The following timely article was written by Dr. George S. Benson in The National Program Letter, 1973.
The development that has bothered me most in recent years has been the alienation of so many of our young men and women from the basic American values, moral, economic and political.
Recently I have made a study of faith among the intellectual leaders of past generations. I feel sure that our present generation of youngsters do not know that the great intellects throughout history, with few exceptions, have publicly in their statements and works expressed faith in Almighty God. So the following facts are particularly addressed to young conformists who have been led to believe that it is “smart to reject God.”
The records of antiquity show Plato to have been one of the great minds. Here is what Plato wrote for posterity, in 340 BC: “The soul of man is immortal and imperishable.” Plato believed in God. His most illustrious student was Aristotle. In 320 BC, Aristotle wrote: “God is mightier in power, fairest in beauty, immortal in existence, supreme in virtue; therefore, being invisible to every mortal nature, He is seen through His works themselves.”
All intellectuals claim kinship with the Roman poets Virgil and Horace. Virgil, in many of his writings expressed faith in God and God’s immeasurable power. In discussing events that dismayed him, Virgil said: “God will give an end to these things.” Horace, recognizing God as the Creator of all things, wrote: “Tomorrow the Father may fill the sky with black clouds or with cloudless sunshine.”
Dante, one of the most famous writers, wrote in 1300 AD: “The greatest gift which God in His bounty bestowed in creating, was the freedom of the will.”
Giants of History
Sir Walter Raleigh wrote, the night before his death: “My God shall raise me up, I trust.” Another great writer, Sir Francis Bacon, might well have been observing the militant atheism in some of today’s youth generation, when he wrote: “A little philosophy inclineth men’s minds to atheism, but depth in philosophy bringeth men’s minds about—to religion. I bequeath my soul to God… my body to be buried obscurely.”
Shakespeare wrote in his King Henry VI play: “God be praised, that to believing souls gives light in darkness, comfort in despair.” John Milton wrote: “Dissolve me into ecstasies, and bring all Heaven before mine eyes.” And John Bunyan, who wrote Pilgrim’s Progress, wrote in 1678: “The first string that the musician usually touches is the bass, when he intends to put all in tune. God also plays upon this string first, when He sets the soul in tune with Himself.”
George Washington was a believer: “Almighty God,” he beseeched in his inaugural address, “we make our earnest prayer that Thou wilt keep the United States in Thy Holy protection.” Amen! Abraham Lincoln said: “It is difficult to make a man miserable while he feels he is worthy of himself and claims kindred to the great God who made him… Without assistance of that Divine Being I cannot succeed. With that assistance I cannot fail.”
Thomas Jefferson left behind one of the great truths of all times: “The God who gave us life, gave us liberty at the same time.” No political system grants mankind freedom; our American system protects our God-given individual freedom. Where in the Socialist-Communist world does that happen? Nowhere.
Yes, we need to remind those of little faith in our society today—both old and young—to hark back into the history of this unique nation (and the world) and see how the great minds viewed God. Above all, we need to build reverence for the Bible; for the greatest minds and the greatest spirits shine out in the pages of this immortal document which forms the basis of mankind’s heritage.
Matthew records that God said: “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am pleased.” And the same writer quoted Christ as saying: “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.”
Believing in God is the way to eternal life for all mankind. It gives security in life, strength, character, virtue to whatever degree man is willing to subordinate his own less wholesome desires to service under God’s guidance.
Get these facts to a youngster this week, please. They can save his life and change his world for the better.
~ D. Norris