Posted by: keepfishing | September 18, 2008

Darwin and God

It often feels like the creation/evolution debate is artificially polarised and caricatured by those most vocal at either end of the spectrum. Charles Darwin, who’s original ideas often seem to bear scant resemblance to the neo-Darwinistic theories spouted today, is becoming high profile again, with 2009 seeing the 200th anniversary of his birth, and 150th anniversary of the publication of On the Origin of Species.

Today the Times published an interesting article attempting to shed some light on Darwin’s thinking about God.

 

 

So, in the interests, of rescuing him from the no-man’s-land in which he has become trapped, here are 10 Darwin quotations, from his later years, which you are unlikely to hear from the mouths of either creationists or atheists in 2009.

1. “The mystery of the beginning of all things is insoluble by us; and I for one must be content to remain an Agnostic.” (Autobiography)

2. “It seems to me absurd to doubt that a man may be an ardent Theist & an evolutionist.” (Letter to John Fordyce, May 7 1879)

3. “I hardly see how religion & science can be kept as distinct as [Edward Pusey] desires… But I most wholly agree… that there is no reason why the disciples of either school should attack each other with bitterness.” (Letter to J. Brodie Innes, November 27 1878)

4. “In my most extreme fluctuations I have never been an atheist in the sense of denying the existence of a God.” (Letter to John Fordyce, May 7 1879)

5. “I think that generally (& more and more so as I grow older) but not always, that an agnostic would be the most correct description of my state of mind.” (Letter to John Fordyce, May 7 1879)

6. “I am sorry to have to inform you that I do not believe in the Bible as a divine revelation, & therefore not in Jesus Christ as the son of God.” (Letter to Frederick McDermott, November 24 1880)

7. [In conversation with the atheist Edward Aveling, 1881] “Why should you be so aggressive? Is anything gained by trying to force these new ideas upon the mass of mankind?” (Edward Aveling,The religious views of Charles Darwin, 1883)

8. “Would any one trust in the convictions of a monkey’s mind, if there are any convictions in such a mind?” (Letter to Graham William, July 3 1881)

9. “My theology is a simple muddle: I cannot look at the Universe as the result of blind chance, yet I can see no evidence of beneficent Design.” (Letter to Joseph Hooker, July 12 1870)

10. “I can never make up my mind how far an inward conviction that there must be some Creator or First Cause is really trustworthy evidence.” (Letter to Francis Abbot, September 6 1871)

Via the always interesting A Better Hope

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