.
You have heard the creed of Monroe E. Deutsch of Santa Barbara, California, one of this nation’s foremost educators.