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No. 57: May-Jun 1988

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Did charles darwin become a christian?

It has long been claimed by some Christians that Charles Darwin, who helped lay the intellectual foundations of secular humanism, reembraced Chris tianity as he neared death. A central figure in this tale is a Lady Hope, who supposedly visited Darwin in the months before he died. What is the basis for the Lady Hope story; and what do Darwin's own writings reveal about his religious beliefs?

Alas, Darwin's return to the fold seems an apochryphal tale. W.H. Rusch, Sr., and J.W. Klotz, well-known scientific creationists, have prepared a 38page historical study of the question -- quoting at length from Darwin himself. They conclude about Darwin:

"He had made the human mind his authority, and it led him from orthodoxy to theism to agnosticism. Indeed it appears he might well be characterized as an atheist, a doubter of the very existence of God. His caution, however, and his recognition of the impossibility from a scientific standpoint of proving a negative led him to characterize himself as an agnostic which he says he is content to remain."

(Rusch, Wilbert H., Sr., and Klotz, John W.; "Did Charles Darwin Become a Christian?" Emmett L. Williams, ed., Norcross, 1988.)

From Science Frontiers #57, MAY-JUN 1988. 1988-2000 William R. Corliss