FAITH, HOPE AND LOVE SHOULD BE BASED ON REASON

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Excerpted from The Evidence of God in an Expanding Universe, edited by John Clover Monsma. New York: G.P. Putman’s Sons, 1958

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By Andrew Conway Ivy, Ph.D., M.D., D.Sc, LL.D., F.A.C.P.

Dr. Ivy is a scientist of world-wide renown. He was appointed by the American Medical Association as its representative at the 1946 Nuremberg Medical Trial for Nazi doctors and is the recipient of decorations from many American and foreign scientific institutions. From 1923 to 1946 he was Head of the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, Northwestern University Medical School; from 1946 to 1953 he was Vice President of the University of Illinois. Presently he is Distinguished Professor of Physi­ology and Head of the Department of Clinical Science, U. of III. College of Medicine, Chicago. Among the positions he has filled in the past are: Scientific Director, Naval Medical Research Institute; Commander, Aviation Medical Naval Re­serve Corps; Consultant to U.S. Secretary of War; President, American Gastro-Enterological Association; and President, American Physiological Society. Dr. Ivy has written more than a thousand (1,320) scientific articles, and is one of the world’s outstanding specialists in cancer and functions and ailments of the gastrointestinal tract.

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My belief in God, who created everything, who exists in­side and outside the universe, and who is interested in you and me, is based first on reason, then on faith, hope and love.

I cannot possess faith, hope and love unless they are based on reason.

One should never retreat from reason. One should use reason, and use it accurately and aggressively. A faith which is not preceded by reason is a weak faith and is vulnerable to devastating attacks and to subversion. Religious faith not based on reason breeds bad character and bad conduct. One should not retreat from that reason and those principles of thought on which the actions and faith manifested in every­day mundane life are based, and upon which the thoughts and actions of our greatest scientists are based. Belief in God is based on the same principles of reasoning or thought on which faith in the future of material progress is founded; the same reasoning which causes you and me to believe the sun will rise tomorrow morning; or that tomorrow I shall have the necessities of life; or I shall be alive; or I shall enjoy my work. If reasoning is the basis of material progress, why should it not be used for spiritual and moral progress? Every­one should be able to state courageously the reasoning on which their religious faith is based and to demonstrate the sincerity of their faith by good works.

If you cannot prove the existence of God satisfactorily, then you have to accept God on the basis of faith, or by saying that the existence of God is self-evident, as Thomas Jefferson did when he wrote the “heart” of the Declaration of Inde­pendence, as follows: “We hold these truths to be self-evi­dent, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness; that to secure these rights governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

That is the profound statement of religious, moral and politi­cal faith upon which the constitution and government of the United States are based. The United States was the first secular government ever to be so based. And Thomas Jeffer­son and the other founders of the United States had impec­cable reasons upon which to base such a faith.

However, even when people say that they accept the exist­ence of God on the basis of faith, it will be found that their faith is based on some antecedent knowledge, experience, or reasons. Some antecedent knowledge or reason is indispen­sable for faith in anything. To say that the existence of God is self-evident, amounts to saying that I cannot scientifically or formally demonstrate the fact because of lack of formal education, or because I have never organized my reasons, or because I am not ready or it is not appropriate to present reasons now. I have never found a person who when urged could not give a reason why he or she believed or should believe in God. The reason given has always been to the effect that “Someone had to make the world and the laws which run it,” or, “There cannot be a machine without a maker.” That is a basic truth understood by every normal child and adult.

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2 Comments on “FAITH, HOPE AND LOVE SHOULD BE BASED ON REASON”

  1. recoveringfreedomps62 August 25, 2017 at 9:25 PM #

    I found this to be a compelling bit of information. I have often felt that atheists tend to value the art of reason in explaining the world around them, and with that in mind, they tend to speak and comprehend things from a standpoint of reason. In some sense, it feels like using reason is preferable to explain and understand God.

    Like

    • Nicholas Voss August 26, 2017 at 7:42 AM #

      I agree with you. We must keep in mind, however, that our reason is flawed due to effects and curse of sin. We must test our reason in light of the Scriptures.

      Liked by 1 person

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