This I Believe

Scratch, Walter Leonard


  • Walter Scratch, Assistant to the Editor of the Hollywood Citizen News, describes his belief that spiritually minded people will create a good society, that societal change must start with personal responsibility, that individual religious experience is important, and that religion ought to be growing and open to change.
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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. Walter L. Scratch is assistant to the editor of the Hollywood Citizen News. Since his graduation from the University of Michigan in 1926, he has been a journalist. He was, for many years, Sunday editor of the Oakland Tribune, and before that, city editor of the Honolulu Star Bulletin. He is the author of God vs. Communism, an expose of Communist ideology. Here now is Walter L. Scratch.
My philosophy of life centers around the belief that the kingdom of God is within each individual. In other word, I believe that one finds within himself the materials for building a good and happy life.
I believe I cannot attain the kingdom of God in my daily life if I spend my time trying to change society instead of trying to change myself. I cannot agree that any particular social pattern will necessarily create good people or a good society. But I do believe that spiritually minded people will necessarily create a good society.
I regard God as a power which must be experienced by each individual in the light of his individual needs. To me, the
individual’s religious experience seems much more important than all the theories about the nature of God and about the ways in which man should worship.
The concepts of God which the creeds promote—and there are thousands of them—serve, at best, as starting points in the religious life. The various creeds to which men adhere are designed to help each in his search for a sense of integration with the power of God. This sense of oneness with the divine comes to spiritually mature people of every or any creed or church.
I respect a man whose religion is evolutionary and dynamic. Did not people respect Paul when he proclaimed, “I die daily.” Paul refused to let his spiritual development be curbed by bondage to static dogma. He sought to experience anew each day the
contact which would send the power of God surging through him.
I believe that my religion—by whatever name it might be called if it had one—should be part of me to the same extent that my breathing or feeling or seeing are part of me. I try to distinguish between my religion and my views about religion. Each of these must necessarily change from day to day if I am spiritually alert and receptive.
I believe I cannot grow spiritually without changes in my religion and in my views about religion. I feel sure that if I think I have attained the final answer on religion, I can make little religious progress, and that my mind, if closed, would be the
most effective barrier to spiritual development. As far as I can see at this moment, the ultimate in religion is a sense of integration with God. He who feels that he and the Father are one has become the type of person most needed in our troubled world.
In conclusion, I believe strongly in individual responsibility. A clergyman driving down a country road one day paused to compliment a farmer on his fine crops. “You and God,” he said, “are doing a fine job with that farm. “Yes,” replied the farmer, “but you should have seen it when God was taking care of it alone.” That farmer was admitting his responsibility for putting God’s power to work.
There the personal philosophy of Walter L. Scratch, journalist and author of Hollywood, California.