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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. Irene R. Adler is a senior in the College of Home Economic at Cornell University. She was born in Waterford, New York, and is 21 years old. Last winter she was prize winner in a public speaking contest sponsored during Farm and Home Week. She chose to discuss This I Believe, and her talk was of such interest that she was invited to present it on this program. Here is Miss Irene Adler.
I discovered what spiritual faith meant to me last spring. A week before finals, I was in food chemistry lab
canning vegetables. I was taking jars out of a pressure cooker when a faulty jar exploded in my face. For a week, I was in the infirmary with bandages on my burned face. I had to face a dangerous situation, but I was confident that I would recover because I feel that spiritual faith helped me every bit as much as medical aid. My religion had taught me to have confidence in something outside of myself, and in that crisis my faith became very real to me.
Another thing that helped me was our campus conferences on religion. Each year, we have a three-day program where students of various religions meet with the campus pastors, clergy invited from other schools, and qualified students here on the Cornell campus who lead small discussions in the dormitories. The underlying purpose of our
conference is to give students an opportunity to meet and discover, examine, and exchange ideas about their beliefs. Here I found a reaffirmation of a faith I had previously blindly accepted. You can't put your finger on spiritual faith, as you can touch a flower or a person. But through faith, you can feel a strong satisfaction because to you, your faith is real.
In addition to spiritual faith, there is a second type of faith: the faith in ourselves and in one another. First, each person must realize his capabilities and his individual worth. In less than two years, I hope to be teaching home economics to high school students. I'm taking courses now to further my skills in preparation for teaching.
But in addition to gaining knowledge from books, I'm gaining confidence in myself--not only as a future teacher, but also as a person. A friend of mine once told me, "No one else will trust you if you can't trust yourself." Faith in self is realized by the way we work with others. A homemaker needs to have confidence in herself in order to perform her daily duties, raise her children, and still maintain a normal, healthy life. And her confidence is reflected in doing these things well. We function effectively when, after gaining self-confidence, we develop trust in others.
This is the faith in which children of America grow up. For it is the force behind our American democracy, the faith based on the cooperation and ideas of men that have developed for more than 150 years. We can't deny that
certain political actions aren't always to our liking. Each of us has the right to disagree. Yet, we have a basic confidence in the rightness of a system and its eventual success. This is true in our personal lives and in any occupation where people work together toward a common goal, whether it be on a farm, in a business office, or even in our United States Congress. If just one person neglects to fulfill his duty, he can upset the whole order of things.
I think, like others, I have begun to realize that one of the great weaknesses in the world today is a lack of faith in ourselves and in our society. Does this mean we are to fear the future because we distrust each other? Certainly not, because I feel by reaffirming our faith today, we can continue to progress together and look forward to a better tomorrow.
Those were the personal beliefs of Irene Adler, a student at Cornell University.