This I Believe

Griffith, Ivor


  • Dr. Ivor Griffith, the President and research director of the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Science, describes several people of different faiths which all pray to the same God and imagines them all before St. Peter at the gates of heaven then describes the accounting that will take place and why they will all be judged equally regardless of their faiths or their race.
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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. Dr. Ivor Griffith is president and research director of the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Science, the oldest institution of its kind in this country. He was born in Wales, the son of a Presbyterian minister, and came to the United States at the age of 16. In addition to making important contributions in the fields of pharmacy and chemistry, he also is author of a collection of essays and poems. Here is Dr. Ivor Griffith’s creed.
This I believe, and this I affirm: that every man should own a glowing, growing faith in God and to evidence that faith by acknowledging the right of all, the obligation of all, each in his way, to bear witness to that faith; and to find a way and to help others to find a way through that faith into the kingdom of heaven. In the ownership of that faith in God, there is the peace of confidence and the pact of alliance with goodness.
Though admitting the existence of sin, I am a Protestant, chiefly because I was born such—not half the man my good father was, not nearly so devoted to his Presbyterian creed.
I would not fight for my religion, nor die for it, but I do try to live with it and by it. The Reverend Shiloh Parsons is a minister to a little Baptist community in southern Georgia. He’s colored, as were his ancestors, and Baptist for the same reason. He leads a simple, devoted existence and serves the Lord and his people well. Herman Meyerowitz is a Jewish cigar store proprietor in my neighborhood. He’s Orthodox and devout. So he is because his parents who emigrated from Poland were Jewish and God-fearing. Herman and his wife are working hard to send their children through college.
Frank O’Hara is a Catholic and an earnest one, and his wife, Sally, even more so. They would rather miss a meal than a Mass. I respect their belief and their devotion, yet I am certain that the road to heaven is what it is because their parents, too, were Catholic.
Now let us think back over the four of us: a Negro Baptist, an Orthodox Jew, a devout Catholic, and a Welsh Presbyterian. Where do we all think we are going, each using a different road? To heaven, of course. In spite of the difference between our creeds and color, to whom do we address our various prayers? To the one great God, of course. And none of us, while conscious, is without a direct line of communication with that God. That is prayer.
I trust no one will think me feathery and fluffy when I return to my quartet, as they in a group may someday stand before St. Peter at the portals of judgment. And I for one am forever glad to rely on St. Peter’s kindness, for he came from the Sea of Galilee, an uncouth, loud fisherman, to become under the spell of Jesus a stalwart, very human, fisher of men—a good man, a saint who was once a sinner, like all of us. He will not ask us about earthly creeds and beliefs. He will not notice our color or physiognomies. He will just consult the record: how decently we dwelt in fellowship with all around us, how honestly we strove to be helpful to those in need of help, and how strong was our faith in God. He will have all of this in the record, a just and merciful accounting.
I hope the Golden Gates will open wide for the four of us and we shall be one with God and the eternal verity: the Negro Baptist, the Orthodox Jew, the devout Irish Catholic, and the Welsh Presbyterian. If this is how we want to die, should not that be the way we want to live?
That was Dr. Ivor Griffith, president of the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Science, who has made significant contributions in an extremely important but often unappreciated area of medical science.