This I Believe

Hubben, William


  • William Hubben describes how, despite his experiences in Nazi Germany and the popular lack of faith in social progress, he still maintains a belief in the meaning of life and faith in the moral values of the next generation.
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And now, This I Believe. The living philosophies of thoughtful men and women presented in the hope they may strengthen your beliefs so that your life may be richer, fuller, happier. Here is Edward R. Murrow
This I Believe. William Hubben was born in Germany fifty-six years ago. He might be there still except for a man named Hitler. As a Quaker educator he hardly shared the same views and Heir Fuhrer fired him as principal of a public school. An author of religious education books, an educator and an alert citizen, Mr. Hubben now lives and works in Philadelphia. Here, his beliefs.
It has become somewhat fashionable to be cynical about human progress, and one can hear voices telling us that we have been too lavish or hasty in our praise of human progress. It is true that two wars have occurred within one generation, that the danger of a third world war is looming large, and that the mass movements of fascism and communism are signs of man’s immaturity. While we cannot ignore such arguments, they point to symptoms rather than the actual causes of a diseased human society.
I believe we are on the road to progress. Wars and social revolutions have always pointed toward unresolved human tensions which should and could have been removed at a much earlier time if we had been alert enough to recognize them.
I have received most of my training in the German school system, and in retrospect, I realize now that the absence of a friendly understanding and humane treatment of children and young people in the German educational system of old was bound to produce the brutalities and explosions we have witnessed in our time. The complete absence of democratic principles in Russian public life has had results that were even worse. Lack of understanding and tenderness will always take a frightful toll in human happiness.
I believe that a generation of young people is growing up and has a greater capacity for understanding the past and present than former generations may have had. Our young people are witnessing moral confusion in the private lives of many men and women, but they also see the quiet and normal ways in
which most of our citizens go about their duties. They know of some corruption in politics, but they also know of the moral resistance of responsible men and women in all walks of life who demand decent standards of our public officials.
Young people of today have a keen sense for moral values, and their increasing participation in religious and humanitarian activities is proof of their sense of obligation toward society.
The questions that seem nowadays uppermost in the minds of young and old are: When will the present sense of suspense and tension cease bothering us? When will life begin? I’m afraid the answer will have to be that life just isn’t meant to be that easy. The higher rewards of living and of moral effort are
the result of worry, care, and concern for our fellow man, and a part of human dignity. Mankind is one and indivisible. And starvation, suffering, and suppression in one part of the world cannot and must not leave other nations untouched.
Suffering at home can only be alleviated or removed by those who adhere to their sense of duty and who practice in a steady and silent manner what the best intimations of their hearts tell them. The great danger in our time is that we misjudge our individual, national, and international problems by not recognizing that they point toward tensions to be resolved patiently and with faith in man’s destiny. Life has meaning, dignity, and joy in spite of the many besetting problems of our days. If we ask for
it, we shall receive inspiration and vision from within to create more sunshine, warmth, and light in the world of tomorrow.
That was William Hubben, German-born editor of the Friends Intelligencer, a Quaker newspaper, who, despite these times, does not believe in cynicism.