1950s >> 1959 >> no-654-february-1959

“The belief in God . . . “

  “The belief in God has often been advanced as not only the greatest, but the most complete of all the distinctions between man and the lower animals. It is, however, impossible, as we have seen, to maintain that this belief is innate or instinctive in man. On the other hand, a belief in all-pervading spiritual agencies seems to be universal, and apparently follows from a considerable advance in man’s reason, and from a still greater advance in his faculties of imagination, curiosity and wonder. I am aware that the assumed instinctive belief in God has been used by many persons as an argument for his existence. But this is a rash argument, as we should thus be compelled to believe in the existence of many cruel and malignant spirits only a little more powerful than man; for the belief in them is far more general than in a beneficent Deity.
“The idea of a universal and beneficent Creator does not seem to arise in the mind of man, until he had been liberated by a long-continued culture.”

The Descent of Man, Charles Darwin, (page 937.)