For instance, Jesus had the idea that God is right where you are, that there is a law of good available to you wherever you may be. It was this idea that the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand here and now, and may be entered into, that made him different from others. He gathered around him a few simple people who accepted his ideas and they gradually spread them throughout the world. They were ideas of love, of our unity with God, of the Fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man.
In our day Mahatma Ghandi “has influenced hundreds of millions to believe in a spiritual force in men’s lives. Our forefathers conceived the idea of a nation bound together by mutual consent through a code of laws and ethics which we call constitutional government. Our Constitution, with its amendments, is a grouping of ideas first conceived in the minds of men of great mental and spiritual stature.
The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution at the United States are the two greatest human documents ever written. They really are ideas leading to ways of living together under laws which everyone agrees are for the greatest good of the largest number. Just as there flowed out of the ideas of Jesus the whole philosophy and conduct of Christianity, so there flowed from the ideas of our ancestors something which has produced the most nearly perfect system for human life that the world has yet conceived.
Henry Ford had the idea of a mass produced automobile, crude in its beginning, but out of it comes much of our modern transportation. Someone got the idea of the steam engine. Franklin had the idea of catching power from lightning, and men like Edison and Marconi and others perfected this. Today we wouldn’t know how to live without them.
Always someone pioneers the field of ideas. Our laboratories are places where people work out ideas. Every advance in science is the working out of ideas. Every invention starts with an idea in the mind of the inventor. Every novel represents the creative idea of its author, and your life and mine are made up of our ideas – ideas that ride into action through our conduct. Ideas really control the world. How necessary it is, then, that our ideas should be sound, that they should harm no one and do good to all.