THE SURVIVAL VALUES OF A BELIEF IN GOD

*

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

*

THE SURVIVAL VALUES OF A BELIEF IN GOD

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.

*

There are three reasons why a belief in God can never be stamped out.

First, the only educational system which is designed for all men, for all exigencies, and for all time, is based on Theism as demonstrated perfectly in the Person and life of Jesus Christ. Naturalistic education, the goal of which is health and pleasure, is not for the chronically ill and the hopelessly crippled or diseased person. Pragmatic education is not for the inefficient and unadaptable person. Humanistic education is not for the unlearned and purely mechanically minded person. But Theistic religious education based on Jesus Christ is for all sorts of persons—in the colleges, in the market place, in the home, in the hospital, in the slums, in prison, or in battle. Theistic belief in God yields a power which guarantees that no absolute disaster can happen to any person having such belief. Biologically, religion may be defined as the worship of a higher power from a sense of need. It will be exceedingly difficult to suppress this need in the large majority of human beings.

Second, a belief in God is requisite to give a complete meaning to life and the universe, and thoughtful persons will always seek for such a meaning.

Third, children will [continue to] be born for a long time to come. And, regardless of repeated attacks either by the sophisticated, confused, irrational, or by the rational sincere mind, the basic aspects of the development of the mind and thought of the child will continue to exist as long as the machinery for the development of mind interacts with sense experience as it has in the past, and as long as the universe continues to operate as it has in the past. It would appear that the adult mind will continue to react to the principles of natural law and rational thought, unless it were blocked or deviated by some irra­tional cause from its natural course of development. The mind of practically all the great benefactors of man did not depart from the basic principles of the basic laws which govern Nature and its highest function, thought. They made a search beyond the immediate facts of the sense perceptions to find the cause and to discover new truth, and arrived at a belief in God.

It is for these reasons that we may be of good cheer. Survival and evolutionary value are attached only to those things which are adaptable to and are good for all people under all conditions for all the time. That is why the trend of religious faith and thought, and its effect on the individual and society, has been constantly upward throughout the ages regardless of the rise and fall of civilizations. More important, the basic principles of unsophisticated and rational thought and belief will always rise again with the birth of every child. Let us recall that a little child manifests reason, faith, hope and love. Is this why Jesus Christ stressed the child aspect? For example:

“Suffer the little children to come unto Me; forbid them not; for to such belongeth the Kingdom of God.” (Mark 10: 14)

“Whosoever shall not receive the Kingdom of God as a little child, he shall in no wise enter therein.” (Luke 18: 11)

“Except ye turn, and become as little children, ye shall in no wise enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.” (Matthew 18: 3)

“Except one be born anew, he cannot see the Kingdom of God.” (John 3: 3)

As Max Planck, the scientist who opened the way to the inside of the atom, has said: “‘Religion and Natural Science are fighting a joint battle in an incessant, never-relaxing cru­sade against skepticism, against dogmatism, and against superstition; and the rallying cry in this crusade has always been, and always will be: On to God!”

I shall close with a quotation from Louis Pasteur who ranks near the top of the list of the greatest benefactors of mankind:

“If someone tells me that in making these conclusions I have gone beyond the facts, I reply: ‘It is true that I have freely put myself among ideas which cannot always be rigor­ously proved. That is my way of looking at things.'”

If I have gone beyond the facts, and have made errors, please point them out to me. I am always anxious to learn.

*

Tags: , , , , ,

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: